Monday 24 April 2023


More on photography and its games: two articles expose issues with our relationship to the world through photography. One is an architectural photographer's story on photographing a house in two seasons; the other is on the origin of the standard 50mm lens.

The idea of photographing a house over two seasons sounds interesting, but the matter of photographic tricks and illusions is again raised: see - :

Photographing A House Over Two Seasons, Jiří Alexander Bednář Gives Us the Complete Picture

Here we see a set of images of the house in the landscape that are all much the same, with seasonal variations as the idea intended. A few specially selected detailed images of the house are included in this set. The text tells us that Alex does a beautiful job of showing off this lovely piece of architecture as it relates to its environment.

Images that don’t look like what we see with our human eyes.

It is as though the photographs prove and confirm the fit, the subtle relationship of the building to its place in nature; that the images define the connection just because it has been photographed. The thought that one might be critical of the proposition remains completely alien.

Then, as soon as the camera goes indoors, we get the typical array of detailed pieces all artfully composed; images that have little relationship with any context or season other than that one might get a glimpse of a snowy exterior.

Filling the frame with interesting things.

It is the article on the origin of the 50mm lens that tells us what is happening here: see -

But something interesting has happened in the last decade or two.

The most popular cameras in the world aren’t made by Canon or Nikon or Kodak, and they don’t come with a 50mm lens, as they had between (basically) the 1930s until the late 1990s. The most ubiquitous camera in the world today comes attached to a phone with an half-eaten apple on it, and the focal length of the “standard” lens on this most-used camera has an equivalent full frame focal length of approximately 26mm. In terms of “real photographers” that’s perilously close to ultra-wide territory. Not even wide-angle. Ultra-wide!

So, without even trying, iPhone and smartphones at large have essentially shifted the “standard” focal length away from 50mm into the realm of the ultra-wide.

I, for one, love it. I love wide angle lenses. I think they’re more dynamic, and it takes more work to get a good picture. With a wide-angle lens we can’t rely on the crutch of subject isolation and bokeh.# We have to concentrate on filling the frame with interesting things. We have to get close to our subject.

The result is that we have pictures which, in fact, don’t look like the everyday. The new normal lens makes images that contrarily don’t look like what we see with our human eyes. Which gets us closer to the whole point of photography, the very reason why we should even bother making pictures with a camera: that is, to show us something we can’t see every day.

#bokeh – out-of-focus blur

out-of-focus blur

Bokeh is defined as “the effect of a soft out-of-focus background that you get when shooting a subject, using a fast lens, at the widest aperture, such as f/2.8 or wider.” Simply put, bokeh is the pleasing or aesthetic quality of out-of-focus blur in a photograph.>bokeh-for-beginners

The critical and most revealing words are:

We have to concentrate on filling the frame with interesting things. We have to get close to our subject.

The result is that we have pictures which, in fact, don’t look like the everyday. The new normal lens makes images that contrarily don’t look like what we see with our human eyes. Which gets us closer to the whole point of photography, the very reason why we should even bother making pictures with a camera: that is, to show us something we can’t see every day.

This is the problem with architectural photography: we are constantly presented with impossible images, visions that we can’t see everyday; but these beautiful shots define our expectations and ambitions as we try to recreate these fantasies as real places - the whole point of photography, the very reason why we should even bother making pictures with a camera is that we can create images that don’t look like what we see with our human eyes: and yet these images become our inspiration.

The aim of photography has rarely been so concisely stated. It is this intent to fabricate unreal, 'unseen' images that lies at the heart of the problem of architectural photography. What we see in the seasonal images of the house are images that don’t look like what we see with our human eyes: and yet we are asked to use these to gauge the marvellous relationship between house and nature as if it might be an unquestionable reality worthy of our admiration.

Images that don’t look like what we see with our human eyes.

With the world knowing and learning so much through photography, one can only express serious concern with these matters because this situation leaves all concepts known photographically, rooted in pure make-believe; with daydreaming speculation shaping a truly unreal world that is so familiar to us that we treat it as real. We need to get back to understanding our world and learning about it through our own experiences rather than drooling over impossible dreams and being distraught with outcomes that have, ironically, to rely on photography for their realisation; their revitalisation.

Animals - to convey purpose and life.

This understanding allows us to know exactly what the text is telling us: that the photographs play games with us by adding interest, and helping us understand the complete story as shaped by the wide-angled lens, as if our everyday eye does not see the complete story:

Throughout this project you’ll find that Alex is so good at showing scale and life, adding interest to his images, and helping us understand the complete story of the villa’s design and usage.

The right compositions.

And inside:

Inside, Alex used almost every available inch of the house to fit the camera in the right place for the right compositions. Not using a Camranger or tethering at the time, he had to squeeze himself behind the camera to make these beautiful shots.

We must come to understand just what photography is doing to us. We live in the everyday and see and experience the world in this ordinary, ad hoc, nonchalant way; yet we photograph it to present illusions that become and shape our dreams of things ‘real’ and ‘complete,’ as if seeing things better trough a microscope; but we are only creating visions that will never be and have never been other than existing as an image cast by the popularised wide-angled lens of everyone’s camera that makes us concentrate on filling the frame with interesting things. The result is that we have pictures which, in fact, don’t look like the everyday.

The manipulation of the images is very self-conscious:

Once I download the photos to Capture One, I back everything up twice via Time Machine. Backing up is very important to me personally, as an ex-programmer,” Alex explains. “Then I go through all the photos and since I shoot 3–5 exposures, I always choose the ideal one and mark it.

I then select from this selection until I have selected only the best photos with 5 stars. But I will send the client all the photos taken (except the technically bad ones) and in a separate folder, I will send them my recommended selection for editing. It is then up to the client to send it back to me for editing. In exceptional cases, I will add photos at my discretion and the client will receive them for free.”

The second most important part after the selection of photos is the most accurate editing in Capture One that would reflect my final idea. I won’t go into the whole process, but the first step is to unify all the photos from the entire shoot in terms of color, contrast, and exposure. Photoshop is there for everything else. I send the final photos to the client for approval – and it is very important for me that the client approves the photos. It may happen that I forget something, or overlook something, and this is how I ask for feedback. Then I deliver the final photos with Dropbox.

This is the blatant manipulation of our perceptions and understandings, all in the guise of an aesthetic preference for the manufacturing of certain, ‘ideal,’ ‘intriguing’ appearances to be used to promote an understanding of place. This is a dangerous paradise. The great worry is that we are being trained to see the world as photographs: as though framed with a wide-angled lens that has to be filled with interesting things. It is a situation that makes ordinary life 'boring,' establishing a circumstance that drives the desire to be different; cleverly bespoke.

Purpose and life?

I appreciate how, throughout this project, Alex uses different figures – and animals – to convey purpose and life. In the autumn images, we met the sheep on the property. In the wintertime interiors, we meet the herding dog. It fleshes out the story of this home and adds plenty of character.

Tuesday 18 April 2023


The general use of the term ‘Architect’ has been commented upon previously: see -  and

No board of architects in the country, (boards in Australia are all state-based), ever sees a need to comment on this use of the ‘controlled’ term in common language, even though one is not allowed to call oneself an ‘architect’ without appropriate approval. Indeed, in Queensland, Australia, one has to be registered as a ‘non-practising architect’ to be able to name oneself an ‘architect’ even if retired, such is the importance placed on this term and its likely abuse by those not appropriately registered. So one is puzzled by the way in which the term can be used willy-nilly, ironically, in any context other than the practice of architecture, without any problem.

It all becomes very confusing. There are always examples turning up in the media. The most recent involves the discussion on The Voice. The question that is going to be put to the people of Australia later this year, 2023, is should the indigenous, first nations people be given a Voice in the constitution? The media headlines continue the discussion on whether this is a good idea or not, with references to ‘The Uluru Statement Architect’ and ‘The Voice Architects’ – see:


As if this use of the word ‘Architect’ might not be confusing enough, there is the further muddle with the term ‘The Voice’ itself, which happens to be a television show as well as a voice – see: Architect discovers his talent in The Voice The Voice of Architectural Profession in California

All of this mixed referencing only befuddles one, and makes one wonder why the word ‘Architect’ has been allowed to get into such a situation; and why the idea of indigenous, first nations involvement in government should have been called ‘The Voice.’ Things would all be much more clear if language was better managed. The sense of jumbled meanings only causes confusion and raises an unfortunate, unnecessary doubt in the ambience of any considerate reflection on the subject which seems to be a totally reasonable proposition, albeit not perfect, as this text explains:


The argument for The Voice seems to be unequivocal: given our history, it is deserved and necessary; yet we already hear the call to vote No. The cynic might say that there is no problem with giving our indigenous folk, or anyone, a voice, noting that, even with a voice, communications forwarded to politicians and media outlets just get ignored - as this piece will be. So the position could be: yes, give ‘them’ The Voice as it has been labelled, shut ‘them’ up, and continue doing what those in authority are very skilled at: just ignoring matters and doing whatever is wanted to suit themselves while pretending to do otherwise, all ‘for the good of the community/country.’ Even with The Voice, it is very likely that nothing will change other than that these folk in charge, in power, will be able to boast with a glowing personal pride that they have given our indigenous people The Voice: vote for ME. At least one political pressure point will have been eliminated, and a new talking point created.

It doesn’t seem to matter which side of politics one might be addressing, at what level of government, or at what level of seniority, PM or Minister, Lord Mayor, Local Councillor, etc.; or which media outlet is involved, left or right: any communication can just be ignored, shoved aside, mocked, forgotten about if it suits the purpose to do this, or just managed with gobbledegook telling one nothing, or trying to prove that black is white. Why be bothered, seems to be the position, when no one can force us to act? From experience, the situation seems to be: we hold the power; voice or no voice will not alter our voice. So why should anything be different with The Voice?

What is needed is not just The Voice, but ears that will listen and hear; eyes that will read and comprehend; and an intent to respond, to be truly responsible: to reflect, consider, and understand, with a willingness to change both position and thinking; and to act accordingly with empathy and commitment so that real, lasting, transformative, co- operative outcomes can be achieved, instead of being content with the safe, silent inertia of the protective, proverbial brick wall that accompanies the blatant exercise of power.

The Voice without any power relies on power itself to be sensitive and aware, to listen, to be responsive to subtlety, everything the brute force of indulgent authority is not. One could argue that we already have The Voice; that it is the exercise of shameless power that needs to change. Sadly history has shown how impossibly difficult this change is with meaningful matters being so easily distorted into hollow words by cunning, controlling spin.

It could be seen that voting Yes or No will make no difference when we have this rude exercise of bold power. If we are to be really serious about change, then this has to come from the powerful - our politicians and our media. These need to change from dismissive black holes to bright, inspiring stars that truly reflect the voices of others responsibly, with care and attention, rather than continue to spin distracting fantasies to achieve programmed outcomes seeking praise in glowing reports.

Mmmm! As if these things will ever change. Hope might ‘spring eternal,’ but it has to be numb to reality, blinded by faith, to be maintained; for one to see that a Yes vote is warranted: it is deserved, as a matter of principle. It is a start, a small step in the right direction that envisages a better world. Even the cynic should be able to see that doing nothing is not helpful, or hopeful.

21 APRIL 23


This piece was written in order to prove the very point that this article makes, and predicts. The text was forwarded to two major media outlets, one print and one television. Neither bothered to even acknowledge receipt of the piece, which is the point being made: one can have a ‘voice,’ but there is no obligation on anyone to either listen or respond.#

The piece was not sent to any politician as one already knows from the many attempts made to contact politicians while stranded overseas when the country was COVID-closed, that one would not get anything but a prolonged and careless silence. No, this has to be corrected: one response from the local member was received; it told us to go away and “contact your local member"! The member just thoughtlessly flicked out the standard reply to go elsewhere.

The only difference a constitutional ‘voice’ will have is that this ‘right to talk’ will allow the protests made when the ‘voice’ is ignored, to start from a different base that has some substance in law. There will be a greater opportunity for politicians to be embarrassed into action: but given the past where it has been made crystal clear that politicians have no shame, one can predict that this ‘voice’ is pure, formal, legitimised spin that aims to give the impression of empowerment when it is obvious that all power remains where it always has been - with the government. The Voice will be used by the politicians to show that they are listening and responsive only when they want to do what The Voice has suggested; otherwise The Voice will be ignored, managed with gyrating gobbledygook to try to intimate that politicians are doing what has been spoken about in another way - all for the good of ‘the people of Australia.’

The article made the point that, if there was to be any change, it had to come from those in power, and we all know that this is never given up or changed easily; it usually takes civil protests or civil war to achieve this. These words alarm: one has to note that in this context, ‘civil’ relates to ordinary citizens, and has nothing to do with being courteous and polite: there is nothing civil in this latter sense, in either protests or wars.


The print media only wants quirky ‘selfies’ for readers to drool over: see - These usually involve intimacies and problems with a ‘Dorothy Dix’ quality: “Should I . . . ?” “Will it . . . ?” “My partner . . . ?” Situations like blind dates are structured just for the readers’ indulgences, for them to salivate over the feedback: “Did you kiss?” “Did you . . . ?” Ideas on matters political are unwanted; irrelevant.

24 April 2023

This is a collection of articles from today’s news:


It seems that such interests alone make the idea of The Voice just a poor joke; a political diversion.

28 APRIL 2023

One could go on and on with examples of ‘selfie’ trivia cast as news; here are a few more:

The point of seeing The Voice as ‘a joke,’ is that, if we are so concerned with self-centred trifles in our news, it is difficult to take the idea of The Voice seriously. With such trivialities taking centre stage in our lives, there seems to be no way anyone would be interested in matters subtle and serious, let alone expecting a politician to listen and respond to anyone’s ideas with anything but self-interest and rehearsed spin.

29 April 23

Apart from the fact that there is no obligation for anyone to listen, and that The Voice lacks all power other than having a right to be put, the title of this proposed constitutional change begs the question: whose voice? Does the whole concept assume that the ‘first nations’ people of Australia all speak with the one voice? Gosh, there is no agreement on backing the concept of The Voice, so what hope is there? Who’s voice is the government going to listen to? It is all very messy and is looking more and more like a stunt pretending to establish ‘recognition’ and ‘having a say.’

We know the voice the politicians will listen to: the one they want to hear.

1 MAY 2023

More wisdom from the news:

5 MAY 2023

Indigenous rights activist Gary Foley warns voice will be ignored by government

Monday 17 April 2023


What has happened with our housing developments that, in spite of the best efforts with style, finishes and detail, have become the new slums. Are the planners to blame? After all, Councils do approve the subdivisions and provide the guidelines for all other approvals, even if these are managed by others – outsourced is the word: a process that gives total control to Councils without any of the responsibility or hassles. We see large homes filling small blocks with minimum distances between adjacent structures, so that, from above, one sees an expanse of roofs that are nearly touching, stretching unbroken north, south, east, and west.

This is obviously very poor development, seemingly unlivable, providing awkward relationships for habitation, as though no one has given any consideration to a neighbour or another’s proximity. How have things come to be so bad; so sad? One might have been able to manage this itemised, self-interested development on larger blocks that provided more open space allowing manipulations to orchestrate quiet, comfortable, private living spaces, but today we have the awkward clash of ambitions that praise small, ‘green’ blocks, while, at the same time, dreaming of large homes. While there are ‘tiny house’ stirrings in the architectural press, and in the other media that suggest solutions without resolving any of the planning, mobility, and service problems, the cliché concept of a basic house is now becoming more and more aspirational, envisaging ever increasing volumes for collections of fanciful functions, meaning that the whole block is now taken up by the home. A bit of footy or cricket in the backyard is a fantasy referencing the idyllic past.

The traditional subdivision around our ever-growing cities provided blocks of land that allowed an appropriate sized house to be erected on it, with good setbacks at the sides, a front garden, and a large backyard. The block sizes varied from 16 to 40 perches, (about 400 to 1000 sq metres), but the houses varied in simplicity and size too, to suit the proportions of the spaces around them. Basic needs were accommodated without any extremes in extravagance. It seems that this simplistic idea of a block of ground to build on was only a variation in scale of how our very first settlers managed the bush. Land grants were made as blocks of bush or countryside, plots that were cleared for habitation and farming. As the settlements grew, so the blocks became smaller and smaller until they reached the 16/40 perch block pattern when greater densities in the growing suburbs were required.

It looks as though there has been no other idea for housing that has been considered in this country. The planning experiments in Britain, ‘the home country,’ and in Europe, seemed to have had no impact here. Perhaps we just had too much space to be bothered with other ideas? It appears as though this carelessness with the management of settlement has continued on through to this day, as we keep doing what we have been doing for centuries: we just keep drawing intricate road patterns with rectangular blocks around them, irrespective of region or place. Planners seem to be happy with this strategy, pressing on with this mindlessness, praising themselves for their bold steps that provide ever-more-narrow roads to service smaller and smaller blocks. These ‘green’ developments are the new slums that we see getting built on the outskirts of our towns and cities.

It is a pattern that seems to accommodate a similar attitude to change to that shown by the house builders. The model for the home is known and understood as a single house that can be built using all of the existing skills and processes with some juggling of styles, materials, and appearances to allow and promote some sense of difference in what is really just the same – or is it now worse? The traditional Queensland house came from a catalogue and could be constructed with a standard set of materials and parts, quickly and efficiently.

Today, one might be able to say much the same about our developers who do offer ‘standard’ homes that seem to have random variations that have little relation to any kit of parts other than on a minuscule scale: the house might be described as a stud frame with a brick veneer, aluminium windows, and a tiled roof, all on a concrete slab, offering a familiar pattern of action for the builder, but giving a blaze of different ‘everythings and anythings’ that has become our suburbia. Each house becomes its own centre of attention, making every effort to be seen, and is shaped for its own bespoke ambitions and intentions irrespective of any surroundings. These houses are being constructed on tiny ‘green’ blocks or on larger areas, with the only difference being the restrictions that the smaller block might impose within its limits. As part of the ‘green’ concept, building setbacks and clearances are all reduced, as if to compensate for the smaller block without any thought being given to the inevitable outcome.

One could argue that this is merely mindless planning and development that allows the past to plough on into the future without worrying about the quality of dwelling: its space; its light; its privacy; its breezes; its micro-climate; its orientation; its adjacency; its context - or anything other than itself. Attention is given only to my house on my block of land, as though we might still be in the 1820s when we have been granted a block on our arrival from ‘the old country,’ to start our new life in the colony.

If we are just going to keep pressing on with this blinkered approach to our country and our built environment, then everything will only get worse. Already we see our new suburbs with narrow streets lined with cars parked on the footpaths because there is no space on the road, or in the property, as the garages have all been built in to provide for an Airbnb, or a rumpus room that couldn’t be squeezed in on the ‘green’ block anywhere near the media room, family room, office, sun room, five bedrooms, five ensuites, dining room, parents’ retreat, kitchen, dining, utility room, and barbecue space on 400 square metres or less.

The sheer frustration of this circumstance has given momentum to the ‘tiny house’ concept; but, again, no planner or Council has given thought to, let alone yet worked out, what to do with these permanent, mobile places that come with tow bar and wheels, as well as all services ready for connection - to what? - complete with covered patios and outdoor rock gardens. The collisions in intent are stark and blatantly obvious once one pauses and gives just a little thought to the situation. Why do we not get any resolution to our mess that only ever keeps on becoming more of an unhappy shambles?

Planners and Councils appear to be happy to press on doing what they have always done without looking at the muddle that their rules and management have caused, and doing something about it. It is as though no one could care, with the same mistakes getting repeated to give the same outcomes, that now have the aggravation of the tiny house silliness, a circumstance that, if it remains unattended, will ensure the creation of slums in ever more areas as open spaces are fitted with granny flats or offices squeezed in next to the workshop shed and the garden store.

New ideas are needed if we are ever going to do something different in order to achieve better outcomes. One gets a little tired of the cliché sighs of those who care, with the disease of thoughtless development growing our suburbs faster and faster, as the pressures increase to provide ever more housing that is needed now. One can appreciate the urgency, and wonders if this is not the stimulus that demands the negligent haste that generates this mess. Whatever it might be, a conscious pause is needed so that the issue of housing can be thought through carefully with the intent to provide quality space for all in a timely manner, rather than pressing on, shoving out the same shelter on the same patterns, in any shape or size just because we can do this effortlessly.

Kingo Housing

Australia has had a few attempts as prefab housing, but we still use the diagrams and strategies of old to plan and build, even though we know of examples in Europe where a house can be factory-made as parts, and assembled to be complete within two weeks on a site that has its foundations prepared: but this is just the house. We need better planning solutions as well; ideas for housing that can allow places to cluster and gather in ways that do not compromise any quality of living, or have any detrimental impact on the environment. This cry is not a first; it is merely the outcome of frustration from neglect. For years, enthusiasts have been preaching the benefits of developments like that of Jørn Utzon’s Kingo Houses, a project he completed in 1959 - over sixty years ago: and, even knowing of these possibilities, we still fool around aimlessly repeating the crude distribution started by our early settlers, without any real attempt to do things otherwise.

Kingo Housing 

The first thing we have to do is to understand the seriousness of the matter; then we have to move on with a clear intent to change things for the better. One can already hear the groans of the planners who might have to face new challenges by stepping out of their comfort zone; and the whinges of the builders who, one could anticipate, might begin complaining about this dislocation by declaring how everything to do with these ‘new ideas’ will make building more expensive – just unaffordable and time-consuming. It is difficult to break habits that are over 200 years old, especially when the media is so keen to grasp on any issue and emphasise the division, rather than work hard to get the good message across. Good news is no news: but it has to happen.

We need a set of principles that can be enforced to ensure we get good outcomes if we don’t want the world crudely ‘Kingoed,’ which is the danger. Change has to come, because dwellings do have an impact on our well-being; and on our mental health too. Cooperation is required in this enterprise; we do not want an array of genius designers all creating masterpieces for themselves. We need to build new suburbias that are desirable and beautiful, collectively. Perhaps it is our ‘selfie’ world that hinders any change that might promote a cooperative outcome to create community comfort and privacy. We need this to become a shared desire; without this, we will remain in the competitive milieu that has given us what we have today: a thoughtless enterprise that ensures easy profit and no risk as the developers and builders compete for the lowest denominator while promising everything, creating our present new suburban slums that can be set out and constructed using the old ways, without a new care, or any attempt to change for a better vision. As Mad magazine’s motto said: “What, Me Worry?” when the profits can be made doing things the easy way?

We need to worry, for the impacts of our actions are already proving to be detrimental: change is needed. With our present formal arrangements, change has to come from our planners and Councils, but if these bodies are incapable of any considered action, other methods will have to be devised. Climate change and the detailed consideration of energy usage are likely to demand that we break from our lazy, cliché ways. Here we are already slipping back into our old ways of thinking everything is OK because we are getting more and more electric vehicles - climate change solved. The EV world is being hyped every day as our solution to survival, with news items appearing almost hourly, telling us how great everything is: over 7,000 vehicles a week from one factory! The breakdown of this figure into daily needs is so remarkable as to generate disbelief: every day, 1000 bits and pieces of everything that is required to make a vehicle is required; yes, every day, for just one factory: 1000 lithium batteries; 1000 steering wheels; 1000 computers; 4000 wheels and tyres; and so it goes on and on. Are all of these components being made with the sustainability of our environment, our earth, in mind; or do we just concentrate on the wonders of the flashy EV that looks like every other car?

We have to be very careful to not let the media exaggerations shape our beliefs, for this is the same driving force that let’s everything that we see and know of as suburbia today, be promoted as a wonderful norm; and if one wants to declare it otherwise, one is an elitist fool; an arrogant dilettante – an architect. The approach involves the same thinking as that which explains: “You wouldn’t ever want an architect; the fees would pay for the swimming pool; the builder knows what he’s doing: an architect will only give you something different that is over budget and leaks” - and no one would want something different!

So, do we get the suburbia we deserve? It is truly an inexplicable shambles that leaves one more than frustrated as the supportive, self-interested articles are produced by the media directly beside with those complaining about mental health issues and other personal problems. The irony here is that the resistance seems to come, not only from planners and Councils, developers and builders, but also from those who are suffering from the environment they live in, that soon drives egos to madness in a self-perpetuating cycle. It’s going to take a big step to break this unfortunate suburban mess, but it has to happen. It just beggars belief that it has been allowed to go on for so long, unquestioned; or continually criticised as a dismissive, intellectual exercise that offers no solution or desires any action, a game that sometimes even uses the cliché icons as clever design references.#

My house on my block.


One thinks of Robin Boyd’s Australian Ugliness with its somewhat cynical critiques and edgy elitism; and how Melbourne architect Peter Corrigan, (Edmond and Corrigan), used Boyd’s ‘horrors’ as smart references in his work, praising things suburban and ‘tasteless’ with a brazen, intellectual cheek that seemed to just want to 'stir things up' - to disturb Boyd's refined, cultured, discriminating world.

Edmond and Corrigan house