From West Brunswick to Reservoir, Fitzroy to Hadfield, Warren Kirk turns his keen eye upon the streets, buildings, and inhabitants of Melbourne’s northern suburbs, which are as iconic as they are rapidly changing. Both a tribute to the things we remember and a reminder to look anew at the world around us, the photos in Northside are a triumph of craft from an artist who invites us to really see.
Warren Kirk’s third book, Northside: A Time and Place, continues his exploration of suburban life. “I see stories and layers of history in those places, and quite often the so-called humdrum is actually quite extraordinary – stranger than fiction, as the saying goes.”
In this latest book, Warren Kirk explores the changing face of Melbourne’s northern suburbs over more than a decade.
The images are nostalgic in a way, harkening back to a time before gentrification – when mom-and-pop shops proliferated instead of hip cafes and bars, and when the area was home to migrant communities rather than city workers and students.
“The social fabric is changing so rapidly in terms of living and work arrangements that I’m driven to document what’s left of the ‘old world’; I find it far more visually appealing than what’s taking its place,” Kirk says. “I use this [American author John] Steinbeck quote a fair bit: ‘I wonder why progress looks so much like destruction’.”
“Suburbia is, to me, far more than domesticity. It’s also about the shops and factories that occupy back streets. Many, such as the shoe repairer, tailor, watch repairs, et cetera are a dying breed, along with the small-scale industry that was so prolific in the inner suburbs,” Kirk says.
“To get the chance to document them and domestic living spaces in the hope of making some appealing images is now my major preoccupation. Lucky me.” (via Broadsheet.com.au)
About the Author
Warren Kirk has been a documentary photographer for over 30 years.
Known as “The Westographer”, Warren Kirk has dedicated himself to documenting the fading Western suburbs of Melbourne for the last twenty years. With a collection spanning tens of thousands of photos, Warren has recently published a large sample of that work in Westography in 2016 and Suburbia in 2018.
He lives and works in Melbourne’s west.