Four years after my third visit to Fiji, I was back for a fourth, as part of my Ph.D. fieldwork at the Australian National University. I spent several weeks there from May to the start of July, and another on my way back to Canberra at the end of August, interviewing more than thirty political figures on questions of tradition and politics in their country. Six years after the country’s first coup, I was apprehensive about how the trip would go, but it went well. Although I didn’t get to interview prime minister and 1987 coup leader Sitiveni Rabuka, I interviewed many other people I’d been reading about for years, including former and future prime ministers.
I’m gradually sorting through more of the photos that I scanned from negatives last year, and lately have turned to my first photos of Sydney, a city I had been visiting since childhood (my grandparents lived near Hornsby) but first photographed on a visit in 1988. In 1991 I was back again to start a Ph.D. at the University of Sydney, before accepting a late offer from A.N.U. in Canberra and moving there. This gallery contains a couple of dozen photos from visits to Sydney in 1988, 1991 and 1993.
In Canberra I lived first in a hall on campus and later in the since-demolished Graduate House on Northbourne Avenue, with views of Black Mountain Tower. I took some initial snaps in April 1991 and more two years later, after returning from my year in the U.K. to continue my doctorate. 1993 was one of the best years of that time, when I met J., went to Fiji and Tonga for fieldwork, and hosted a visit from a great new friend from England. Most of the later photos in this gallery were taken in their company.
More N.S.W. and A.C.T. photos to come at some point as I progress through the 1990s. Next, though, will be Tonga and (more) Fiji.
America in 2020 is a grim sight, and last night’s presidential debate didn’t instill much hope for its future, but half a lifetime ago, when I visited it at the end of my 1992 travels with my parents, it all seemed so sunny, confident, and democratic—even though its first Democratic president in over a decade was a few months away from winning.
More photos of my 1992 travels, as I near the finishing line of this particular Detail project. After a year of study I was joined by my parents and travelled with them around Britain and Ireland, starting in Norfolk, driving across to Wales and the ferry to Ireland, around Ireland’s south and west, over to the Isle of Man, up through the Lakes to Glasgow and Scotland’s west, across to Inverness and Aberdeen, down to St Andrews, and then south through Durham, Chesterfield, Coventry, Warwick, Stratford, Oxford and London. I’ve already gathered up the English photos; here are the rest.
Continuing my archival project at Detail, here are two more galleries from 1991–92, when I was studying in England. These ones cover London and the rest of England (and a bit of Wales), and include some photos from a trip around the British Isles with my parents at the end of my studies. There are at least four more galleries in this series to come, when I get the chance to work on them.
Time for another archival instalment at Detail. On my flight to England in 1991 I was with KLM, which meant my first stop at Schiphol Airport and my first visit to Amsterdam. Over two days I took in the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Anne Frank House and a canal boat tour, on which I took most of my photos. In this gallery I’ve converted a few to black and white to deal with the reddening effects of a light leak at the end of a roll, but they look fine. If I ever get to 1998 in my marathon scanning project I’ll add some photos from my second visit to the city, but for now, grab a stroopwafel and enjoy the show.
In January and February I linked to advice from Laurie Garrett and Ian Mackay on preparing for the coronavirus now known as COVID-19†. After bubbling under the surface of the main news headlines in the UK for weeks, last week it leapt to the forefront; it was pretty hard to downplay the shutdown of northern Italy and now the whole of it. I’d not posted about it here (apart from those links) because I’m no more an expert than anyone else, but as of this week J. is part of UK efforts to test for the disease—on the coordination side rather than in the lab—and not much seems more important than that. We’re so proud of her.
Memories of England in better times, when HMV and Parrot Records were full of Carter USM albums emblazoned with the flag of Europe. I spent one of the happiest nine months of my life studying here as a Masters student, thinking deep thoughts, making good friends, performing onstage. I carried my 35mm camera around at times, taking about a hundred photos of the town over the course of those nine months, another laughably small number compared with what I would have taken in digital. I’ve finally scanned them and sorted them into a gallery for Detail. Take a punt: