The Unexpected Slums project.

It’s funny how these things come about.

I have been diligently plodding my way through a series of tasks – editing, layout, processing photographs. All as though there are deadlines and demands in place. Of course, there are none, unless I impose them myself.

And so, I have dragged myself away from the Bachelards, and the T. S. Eliots. Lifted my head from the tedium of making silk images out of sow photographs from 90 years ago, to start to play with how they might look. What kind of book they might become.

This is likely jibberish to most, so I’ll explain.

Back when I was researching the background information for my Ida collection, I stumbled across what I thought was a viable and interesting subject, namely the slum life of inner city Melbourne, back in and around the 1930s. I was particularly interested in Collingwood, Carlton, Fitzroy and Richmond because they provided the ‘personal’ connection that I like to have to really engage with these projects. In this case, I had worked as a community psychiatric nurse in those inner Melbourne suburbs back in the 1980s, and often had cause to think about the replacement of the slums with with multi-storeyed public housing, and to ponder the merits of such drastic steps back in the day.

In any event, over recent weeks I have been working through around 200 old (and mangy) photographs that I gleaned from the public record. They are shocking pictures to work with and I can only hope they will come up ok in book form, somewhere down the track. I’m heartly sick of them at around the halfway point, with not a word written.

It is unusual for me to do all my preparation before I start writing. Usually it is the other way around – see it, write it. I’m changing! LOL

I find that I’m enjoying playing with layout for this proposed new collection. At around 400 pages, I believe it will be best as an 8.5 x 8.5 trim size – similar to the Beechworth Bakery Bears books and Sheep On The Somme. Like Sheep, I intend to fully reference the images, so it will be a long while in gestation, I think.

Ok. That’s about all the diversion I can allow myself. I’ll post a screenshot of one of the first few images I’m placing (tentatively) at the beginning of the book.

the unexpected slums – layout image – 02/02/2023

11 thoughts on “The Unexpected Slums project.

  1. You seem to be in the same place I am:

    “All as though there are deadlines and demands in place. Of course, there are none, unless I impose them myself.”

    The tedium factor aside, your new project sounds very worthwhile.


  2. A personal aspect is always an asset. You can write logically or with meaning about what you research. In this case, your personal perspective, I am sure, will enhance these stories.; if that one picture you have shown is anything to go by.

    Liked by 1 person

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