little boxes 1

Sydney May 2014 (6 photos)

Little boxes on the hillside
Little boxes made of ticky tacky
Little boxes on the hillside
Little boxes all the same

little boxes 2

There’s a pink one and a green one
And a blue one and a yellow one

little boxes 3

And they are all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same

little boxes 5

“Little Boxes” is a song written by Malvina Reynolds in 1962, which became a hit for her friend Pete Seeger in 1963. The song is a political satire about the development of suburbia and associated conformist middle-class attitudes.

little boxes 4

Given the emphasis of my blog, I suspect you didn’t know I also delve into a bit architectural style photography. I kind of like the ticky tacky, you know: bricks, walls, doors, windows, etc etc etc. After all, repetition and texture are wonderful photographic elements. It’s good for me to step outside of my own box sometimes.

OK, just one B&W for good measure…

little boxes 6

“You know I always wanted to pretend that I was an architect” …George Costanza.

“And they are all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same”

Leica Etcetera, Photography Etcetera

Little boxes


88 thoughts on “Little boxes

  1. to remain in him says:

    They looks just the same, but never the same life in it. Sometimes we seem the number of us too, but all of us different. Have a wonderful day πŸ™‚

  2. There is something asthetically pleasing in these photos of uniformity. I live in a country that has a lot of Soviet era block apartments, and I find them very fun to photograph.

  3. Didn’t know Sydney still had Victorian heritage housing. We have plenty of that in Melbourne. I do think Sydney has way more high-rise apartments than Melbourne…and more funky ones too judging from your photos. I really want to rip all those curtains apart and see what is – or who is – behind them πŸ˜‰

    • You just have to go to the right areas to find this style.

      If I were you I’d leave the curtains as is. You might not like what’s behind them. The first 2 are the same building- public housing commission apartments. I took the first one from the deck of the Harbour Bridge.

      • In Melbourne, it seems Victorian houses are everywhere. Very easy to find.

        Well, I don’t like surprises one bit so I thing I’ll take your advice and just watch the curtains. That is marvelous, a shot taken in the sky. What a steady hand you have!

    • It’s a catchy tune. I guessed you would have realised what it was about without even opening it. πŸ™‚

      Yes, the first 2 are public housing units. From the design and the fact that you can see right through, I suspect it is one box per family – maybe these are one bedroom units.

  4. Love architecture and the ‘bits and pieces’ too. A great first image – so clear, you can see into some of those apartments! I went past the inspiration for the Little Boxes lyrics a couple of years ago, but I am nervous of quoting song lyrics so removed them from my blog:
    Jude xx

    • I’ve been to San Francisco several times, but never south to Daly City. I’m not sure I’d want to given the meaning of the song. πŸ™‚

      According to Wikipedia, Nancy Reynolds, her daughter, explained that her mother Malvina came up with the song when she saw the housing developments around Daly City California, built in the post-war era by Henry Doelger, particularly the neighborhood of Westlake. When Time magazine wanted a photo of her pointing to the very place, she couldn’t find those houses because so many more had been built around them that the hillsides were totally covered.

  5. I’m sure all those homes inside are lovely – and homely, but standing back and looking at it like this makes me think a lot of us are living in what looks like a circuit board. 😐 Something in the Matrix maybe. πŸ˜‰ Very ticky tacky and much repetition, but a great capture! These ones certainly make me think. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you Suzy. I suppose we all make the best of what we’ve got, but I could not be happy in a building that looked like that first one. It really reinforces the little box attitude.

  6. these are fantastic shots, Draco… the first one and the last one are my favourites… all these windows are identical at first glance, but if you take a closer look each one has its own story… a reflection of life πŸ™‚

    it’s a very insightful post, Draco… this is exactly what I like about your photography, it’s never only photoraphy, but you always tell a story with it… totally addictive πŸ™‚

    • Very true that life is like that. Same on the outside, perhaps repetitive, but so different on the inside. Many authors have dealt with this topic too as you would appreciate.
      Thank you very much Alex. I’m happy. πŸ™‚

      • am happy too then… good morning πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

        btw, here we don’t have anything that resembles the buildings in your last shots… are these buildings very old? at some point I may post a pic of our “boxes” just to show u… and they are truly boxes, apartments of pre-built panels…

        • Good morning. πŸ™‚

          I’m guessing it was built in the 19th century, so not that old by European standards. I look forward to seeing your photos (I always do).

  7. Wonderful photos Draco, I like them very much! You’ve chosen really cool buildings to photograph. Architecture is fascinating!

  8. I was almost hoping that you’d been in Chinatown on the weekend, just in time to see that bus … anyway … Do you think the Libs are really going to take back that first building you shot ? Do you think that giving Planning to the repulsive Pru Goward was sheer insanity after what she did to her last portfolio ? What’s the story behind that, I wonder …?
    P.S. LOVELY shots, LD ! πŸ™‚

    • No, I wasn’t in Chinatown. I did notice walking around the Rocks precinct that many of the terraces have signs up “NOT FOR SALE” and “SAVE OUR HOMES”. Googling the Rocks and reading the Wikipedia entry, you’ll see that both sides of government have discussed resuming the Rocks sine 1900. I’ve got no idea what any side of government will do these days. They all argue against in opposition and argue for in government, no matter the issue, and as a routine. 😦

      Thank you kindly. πŸ™‚

  9. kuujinbo says:

    Love #1 and the last two. Looking at the photos I first thought they were from your A7R, but going by the tags and EXIF, I was wrong. Coming to the end of autumn over there, right? Looking forward to seeing some nice fall colors, or perhaps too late?

    • Thanks. I would’ve liked to have used the A7r here, but I only had the M9 so that’ll have to do. Haven’t had much time for nature shots this season, but mostly evergreens where I am anyway.

  10. …and all filled with the same ticky tacky inside… πŸ™‚ although we all no doubt like to assume we are unique and special unlike the folks next door?! πŸ˜‰

    I must however mention, that as for stepping outside of your box, LD, you offer up a uniquely appealing perspective. Love, love love what you make with your camera!!

  11. I like the first one where the mind can wander and wonder what’s the story in each ticky tacky πŸ™‚

    “I took the first one from the deck of the Harbour Bridge.” Was thinking you went into someone’s apartment for this shot.

    The public housing has so much more character than those in Singapore. Talk about Γ€nd they all looked just the same” but the landscape is changing here as our public housing are now built by private developers; it’s never going to be the same again and it is no longer comfortably affordable by the average Joe. That’s sad.

    Love you stepping out of your comfort zone. Nothing ventured nothing gained πŸ˜€

    • Thanks. You can see the reflection of a car on the right window, third from the bottom. πŸ™‚

      Mostly the public housing all looks the same here, but this one is different, I guess because of its location.

  12. Ack! I missed your post notice in my over-cluttered mailbox! I missed two full days of enjoying these wonderful pictures! Oh, no! Oh, cruel cruel World.
    I like these a lot– buildings, windows, repetition, buildings…oh…did I repeat myself? #1 is particularly fine. Good work.

  13. Very handsome shots of little boxes Lignum! I can hear Pete Seeger singing the lament in that beautiful voice of his . . . as I sit in my little box which I forget is indeed a little box!

  14. Pingback: Candid Photography is like a box of chocolates #3 | Etcetera Etcetera Etcetera

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