Sydney

Autopsy on a Dream by Tom Oliver Payne

It might be wondered looking at it… whether people’s monuments accurately reflect their natures; whether this sheery mess, this hollow gesture, this smiling shrug of the ideals we trade, is a mirror of its makers. Likely because of its brilliant outside is likely now to bring them universal calumny. And it might be wondered too whether such things never come to pass. Because they require the cooperation of fallible men and the leadership of inspired men who can only finally repel because of their obsession. But, it stands a frosty, glad symbol of whatever you like. Destroyed by cussedness. Betrayed by cowardice. Brought to this quietus by the politics that giveth and the politics that taketh away. Hallelujah, we guess. Hosanna, to whatever’s possible, in the best of all possible climates. She’ll do mate. Or will she?

In 1968 an Aussie in London called John Weiley decided to make a film on the construction of the Sydney Opera House. He pitched his idea to young film maker, David Attenborough, who thought it was an amazing idea. Despite Australian ABC’s opposition, they managed to interview some of most of the key designers and politicians at a point when the entire project was in shambles. The film was super critical of the NSW government and was supportive of Utzon - the architect who had just lost his job on the building. After 2 years of scripting, interviewing, filming and editing, Weiley finished his project and took a trip to Greece. Upon his return to London, he learned that it had been destroyed. There was no trace of the reel and no one would tell him where it went. To this day he doesn’t know what happened, but suspects foul play.

… Almost 45 years later in 2012 an email showed up in Weileys inbox asking if he was the man who made the Opera House film. Collecting archived footage in London, someone had stumbled across a reject reel. It was pieced together and broadcast in 2013.

Here it is in all its glory. One of the best docs I’ve ever seen.

SMH Article: What Sydney can learn from London's approach to brutalist architecture by Tom Oliver Payne

"Sirius, just like Trellick, Balfron and the Barbican in London, illustrates important aspects of the nation's social and cultural history."Last week I had an opinion piece published in the Sydney Morning Herald on brutalist architecture in Sydney and London. 

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From screen to street: the photography project putting imagery in the public eye by Tom Oliver Payne

Photographer Nicholas Gascoine spent his mid 20's in New York City. There, he would work alongside some of the most prominent fashion photographers, often flying to exotic locations. Re-establishing himself back in the sunny country, Nick has embarked upon a new project in a move to take photography away from the private sphere of one’s screen and into the public realm.

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Photographing for Sydney's Neighbourhood Paper by Tom Oliver Payne

Before leaving Sydney I did a few photography shoots for Sydney’s new 'Neighbourhood Paper'. I was called out to take portraits of super interesting people, including a restaurant owner in Darlinghurst, the editor in chief of South East Asia’s Mekong Review, who is based in the Sydney suburbs of Leichhardt, and a beautiful young lady named Joanna Rix - an aspiring actor with Down's syndrome.

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Photographing for #WeLiveHere2017 by Tom Oliver Payne

Over the last few weeks, I've been shooting documentary photos for the #WeLiveHere2017 campaign. Each day I've been visiting the neighbourhood of Waterloo in central Sydney to document the people who live there. I've been taking their portraits, as well as asking them a few questions about their connection with the neighbourhood. 

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Sydney, it's time to face your addiction by Tom Oliver Payne

The New South Wales Government is desperate. It ignores ongoing advice from friends, family and experts to seek alternatives. It fights all obstacles in its path for more. It cares only for the short-lived gratification, euphoria and high, to the detriment of healthy decades ahead. I guess when life feels is so good right now, why would it care?

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A conversation with Jess Cook of Sydney's 107 Projects by Tom Oliver Payne

Jess Cook has been involved in a range of events and creative projects over the last 15 years. From running collaborative art exhibitions and managing large-scale festivals, her latest endeavour is arguably her most ambitious. As Managing Director of Sydney’s 107 Projects, she’s been integral in creating an impressive cultural space in central Sydney. I met with Jess to check out 107 and talk to her about creative spaces, more generally.  

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Interview with Sydney busker, Kane Muir by Tom Oliver Payne

Having played music on streets across the world, at 29 years old, busker and musician Kane Muir has experienced a life unique to most. Before he embarks on his next stint in Los Angeles, I caught up with him to talk cities, warehouse-living and the busking lifestyle. 

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