Emerge
Project info

There is no place more difficult to photograph than one’s hometown. One lacks fresh eyes, knowing too well the city’s ebbs and flows, sights and sounds. Daily interaction makes even the extraordinary seem ordinary.

It requires a monumental internal shift before one can see the place in a new light. In my case that shift had two catalysts — a protracted absence working abroad and my mother's death before her time.

Suddenly Sydney — my carefree home of sun, sand, and water, of lazy lunches with friends and golden childhood memories — took on sharper contours and previously unremarked shadows. Honey-coloured sandstone made way for glass and steel. The light that used to warm now seemed to slice and distort, the shade that used to cool now came alive and threatened to swallow people whole.

Of course the dear friends are still there, unchanged, and I will always be Sydney’s child. I still know where to find the warm places of my innocence.

These images record a very personal journey, a profound adjustment in my way of seeing a city I once assumed had nothing new to show me. Yet as the pictures revealed their meaning to me, I realised that I felt enriched by this shift in perception, for it added layers of complexity to a once too simplistic vision. It has actually been a gift.