This is the anonymity of a city; an ode to being just another human in this big, wide world.
I once read a curious suggestion that the term ‘rose-coloured glasses’ comes from the use of goggles on chickens to keep them from pecking feathers off one another.
Aside from chickens wearing eyeglasses, a study from the University of Toronto found that our moods can change the way in which our visual systems filter perceptual experiences.
Could it be possible that seeing the world through rose-coloured glasses is more of a biological reality than a metaphor?
At what point does the whirlwind of romance give way to the mundaneness of urban living?
While laying awake in bed one night, I thought about a time when I was younger. Twenty years have passed since I was a sixteen-year-old, keen to explore the world. I can confidently say now that things were easier back then.
After an SMS or a short phone-call, I’d be on a train into Melbourne CBD to meet my friends. With cameras in hand, we’d wander through the urban maze on hot summer afternoons, before the sun reached its peak in the sky. We’d eat lunch in arcades, grab banana smoothies on the go and snap pictures of anything remotely fascinating that happened to cross our paths. Sometimes, it would be as simple as a seagull standing aloof on the tramlines. Other times, we’d traipse around the Docklands, trying to make sense of the many urban angles, curves and lines.
Later on, in my twenties, I moved to North Melbourne where I lived just a hop, skip and a jump away from the Queen Victoria Market. I spent the late hours of Friday basking in the soft quietness left behind by thousands of people making a mass exodus from the city before the weekend. There was something special about being able to experience my surroundings in a way that no one else could. In the crisp air of a Sunday morning before the sun came up, I would arm myself with analogue cameras and expired film to photograph the hustle and bustle of fishmongers at the market before heading out on the town, ready for yum-cha followed by a pint of beer overlooking the Yarra. This was affectionately known as ‘going on a date with my city’.
When I stroll through Reykjavík now, I reminisce upon this nostalgia and find myself missing my home in Melbourne all the more.
This year has raced by, swallowed up by COVID-19 and the subsequent restrictions that have seen us social distancing or largely confined to our homes. While Melbourne has been in a strict lockdown, the majority of us living in Reykjvaík have still been able to get out and about in the nearby surrounds.
If anything, this strange turn of events has allowed me to direct my attention towards other things. Winter has arrived in Reykjavík and though the first snowfalls have blanketed the city in a layer of white a couple of times, it hasn’t been cold enough to stick. Nature is frozen and the foliage has fallen off the trees, leaving behind a jumbled mess of dreary twigs. As such, I’ve found myself focusing on the smaller details and cherishing otherwise normal occurrences. In the process, I’ve rediscovered the wonder of buildings and the architecture that gives us shelter; which makes it possible for us to live, rest and ultimately to survive.
‘Meanwhile… in Reykjavík’ is an exploration of my immediate surrounds and the architecture or structures here which so often resemble other parts of the world. This collection is an attempt to capture the anonymity and character of man-made dwellings that – just like the human race – may never stand the test of time.
I hope you’ll enjoy this series and that you’ll check back often to see the new additions that I make to this ongoing and evolving project.