Hang On, Where Are Clooney, Pitt And Damon?
Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON
I've really enjoyed this week's theme for Photo Hunt and I thought "13" was a great choice of a semi-abstract subject. If you look carefully at the top picture and if you remember your Roman numerals, you'll see that it is a really lucky depiction of the theme.
I reckon I'm a fairly observant sort of bloke, but I've walked and driven past this sight several times in the past year - five times a week, on average. I had my son in the car with me and we were talking about the need to find a really unusual shot for the theme, rather than a straightforward photograph of the figure 13.
That's exactly the point when my jaw dropped open and I said to him "Have a look at that - there's the shot I need to take." And he just burst out laughing, because it was perfect for what I wanted.
So, have you managed to figure out what this image shows? Let me explain. It's a wooden bench and the back support, instead of comprising several parallel slats, has an unusual arrangement. There are a couple of perpendicular slats, then one in the shape of an X, then several more perpendicular slats and another X.
Having identified what I wanted to shoot, I then had to face up to the logistics of taking the shot. The bench is on a verandah which gets the sun for about twelve hours a day, so of course the harsh Australian sun has taken its toll and the paint or varnish on the wood has faded completely to the colour of mountain ash.
Immediately behind the bench is a window and of course there are curtains as well - several factors that complicated the equation to take an effective shot. But here it is, just as I saw the figure XIII, with no tricks and no enhancement. And now for the rest of my photographs ....
This (above) is a big Beaurepairs tyre shop on Kingsway, in south Melbourne. The early afternoon light was very strong and I had to make sure I didn't get any reflection, while giving you an idea of the traffic flying past as well.
This was a nearby traffic signal fault alert, with a sign providing the telephone number to call if the lights are not working properly.
The credit for this shot (above) goes entirely to my son. He saw a gardening franchisee at work and told me that the man had the phone number for the franchise emblazoned on his back. So of course, I rocked up and asked the bloke's permission.
I tld him what I wanted to do and he looked genuinely surprised. "The phone number's on my back?" When I assured him that i was indeed on his back, he grinned and told me to go ahead.
"Do you want me to turn around and face the light?" he asked.
No, mate, I said, that's not my style. I photograph people and objects exactly where they are. However, it's interesting to note the detail of the fabric and how clear it is, even in fading light.
This was a photo of the gardening franchisee's truck, and I've framed the shot carefully to get in just the first two digits of the number to call if your garden is getting out of control.
This shot, of a taxi driving away from the Langham Hotel (formerly the Sheraton) in Melbourne is another one I planned to take as soon as I knew what the theme was. You see, "13CABS" is the phone number of the cab company. I could have photographed several stationery taxis at the cab rank, but it's far more fun to shoot a moving object.
And this final shot is a publicity poster for the musical "Guys And Dolls". Can you spot the 13? If you can, I'd suggest it's because you have a can-do attitude. Or maybe, in the light of this shot, that should be a can-can-do attitude.