City Focus 5 Adelaide by Gary Sauer-Thompson

19 Nov
City Focus 5 Adelaide by Gary Sauer-Thompson

Adelaide is now my home town. Though it is the capitol city of the state of South Australia
it is a small regional city; one that is trying to reinvent its rust bucket image from the steady
decline of the manufacturing industry --white good and cars --in the 1980s to the present.
In all likelihood it will be huge expansion of BHP Billitonʼs Olympic Dam (copper, gold and
uranium) that will enable the state to have a different future.

I started photographing the city by photography the urban neighbourhood in the central
business district where I live in a townhouse. This area --the central market precinct--is in
a process of change: more people are moving into the city to live, the lawyers are set up
their offices, and the international students are buying and renting the newly built
apartments. That change got me started on my urban wandering with a camera.

Gradually the photography took on a broader focus of exploring the CBD area itself and I
took to wandering the streets with a camera. The Situationists (
Situationist_International) called this wandering dérive (érive),
by which they meant an unplanned journey through an urbanscape that an individual
travels; unplanned aimless strolls (photo walks) that act to edge us out of the banalities of
everyday life. The subtle aesthetic contours of the surrounding urban architecture and
geography subconsciously direct my walking and wandering.

The purpose of dérive is to experience an entirely new and authentic experience of the
different atmospheres or ambiances in which we are stepped. These collective and public
moods (Stimmung in Heidegger
week-3-meeting-part-iii.html ) constitute how the world matters to us, and how we find
ourselves in the world. The process is one of letting myself be drawn by the attractions of
the terrain and the encounters I find there. It is away we find ourselves in a world as world.

Through moods that we are attuned with the world. Moods provide the background against
which specific events affect us. They colour how events or situations show up for us, 'close
off' other possibilities, and open up the world in a particular way. They bring us face-to-face
with ourselves as being-in-the world.

Psychogeography ( for the Situationists was
a whole toy box full of playful, inventive strategies for exploring cities...just about anything
that takes people as pedestrians off their predictable paths and jolts them into a new
awareness of the urbanscape.

This conception of urban wandering refers back to the older concept in Charles Baudelaire
( and Walter Benjamin (http:// of the flâneur (
LaFlaneuse.pdf), who makes social and aesthetic observations during long walks through

The street photographer is seen as one modern extension of the urban observer, and with
the development of hand-held (Leica) cameras in the early 20th century, the camera has
become the tool of the flâneur: Susan Sontag in her 1977 essay, On Photography, claims
that the flâneur with a camera finds the world picturesque (
Picturesque. )

My urban photography emerged out of the Situationist conception of urban wandering and
through it I started to represent my Adelaide.


One Response to “City Focus 5 Adelaide by Gary Sauer-Thompson”

  1. Hewlbane March 18, 2012 at 8:27 am #

    … I like the last image in particular. The audacity of the person to smoke in contravention to the signage not to do so, then, to add salt into the wound, the grub leaves the empty cigarette pack… but I makes a corker of an image …

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