I collected these images from the streets of Darlinghurst, Surry Hills, and Paddington in Sydney, Australia. They complement the Melbourne series of work.

These images are single-frame photographs taken on film; they are not digital composites. The multiple image layering is achieved through the use of window reflections, careful positioning of the photographer’s body, and selective positioning of the camera frame.

I am exploring representations of human presence through the absence of the human form. Here, the human presence is suggested through the street environment, the artefacts of desire placed in shop front windows, tools of trade, or closed cafes and restaurants waiting for patrons.

These images were taken before COVID-19; however, viewing them now, within a COVID frame, the images take on an additional resonance. What will be the new normal once we have found a way to live with COVID? How will the tradition of walking through city streets, shopping, eating, and socialising with others, be impacted? Do these images reflect a post-COVID world, where a way of life is represented through the absence of the human form? Images from the past projecting a different future?

I sought to work in the space between abstraction and the figurative. Where the elements of the image might be recognisable, but they are presented in ways that isolate them from their everyday environment and allowing a greater engagement with their inherent form. This approach has parallels with what Costello defines as Faux Abstraction (2008), which he describes as:

“various strategies of estrangement and defamiliarisation that isolate objects from their everyday environments …. [where] it is hard to be sure what one is looking at—though it is clear that one is looking at something—another. The act of cutting away the rest of the world with the image edge, fundamental too much (if not all) photography, often works to estrange and abstract simultaneously.”