The gallery-building has had to go on the back-burner for a while, but a few weeks ago I managed to put together a small selection of photos of a city we’ve visited off and on since moving to the UK, thanks to having some friends there. Most of my photos from Nottingham are of them and their home and garden, but a handful capture the city and surrounding Nottinghamshire, although when I look at them now they’re all pretty overcast and significantly lacking in sheriffs. Our friends moved a few years ago, so I’m not sure when or if we’ll be back, but in case not, here’s a reminder to myself.
I spent the final few months of last year gradually working my way through my negatives from late 1997, when I was a visiting scholar at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand—one of the happiest periods of my life, which made revisiting it in 2021 a poignant exercise. J. and I spent our weekends exploring the city and its South Island surrounds, making trips west to Greymouth, south to Dunedin and north to Hanmer Springs and the Marlborough Sounds, discovering for ourselves one of the most beautiful places on earth a few years before Peter Jackson showed it off to the world in The Fellowship of the Ring.
Although I visited Tasmania off and on throughout the 1990s, I spent most of it in Canberra, with trips to surrounding areas of New South Wales. As part of sorting out my old negatives, I’ve collected those trips into a few representative galleries at Detail…
The slow march through my old 35mm negatives continues, and has yielded a few more galleries for Detail of Tasmania in the mid-1990s.
No one in Australia would remember him for his failed C5 electric trike (we never saw them, except on news reports), but a mate in high school had a ZX81, and I still remember pressing my fingertips firmly on its flat plastic keyboard. Even though it couldn’t do much, it looked great, with its sharp black corners and red lettered logo, like KITT from Knight Rider. In rural Tasmania in the early 1980s, it was pretty cutting-edge.
I can’t think of too many of the personal computers of the time that were so closely associated with a single individual. None of us knew who’d founded Acorn, or who the Vic was behind the VIC-20. Even Apple had two Steves, not one. Clive was one of a kind.
View from Jurys Inn, Edinburgh, 31 July 2001.
A two-month gap in posting could do with some explanation, but the details wouldn’t make for the cheeriest entry, so I’ll skip lightly past them and turn to some photos I’ve been tinkering with off and on in the meantime.
Since my parents moved there in the mid-2000s I’ve added seven galleries of the Tasman Peninsula to Detail—eight including the one of Port Arthur—and here’s a ninth, going back to a camping trip in the mid-’90s and a day trip the following summer. The negatives had yellowed with age, so the scans needed work (some are from the original prints), but the results aren’t too bad. As with my other old photos of places I’ve visited many times, there are echoes of more recent ones, but they’re still worth a look.
After a break of a few months, I scanned a few more old rolls of film recently, and have added another gallery to Detail with some of the results. In May 1994 I visited Tasmania for my brother’s graduation, and afterwards took a trip up the east coast with my parents—the last time I would see it until 2015. Some of the photos made their way into my very first gallery, but I’ve included them here as well to put them into context.
It’s the end of the year, and I doubt I’ll have a chance to do the best-of music, movie and TV lists that I’d wanted to—maybe in January, but given what that’s looking like, probably not—but there’s still time to squeeze in one last gallery at Detail.
My old photos of the Pacific don’t end with Fiji. At the end of June 1993 my father and I flew Air Pacific from Nadi to the island of Tongatapu: I was continuing my PhD fieldwork on tradition and politics in Fiji and Tonga, while Dad came along to see a country he’d never visited. We arrived just before the King of Tonga’s 75th birthday celebrations, which also commemorated his silver jubilee. I immediately made contact with a senior member of the Prime Minister’s office, and through them scored tickets to some of the key events of the week: a day of performances by school children, and a royal feast held on the grounds next to the Royal Palace. Surrounded by Tongans wearing their finest mats, Dad and I feasted on roast suckling pig and watermelon, and then watched a succession of dances from a perfect vantage point, sitting on the ground at the front of the audience a few metres away from the King himself.