Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Too Many (Captain) Cooks? Never!

Must Be Time To Play Statues

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


Melbourne, with its long daylight hours, tourist culture and café lifestyle, is a haven for outdoor performers of all descriptions. Southbank, in particular, is right on the pulse for entertainers, buskers and artists of many persuasions, probably because of the proximity to the performing arts precinct.


This series of shots was taken on the afternoon of Australia Day, January 26. I noticed a crowd gathered by the riverfront and took the lens cap off my trusty Pentax because I knew that something was afoot.

Sure enough, that’s when I spotted this mime artist/ actor dressed in a wonderful costume, depicting Captain James Cook, regarded as one of the greatest explorers of the 18th century. The costume and makeup were beautifully matched to look like a statue and the man impersonating Captain Cook did a great job with his ultra-slow-motion movements and an unchanging expression on his face.


When one child gave him a miniature Australian flag, he accepted it with a grave nod and ever so slowly put the flag into his pocket. There was a period of four seconds between these two photos, so you can see how slowly he was moving his hand.

I was walking away when I noticed this shy little girl being propelled by her mother. Fortuitously, I was in the perfect position for these shots, because the real point of interest was not the expression on the entertainer’s face, but the excitement that shone on the girl’s features.


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52 comments:

Street Guru said...

I have an award for you on my blog, What The World Needs Now.

http://always-something-there-to-remind-me.blogspot.com/

Keep up the great writing!

Barbaloot said...

Those performers fascinate me....the time and effort they put into their costumes and their ability to hold still is awesome.

karin said...

Totally amazing! Great stuff that you were there to document the event. Love the girl's expression!

Artist Unplugged said...

These performers are really fascinating....but they kind of spook me at the same time!

Shadow said...

street performers... wow to them, i certainly would never be able to do that...

Cheffie-Mom said...

Fascinating! I love the photo of the little girl looking up.

Gaston Studio said...

What amazing makeup; I thought it was a photo of a statue and wondered why his eyes were closed!

Yes, street performers are awesome creatures!

Sandi McBride said...

I've seen these mime/actors before and they are always amazing...I wonder sometimes if the paint they use is quite good for their skin...but that is usually after I've enjoyed the "show" and wandered on down the street...
Great shots!
Sandi

Maggie May said...

I really enjoyed this set of photos and yes, the little girl's face says it all.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

What a lovely series of photos! The little girl's smile is radiant, and contagious!

A Brit in Tennessee said...

These street mimes must have the patience of Jobe, how do they stand there, so quiet, and focused ?
The little girl made the whole thing come to life, and added a human touch to the whole thing.
Great photos David !

Charles Gramlich said...

Amazing!

BumbleVee said...

mimes, mascots and crazy aunties....kids love 'em don't they?

hey David...just stopped in to say thanks for the honour of Post of the Day. A new face showed up over at my place; left a comment and used the letters POTD....huh? I was stumped. But, did my usual sleuthing... back tracking on her blog and saw a link to yours...so knew she had found me by way of you...then came over here... perused your page...and aha! there I was!

and thanks for stopping to say about the Holbrook too.....

marcia@joyismygoal said...

Oh I liked that thanks for sharing it -i had heard of these but never seen one

Mojo said...

Wow! That's truly remarkable. In the opening frame I really thought it was a statue. Amazing control... I'm betting he freaks more than a few kids out with that business though.

Akelamalu said...

I find living statues amazing - just how they stay so still for so long is unbelievable!

Madame DeFarge said...

You see a lot of these on the Southbank in London. Some of excellent, others actually very disconcerting. I'm always impressed by their poise and patience.

Elizabeth Bradley said...

I'm amazed that the little girl wasn't afraid of the mime. When my kids were small they were afraid of Captain Hook at Disneyland, and he's far more cartoony than your Captain!

fishing guy said...

David: Really cool, I could never stay that still.

Nessa said...

He's scary looking.

The Girl From Cherry Blossom Street said...

I want that jacket.
Fearless little girl!

B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

We get theez. Sum ov them mayke me jump wen they suddenly moov!

:@}

erin said...

i find these street performers quite interesting. saw some when i was in rome in february by the colosseum area.
enjoyed the post and photos.

Jess said...

BEER! Well, that is IT! I am on my way! These pictures are great! I really enjoy watching people who do not realize (mostly kids) that it is a real person and not a statue! They have some that come out and perform at our local park during the summer! Thanks for stopping by my place!

Carver said...

Great shots David. The mime looks so much like a statue that I'd be startled when he moved. The little girl in the last shot is so adorable. I love her smile.

Me and my puppies said...

Wonderful expression on the girls face.

Sara G said...

Oh wow, that is a great post David!!
Love the pictures. That would sure be a site to see in person!
Thanks for sharing!!

Valerie said...

I love mime artists, and especially admire those that seem never to blink! Super pictures. As a matter of fact I was sorting through some Dublin pics and found a mime artist amongst them.

Sherry said...

I spent 3 weeks in Australia -- and never saw Captain Cook. Boo hoo!

Hilary said...

I've seen street performers like this and they're fascinating. You did a great job of capture that fascination in the faces of onlookers.

Corey~living and loving said...

what a great series of photos. HOw fun. wish I had been there.

Have a great day!

~Just me again~ said...

Oh I love those guys. We get them here in the summer sometimes on the street mall.

Tess said...

Wow, that costume is amazing! The jacket looks so much like a statue. Sounds like that was fun to watch. We don't get too many exciting street performers here in Utah. :)

Rinkly Rimes said...

I particularly like the shot with the wide-eyed look. I can see he has an itch somewhere that needs attention!

Eddie Bluelights said...

"Mummy, He's alive!"

Cathy ~ Tadpoles and Teacups said...

Wow, it's amazing how "un-lifelike" the actor looks! Great photos.

Cathy

P.S. And yes, we don't begrudge the rain here in NE Georgia--we've had an extreme drought for the past 2-3 years and this bit of rain is helping replenish our resevoirs. Last year, the water supply was so low in the Atlanta area that there was only enough for about 60 days. But thankfully it rained!!

ewok1993 said...

Thought he was really a statue. Great job.

Guy D said...

Fantastic as always David.

Have a great week
Guy
Regina In Pictures

sunnymama said...

Fascinating pictures! The last photo of the little girls excited face is fantastic :)

Doreen said...

that is really being there at the right time. awesome post and fabulous series of shots.

Caity Marie said...

As little kids, my friends and I tried acting as mannequins in storefronts at the mall and got yelled at, but I have to admit it was a lot of fun. I almost wish I could be one, but I wouldn't have to patience. Their dedication to the art is fantastic.

Sylvia K said...

What amazing shots! I'm fascinated by those performers! I am surprised the little girl wasn't more frightened, too!

Jacob said...

Superbly done! Great poetry, too.

Thanks for your nice commments on our blogs...

For poetry you might check out Creative Confections at http://jacobsconfectionary.blogspot.com

Lew said...

Delightful finish to an interesting post! She is precious. That kind of statuary performance is amazing - must take extraordinary concentration to maintain the expression and posture.

Janie said...

I thought the man really was a statue. Great shot of the cute little girl interacting with him.

chrome3d said...

I´ve seen those living statues too, but what I can see from here is that he is very good.

Leanne said...

Mime artist are very clever I struggle to stand still for a second. Thanks for sharing.

mon espace said...

Hey there..just stumbled into your blog..

I think you just defined 'being at the right place at the right time' with this series..

love the photographs.. :)

barb said...

The last shot of the young girl is my favorite! Living statues are always a delight, to young and old.

Catherine said...

I generally get fed up with the plethora of living statues...they have recently arrived in Mexico City... but this series of shots is great shwoing all the interaction which is far more interesting..

Amanda Guthrie said...

Great story, it is nice to learn about traditions and cultures not my own but the little stories inside the big message as well.

Glennis said...

The statue street performers are very clever, and very patient I enjoy watching them but seldom see them move. That little girl is rapt.