Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Is For Angel

This Melbourne Landmark Is Larger Than Life

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


So, did you spot the angel in the photograph above? No, don't look in the sky. The large sculpture by the riverside is called "The Angel". One of Deborah Halpern's signature pieces of art, it was commissioned 22 years ago, in 1987, for Australia’s Bicentennial celebrations the following year.

This sequence of images was shot exactly two years ago, on an icy cold Melbourne winter day. And just in case you're looking at the image above and thinking the trees don't look like our normal Aussie gum trees, you're dead right. They're actually English elms, planted all along the Yarra River by the early settlers.


I was standing at the area of parkland known as Birrarung Marr, photographing Deborah Halpern's masterpiece when I realised that if I stood under the 30-foot tall (almost 10 metres) work of art , I could actually use its shape as a triangular frame for the cityscape.

Angel's first home was actually the south moat of the nearby National Gallery Victoria, or NGV, but it was moved in 2006 to its present spot at Birrarung Marr.


This shot (above) was taken under the work of art, looking directly across the river. A few second after I took that frame, I wondered if I would somehow be able to find an angle where I could actually photograph Princes Bridge.

The short answer was yes. As you can see from the image below, I was able to compose an asymmetrical shot to include not only all three spans of the prominent bridge, but even the surface of the Yarra, as well as the towering Rialto. It used to be Melbourne's tallest building until Eureka Tower (visible in the second frame) took that distinction when it opened in 2006.


For the home of ABC Wednesday, go to Mrs Nesbitt's Place.

38 comments:

Mojo said...

Not only a unique sculpture, but a useful one as well! Nicely shot!

willow said...

Wow, they are so marvelously unique. Nice shots, too, David.

Daryl said...

What a clever 'frame' ..

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Very cool framing David.

OSAI Chella said...

A real story from blogchai.com where you also plays a part!lol!
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introspection said...

Oh vow! it has actually gone. So here's what I wanna comment.
I came over from Shobhaa's.This masala chai is just amazing. Though in real life I only like unadulterated and pure tea. But this is different. So many wonderful bloggers together.
Can I recommend an International blogger ? Born in India though. "Authorblog.blogspot.com" by David. He writes daily and is very good.
July 20, 2009 12:51 AM
OSAI Chella said...

Yeah! but the link you gave is not right! We found him at david-macmahon.blogspot.com!
July 20, 2009 8:57 PM
introspection said...

Thanks for your comment, and for finding David's blog. From now on Blogchai.com will be on my dashboard too.
Oh and thanks for including 'innerfeelings'.

Hilary said...

Lots of beautiful angles, colours and perspectives in these shots.

aims said...

Was talking about you the other day David - had 2 separate groups come rafting on the same day - both from Australia. The couple were from Perth where they both worked in the mines and the other 2 girls were nurses from Brisbane. You would have fit right in the middle right?

RuneE said...

You could have called it "An angle for an Angel"...

Thank you for sharing!!

Jazz said...

And back to the start of the alphabet. I can,t wait to see what you'll give us this time around. That is a stunning sculpture. I love it, and how you used it to frame your shots.

Charles Gramlich said...

That's pretty cool but just a little bit freaky.

Ackworth born said...

So many different Aspects and Alternative ways of viewing the Angel.

Doreen said...

very cool the way you used the sculpture to get fantastic shots.

Janie said...

Great work in finding the unusual frame.

Marguerite said...

This sculpture is fascinating, as well as your framing. I especially like the last shot.

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

Nice photographs using the artwork for framing. Deborah Halpern's piece is incredible. Are these aboriginal images which she uses on the sculpture? Very interesting!

Eternally Distracted said...

Amazing shots - You've done it again Mister!

mkreider said...

I didn't find the sculpture all that interesting until you made it interesting. Nice work!

Maggie May said...

I like very much the way that you have taken photos through the different shapes of the Angel..... the round one and the triangle etc.
Not sure what I think of the actual statue itself, though it is very unusual.

Leslie: said...

Love that last photo! Very intriguing sculpture.

James said...

Awesome sculpture shot very well. I really like the bottom picture.

ArneA said...

Fantastic sculpture and a great post. Nominated for PotD.
:)

Jientje said...

I love seeing your pictures David. I find I can always learn so much from you, I love how you used that beautiful piece of art to frame the city.

jay said...

What a stunning piece of artwork! Interesting perspective, too, looking through the triangle.

We lost huge numbers of our Elm trees back in the late 1960's, early1970s with Dutch Elm Disease. You still see them, of course, but the shape of our countryside changed when that swept the country. :(

secret agent woman said...

I remember this sculture. In faact, I'm pretty sure I posted it (At the very least, it was one of the many peiecs of art I photographed there.) I spent a couple fo days in Melbourne in 2007.

Moannie said...

That is an extraordinary sculpture, David. Nice to see the Elms, we lost most of ours to Dutch Elm disease a few years ago...swathes of them were lost, sadly.

vicki archer said...

Fab shots David - love the way you see things through your lens, xv.

Kelly H-Y said...

WOW ... that is awesome!!!

nonizamboni said...

Angel lent you so many wonderful views and she is lovely.

Pastor Sharon said...

The colors in that piece of art are beautiful! Nice shots of the city, David.

Mimi said...

I wish I had your eye!

Joanne said...

I always enjoy combining art forms, like your sculpture frames with photography, or the sculpture and architecture. One seems to empower the other. Enjoyed the photographs.

J Bar said...

I liked all the different views that you gave us.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Ming the Merciless said...

Cool photos!

Thanks for visiting Bangor Daily Photo.

Louise said...

The last shot is stunning.

I love this sculpture, but like most art, I wonder how it got the name. I can love art but not understand it as the artist intended, I suppose.

Grace and Bradley said...

Good framing! A city under the angel. It is a marvelous piece of sculpture.

Sande said...

'mazing. Why had I never seen those before? They are not a small Aussie landmark. [pulling head out of NSW sand]

Tom said...

Hi David
This really is a stunning set of pictures.. I am always happy to come across urban art when I out and about and just of late it seems to be on the 'up' here in our towns. Saying all that I have yet to see something as nice as this.. I love the colours and like you would have been so happy to walk around it looking at all the angles.. Great post for ABC Wednesday..

My blogs today show a Gypsy Waggon and a Weather Vane

richies said...

That is a very unusual piece of art. The pictures are great, but I particularly like the last one.

An Arkies Musings