#hersideoftheroad, an Instagram project with @womeninstreet

Charlene journal 6 Comments

I kick started a new project on Instagram this year with Her Side Of The Street, a fabulous global community of street photographers. My first inkling that a community like this existed, was when I linked to this list, in a post I wrote about my own work. Many months later, by sheer accident, I discovered that the creator of this list, Casey Meshbesher, actually runs a Facebook group for Women Street Photographers. There is also an Instagram account. This year, as their official transit enthusiast, I’m curating a transit theme for their Instagram segment: #hersideoftheroad We’re looking for women’s perspectives on transit – whether on the road, rails, air or water. Show us how transportation frames your world and encounters. To submit (Instagram only) …

Train | Colombo, Sri Lanka

Charlene journal 24 Comments

I daresay that when I finally had the dosh to get myself a real camera, all those years ago, I wanted to make pictures like this: of someone drawing the light around herself with such magnetism that mundane objects are lifted on that glamour, time stops, and I find myself wanting to go and ask her what she’s thinking about (I didn’t though; repose is so rare in public spaces). I may have made two, including this one, in all the years I’ve been shooting, and both have been on trains. Like it is in a lot of the world, it’s harder to shoot pictures of women than men here in Colombo. Many of the younger men have courted the attention of this photographer by posing and …

Train station textures

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I have made the train journey from Copenhagen to Hannover and back several times in the past couple of years. Before this, I’d not travelled long distances on trains. I’m still in the thrall of this novelty – the iron clack of wheels (dampened in new trains), the ellipsis-and-comma rhythm of its motion, and time’s held breath common to transit, observed in the country that flashes by. Hannover HBF, Germany.

Outside inside

Charlene journal 2 Comments

All is as if the world did cease to exist. The city’s monuments go unseen, its past unheard, and its culture slowly fading in the dismal sea. – Nathan Reese Maher Singapore to Kuala Lumpur: Fellow passengers make their way back to the bus, after a short break at one of the rest stops on the North South Expressway, Malaysia. I make this bus trip from Singapore a number of times each year to visit my family in Kuala Lumpur. Familiar as I am with the stops and starts of the journey, I’m normally fast asleep at this particular point in the ride. I spent my final years of secondary education commuting to a school on the other side of the island: it was a two hour ride each way by bus …

Public Passage

Charlene journal, vagabonding 15 Comments

My earliest photographic project, and the only one that’s stuck after all this time, is the one that revolves around public transport. It currently lives on Instagram. I’ve spent most of my life riding buses and trains, so it seemed natural to shoot on them when I got a camera. I was working in Perth (Western Australia) when I started taking pictures on my daily commute to and from the office. It started out as something to distract myself from where I was headed, and the dread of what awaited me at journey’s end, and eventually got me re-engaged with where I was. I lived in Perth for a decade and a half, and never got beyond its sunny, social, extroverted face. Shooting the elements that made up the city’s exterior didn’t get me any closer to …

States of being

Charlene journal, vagabonding 9 Comments

I didn’t shoot a single still frame the whole of December. Largely due to making the XF 16-55mm F2.8 promo movie, but that was a more productive photographic dry period than usual. I don’t invoke these dry periods deliberately; they happen when my brain has had enough of one kind of input – in this case, photographic – and they last for various lengths of time. Much has been written about the perpetual flood of images on the internet. For me, this is enriching because of the many lines of inquiry it offers, but taking a rest from thinking about images all the time is equally restorative to the general self, creative or otherwise. In these times, I read, I write, I consider (read: drool over) graphic and industrial design, I agitate over my experience of the world through its products, …

transit framed

Charlene journal 14 Comments

While working on another piece for Rear Curtain, I came across a whole series of photos taken through a bus window. As a daily commuter, I take the whole sitting-on-bus-until-station thing for granted. But when talking to people who drive, cycle or even catch the train to work, it’s apparent that it actually does offer its own unique experience to other forms of commuting (not in a good way, the non public transport users will pooh-pooh). Such as: The driver giving you a sound scolding for flagging him down while looking at your phone A new driver getting his route thoroughly wrong and taking you on an unexpected tour of the neighbourhood Being able to listen to a bunch of drivers joking with one another …