Vision magazine is an online e-mag. we do each month for our friends at Viridian (the glass people!).
We get the chance to review and photograph some brilliant work. Here's the latest issue plus a link to all back issues. We hope you will agree there is wonderful work featured here.
Simply click on this link to view:
If travel broadens the mind, some places like Niseko on Japan’s North island Hokkaido, narrow the focus. It’s hard to actually be off the beaten track here given the tendency for landscapes to be shaped by people, as much as nature. But the landscape remains a genius, even if a bonsaied one compared to Australia.
So many people in such a small space. Right across Japan they recognize the art of cooperation for the common good. If you want an example of this look no further than how they lock up bicycles outside their houses and apartments. They don’t. Bicycle locks are almost never needed in Tokyo or anywhere else. Shame and pride are big deterrents, so row after row of bespoke bicycles sit temptingly in a way that would occur hardly anywhere else on the planet.
Even their bullet trains glide through that orchestrated landscape. Life by a railway line here isn’t all rattle and clatter. If there’s a sound it’s virtually gone before your ear-drums have a chance to react. And they don’t yell, or honk horns, or give each other the bird while driving. They simply bow courteously except for the accidental elbow or shove while squeezing onto public transport.
Which brings me to our recent excellent adventure at Niseko on Japan’s North island Hokkaido. Reputedly one of the world’s best ski resorts for powder hounds. I can vouch for this as I regularly performed face plants instead of pole plants. Powder skiing is a technique all of its own. One moment I felt like I was roller-blading and suddenly my skis sank into fluffy quicksand. Losing sight of my skis robbed my already bankrupt confidence and so I made another fresh impression on the slopes.
Fortunately our good friends from Velogear were on hand - ambassadors of goodwill and merriment – to witness our blunders off-piste. Yes we were slightly piste-off.
It changed our impression of deep, un-groomed powder. It’s hard. And unforgiving. Especially for skiiers who think anything after Australian conditions must be easy.
It isn’t. It’s like sinking in inexperience, or learning a foreign language – easier than usual to appear the idiot. Something like trying to explain an elegant turn of phrase like “the suppository of all wisdom” in Japanese. Especially when it doesn’t even translate well back home. Unless you’re a Rhodes Scholar of course.
Fortunately our friends from Velogear fitted us out with some of their uber comfortable SIX30 compression clothing. While it didn’t improve our skiing style we can say without hesitation we remained warm and supremely comfortable.
I began to wonder if this might not be the secret to happiness - gliding down the slopes secure in the knowledge that our muscle, bone and few extremities of flab were flexibly contained in garments of near-miraculous support.
Only once did I come close to losing my legendary cool when hanging out in in the lunchtime café crowd. An American dude confusing which line I was in directed: “Hey Buddy, get to the back of the queue.” I almost lost it then and there but I can safely say my SIX30 compression clothing helped me to hold it together and behave honorably in the best Japanese traditions. Praise for any product doesn’t come much higher.
Consistent surprise is an attitude I hope captured on the eve of publishing the 24th issue of the monthly design e-mag Vision. Let's avoid the tendency out there for blog blather and you decide whether we've come close to the mark in our effort to produce a vehicle worthy of the title 'Vision'. Take the time to check-out our recent project film clips added for that extra dimension to our reviews and photography.
Vision link: http://joom.ag/ft3p
You may notice we've loaded a new film short titled The Cloud. This is a visual essay on the new School of Architecture and Design by John Wardle architecture of Melbourne in association with NADAAA of Boston. It's a building of many complex parts with the kind of layers you would expect in a leading school of architecture.
The Cloud refers to the veiled elements of the building inside and out that acts much like a woman's fascinator if you like and softens the transition from one reading to something more subtly textured and layered.
The Cloud combines Claude Debussy's evocative Girl with the Flaxen Hair and this seems to propel the energy and delicacy of both building and film clip. We hope you enjoy the short journey provided by our camera and accompaniment provided by one of our favourite classical compositions.
Make sure you view it in high-definition and click the HD button. You can also view our film projects on Vimeo.
In case it isn't entirely obvious by the New Work we've just loaded in hyattgallery, yes, we have just visited Japan. There's more to come of course but this is a start and drawn from a broad landscape and climatic extremes. Japan is one of my favourite places of all times. It's as much a mono-culture as just about any country and this should qualify it as one of the least appealing places to live or visit, but the reverse holds true. It's outstanding on so many levels. It doesn't pretend to be perfect but it's a country of quiet, often profound application. We loved the generosity of its people too. And consideration for each other especially evident in bustling cities where people typically arc up with their neighbours.
Photography of such a place deserves all of the respect we could muster and so our images of winter snow to the sharp light of Tokyo is a result of love and respect rather than any other impulse. Our travels took us to Tokyo, Kyoto and Hokkaido amongst others and everywhere were hugely impressed by the attention to detail in all aspects of living from public transport to food presentation. All delivered with pride and humility. Talking of details we've included selective views of a 1940s Buick with a pair of rear parcel shelf bespoke beauties that seems to capture a post-war era of huge optimism and future possibilities. And maybe that's a good note on which to conclude. Optimism and wonder are wonderful antidotes in a world of increasing cynicism.
Photographic assignments frequently require travel - in this instance to the outskirts of our hometown of Melbourne. Architectural photography demands the distillation of form and function, ideally in the least number of images. This was our aim while covering Cardinia Shire's new council offices adjacent to the aptly named Officer railway station.
The magazine says most of our view about a thoughtfully conceived project rather than the more customary office park box most people love to hate.
The latest issue of Vision magazine - http://joom.ag/EPjb - illustrates why these new offices by DesignInc. are special. We demonstrate in pictures and words how daylight serves to dramatically lessen the artificiality of the typical office project. As the legendary architect Sir Norman Foster observed: 'Daylight is the great informer.' For a photographer, this observation holds equally.
Every few months appears to produce a finale of The Block. In truth there are two a year and the program is now in its 11th year. It's a remarkable feat in an industry with such a high rate of attrition. One of the steady and often inspired hands behind the program is the series architect Julian Brenchley. While individuals and teams fight to the death for the best design, it's Brenchley's role to help locate and mastermind the buildings with the potential to provide the fascinating and functional background for each series.
We have just finished shooting The Block for Vision magazine and interviewing Julian about the trials and tribulations of his role.
It wasn't an easy shoot. Especially as we had to follow in the footsteps of auction crowds. There was plenty of cleaning up and re-arranging furniture and wiping down of benches to return rooms to something that vaguely resembled what was presented to the three judges in each episode. We were given about a half day to shoot six apartments plus exteriors plus general spaces. Plus make each apartment appear as if a genie had magically prepared every room for our visit and to position the sun, just so.
In the end Jenny and I did okay. I think we made it appear easy, or at least easier than it was. Photographing on the fly requires everything to work for you. The Gods need to be smiling and on that day they were and so we were able to capture some strong views of another project overseen by the accomplished Mr.Brenchley and his team. In many ways his is one of the program's quiet achievers. Writing this blog and the interview in Vision magazine means he is a little more conspicuous. So, here's the issue of Vision magazine. It's a publication we started in 2002, just one year before The Block. We hope you enjoy it: