Friday, January 13, 2017

Play the 20th Century Modernist Detective

PH40/1/3169 Tasmanian Archives Heritage Office Collection

Recently I was contacted by the Tasmanian Archive & Heritage Office (TAHO) regarding the identification of a photograph that they have and where the location may be. It was great to be contacted by TAHO as my experience and knowledge of Tasmanian architecture and design, especially from the 20th Century has grown as I continue to undertake the project of documenting the period.

As soon as I saw the photograph I knew where it was.  The photograph had a note on it saying "Prospect?" as the location, a suburb of Launceston.  The building is indeed located in Launceston, but in the suburb of St Leonard's.  It is now Mount Esk Southern Cross Care, having been originally designed in the 1950s.

What interests me as a photographer is how photographs, through the passage of time, can be "lost" in time. This photograph was probably only taken around 60 years ago.  Yet, back in the 1950s this area of Launceston was rural, it is only in recent times that suburbia has crept up on the once rural farmland.

One of reasons I make photographs and love photography is that they provide a visual marker to show how places change over time. I have photographs from buildings, streets and sites in Tasmania that I've been documenting that have changed dramatically over such a short period of time, that to look at places today where buildings once stood, one would hardly recognise the same view.  And this isn't even 50 years ago, in some cases just a few years ago.

TAHO holds a massive wealth of photographs from Tasmania's built environment, the "everyday" moments of our past are captured in an image forever.  Viewing photographic archives help me to gain a sense of history, and know how a place/building has changed over time and how it fits in with the present and in doing so helps me find a sense of place.

I guess the email request got me thinking a lot about my own archives and how the need to have a robust system of cataloguing is so very important!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Happy 2017 // Hobart IXL Jam Factory

Happy 2017!  I begin the Tasmanian 20th Century Modernism Project for the New Year with an image I created of the former IXL Jam Factory in Hobart, now part of the University of Tasmania campus.  I love scenes like this, empty and devoid of life; it allows me to capture the, beauty of architecture without distraction and allows me to dream about what one was and what might be. Whilst the building was designed in the early 20th Century I love to look at periods before Modernism in order to get a context of where things have evolved.  The precinct in which this building stands has and had many Modernist period designs so it tells a story of the site as a whole.

Whilst my posts have been lighter of late, rest assured I've been very busy continuing to make photographs of Tasmanian Modernism as well as research on my subjects.  With over a decade of photography (1000+ now form part of the project on my website) and research, the journey continues....

On other news I have made tweaks to the blog itself, hopefully making it more streamlined and presentable.  Let me know what you think of the subtle tweaks and how you are experiencing viewing the images.  There are just so many screen sizes and devices these days when creating content, its both mind boggling and interesting at the same time to find out how you are viewing my content.  Phone, tablet, PC?...

Happy 2017, 2016 was a wonderful year for my photographic endeavours, full of projects and experiences.  I am excited to bring you wonderful 20th Century architecture and design from Tasmania throughout 2017.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Art Deco Bus Depot // Metro Launceston

The main depot terminal in Launceston for the Metro bus service.  I love the industrial makeup of this building and the vast open spaces.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Tasmanian Brutalsim - Bold Beauty

Tasmania has quite a number of significant Brutalist buildings, many being Government offices and institutions. This is one such example, the bold lines and angles are wonderful for photography. The odd window has always intrigued me...I love brutalism and its strong bold abstract qualities.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Former Hydro Electric Commission Building // Hobart

The impressive Art Deco offices of the Hydro Electric Commission in Hobart. They were designed in 1939 by Melbourne firm A & K Henderson & Partners. The building is now used by the Hobart City Council.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Devonport Silos

One of the highlights of going to Devonport is the entry to the town.  There is no mistaking the industrial presence, with numerous silos and industrial buildings dotting the landscape as you make your way into the town proper.  The silos loom large and are still being used to this day.  Both Devonport and Burnie share similar visual presence with their imposing and impressive industrial landscapes.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Launceston Under a Storm // Mid Century Modernism

I love walking past this shop, it is so intact from the shop displays to the tiles in the interior and the paintwork! Wonderful bonus to be able to capture it under moody dark storm clouds, its one of my fave times to shoot under such conditions, really provides mood, drama and impact when telling stories about this wonderful period in architecture and design.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Launceston Exhibiton // Newstead War Service Homes

If you are in Launceston and want to check out my photography then you can head into the Launceston Library (LINC) to view the exhibition "Home from the War" – Discovering Launceston’s Returned Soldier War Service Homes" The photographs form part of this years 2016 Tasmanian Heritage Fesitval running throughout May.  The photographs for the project were taken in the suburb of Newstead in Launceston.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Henty House - Brutalism in Launceston

 I love Henty House! It has served as one of my main inspirations over the years and I am always finding new perspectives and interpretations in which to make photographs of this iconic building.  The entire precinct in which Henty House stands, known as Civic Square is about to undergo major redevelopment.  This will be a major change and bring to an end of an era to the original fabric of the precinct since it was developed in the latter part of the 20th Century.  Check it out while you can!

Check out my ongoing project of Henty House on my website

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Mercury Building - Launceston

I captured this photograph of this small modernist gem in Launceston, Paterson street.  This image forms part of my documenting 20th Century Modernism, but also forms part of my ongoing project "Abandoned Launceston - Death of a City" - this project can be seen on my website here

I love how it's nestled in between 3 Victorian buildings and of course the wonderful banding of light reflections on the road.

This is what I love in general about streetscapes, when they provide different periods and styles of design - it provides a rich visual story of the different periods of history. In this scene the architecture is some 100 years apart but they couldn't express their aspirations more different.  I often think about how common it is now for people who live in and visit Launceston to think of the Victorian period as "the" Launceston but before the late 1800s Launceston looked totally different in terms of architecture being a largely Georgian streetscape. 

About the project

Join me (Thomas Ryan Photography) on a photographic project documenting Tasmanian 20th Century Modernism from the 1930's to the 1980's. The entire project gallery of 1000+ images and counting can be viewed on my website under art projects. I have been undertaking this project for over a decade.

My portfolio of commercial and art projects can be seen on my website and I can be contacted here as well. All photographs are copyright of Thomas Ryan Photography. Unauthorised use is prohibited. Contact me for all enquires

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