In just about any city, formerly unfashionable places undergo rapid revamps. Suddenly overnight, these shabby, overlooked places become cool. It’s a fickle and inevitable transformation. A sublimination and muting of tastes into the oblivion of current fashion. This is the case in Melbourne’s western suburbs: Altona, Seddon, Footscray, Yarraville, Sunshine and Newport.
Every city with a patchwork of every-changing suburbs needs a man like Warren Kirk. He is a photographic historian who has clocked up more than 20,000 amazing photos, taken over the past 30 years all over Australia. In the Westography series, he pays homage to Melbourne’s endearingly kitsch western suburbs. These places are known for their industrial, sun-bleached and eccentric beauty.
Kirk’s suburbs are where time stands still. They are a decadent jumble sale of urban artefacts, kitsch Australiana and docile pets. A world where people drank stubbies not latte macchiatos. Ate snags on white bread not canapés.If future ethnographers were to go in search of the quintessential Australia of the mid-20th Century, they will find it here, artfully preserved in the most unassuming and vivid of time capsules.
”Even as a kid I loved the nostalgia of the old cricket and football photos from the 1920’s. I was sports mad; art was never on the agenda. I didn’t consider myself an artist. I collected monographs of photographers, but I never considered I could do that.” Warren Kirk. Seeker of the Lost Arts
Historically unfashionable, the western suburbs have developed time-warp vectors and Warren clearly relishes these not because they were but because they are – Amy Marjoram
Do you feel that a suburb you love (or love to hate) is endangered? Tell me about it below.
All photos reproduced with the permission of Warren Kirk.