On the rocks 1

The Rocks, Sydney May 2014 – February 2016 (10 photos)

Start the video for the full music experience…

There is a house built out of stone
Wooden floors, walls and window sills
Tables and chairs worn by all of the dust

On the rocks 11

This is a place where I don’t feel alone
This is a place where I feel at home

On the rocks 9

And I built a home
For you
For me

Until it disappeared
From me
From you

On the rocks 6

And now it’s time
To live
And time
To die

On the rocks 7

Out in the garden where we planted the seeds
There is a tree as old as me
Branches were sewn by the color of green
Ground had arose, then passed it’s knees
By the cracks of it’s skin I climbed to the top
I climbed the tree to see the world
When a gust came around to blow me down
Held on as tightly as you held on me
Held on as tightly as you held on me

On the rocks 12

And I built a home
For you
For me

Until it disappeared
From me
From you

On the rocks 3

And now it’s time
To live
And time
To die.

On the rocks 2

The Cinematic Orchestra is a British nu-jazz and electronic music group, created in 1999 by Jason Swinscoe. The group is signed to independent record label Ninja Tune.

Their song “To Build a Home”, is from the album Ma Fleur and features the vocals of the Canadian singer-songwriter Patrick Watson, and it has been used extensively in film and television.

On the rocks 10

I took these photos whilst walking around the residential portion of the historic Rocks region of Sydney. Many of the homes are now empty and are ear-marked for redevelopment. Private homes have been sold and bought. Public housing tenants are to be evicted/moved. The streets are mostly empty and the local community has been devastated. This area as it once was will become a distant memory. This is a different perspective of the urban landscape of Sydney; an area where the future is devoid of its past. The song’s slow, melancholy melody is a good inspiration for this post, or should that be vice versa.

On the rocks 4

Leica Etcetera, Photography Etcetera, Sony Etcetera

To build a home


75 thoughts on “To build a home

  1. omg, that photo with the torn flags “this is my home”, so intense emotion there… such a beautiful post, Lignum, subtle and emotional… it could be read in so many ways… I choose to read it as to build something new, you gotta say good bye to the old… the music is spot on… ♥

    • Thanks, Alex. Several defiant households but many have gone. I thought the music was perfect and so beautiful, but the video is very sad when you realise what it is about.

  2. The photos and your poem are amazing. This is an excellent response to the challenge. I especially loved your use of B&W photography to showcase starkness and contrast.

  3. This is life.. You are old, you are not fancy, you become an alien, nobody cares for you… That works for everything…Houses and people… I wonder how is possible we are loosing our humanity so quickly…
    Great post L:D.!

  4. Is this to make way for the trendy gentrification brigade or the much more sinister high rise crowd? Either way, it will suck all the personality right out of that place.

    • Unsure at this moment but probably more of the gentrification brigade, I believe. High rise would be an absolute eyesore – so that’s always a definite possibility. One can never discount developers doing stupid things.

  5. It’s a sad scene, but a great post, Dragon.
    The saddest part is that it’s happening everywhere; and it’s getting worst. When some politicians, as an example, ask and get more than half million dollars for a speech, but claim to work hard to make a better world for ordinary people. I’m not convinced that there will be a hope.

  6. I played the song as I scrolled through the photos and was aware that while you put me in a sombre mood, perhaps it was ‘trick’ photography? Is it really abandoned and neglected? I couldn’t help but notice all the new rubbish bins!

  7. Oh my goodness this is so sad. I loved the post and the song, the photos are wonderful. I went back to the area that I was born in a few years ago and it had all been knocked down and awful new houses put in its place. All character seems to disappear when they ‘gentrify’ an area.

  8. biglenslittlelens says:

    I used to walk through here every second day for a couple of years when I was working in the city . Not long after they announced that the area would be sold off the removalist vans moved in to move people out and properties were boarded up. One of the tradies I spoke with around that time informed that when things broke down in the houses eg ceiling leaks. They would seal off the whole room rather than repair, which would then lead to people being evicted as the place was unsafe. If this did occur, its pretty unethical of the authority that maintained those houses. All in the name of greed and property development.

    • I didn’t realise the authority was doing that, but I’m not surprised they would take it to that far. Money talks.

      Thanks for the visit and taking the time to comment.

  9. queste immagini così scarne ed insieme molto piene, questo camminare cadenzato con musica e Poesia ci fanno conoscere meglio e rappresentare la città scarna nelle sue periferie e colma nel suo centro, ma si uniforma del vissuto di tutta la gente
    adoro questo genere di immaginare e di essere vita.poesia

  10. Your photos are such a sombre and sad commentary of the future of one of these historic old areas. I played the video clip as I looked through the gallery of photos. It is a hauntingly beautiful piece of music but heart breakingly sad. I shudder to think what sort of buildings will rear up in this area in the name of progress.

  11. A wonderful set of pictures. Architecture is good in b&w, and here it sets the mood of the de-composition very well. And the accompanying music is appropriate … perfect even !

    • Thank you so much. The house with the flags just seemed such a powerful message. When I looked closer, many of the homes are now empty.
      Glad you enjoyed the music, too. I thought it was a great match. 🙂

  12. Loved this, despite the sadness of the images. I particularly liked the stairwell with the brick archway. I would have been tempted to move the trash bins though.

  13. How frustrating when houses with so much history are destroyed in the name of ‘progress’ and a whole community decimated. It has happened in the cities of Ireland too. A large part of the inner city community of Dublin was pushed out into the ‘wilderness’ of an area without any amenities and hardly any public transport services. Instead of refurbishing old buildings a policy of tear down and move people out was followed. Common sense does prevail at times nowadays and more streets and buildings are being preserved, but a lot was also lost over the decades of ‘progress’ sadly. Thank you for sharing that beautiful video and your very thought provoking images.

    • Thank you very much. It seems the issues of cities are the same world-wide. Progress has a dark side with regards to heritage and human communities. There needs to be a balance.

  14. Okay–for real: Went to a dance program at the university Saturday night. One of the solo performances was done by a woman interpreting this song. If I’ve heard the song before, it obviously didn’t stick in my head, but boom! Here it is again. I will say that I far and away prefer your interpretation of the work (like having it playing as I went through the shots.) Particularly liked the “face” and the very last shot.

  15. There are some real photographic gems here as the one with a staircase between trash bins. The song is beautifully melancholic. Thank you, Draco.

  16. To Build A Home is a lovely song, I think you may have mentioned that to me once before – unless I’m confusing it with another conversation I had? I can see why you paired it with these pictures – kind of sadness all over. I always feel sympathy for empty homes, especially really old ones. Sounds a bit silly really, as bricks and wood don’t have feelings (I hope!) But I think it’s more to with time, and how quickly it goes, and all that gets lost in the process. Even when I was a child I was a bit of melancholy freak! 😉

    It looks a lot like a few housing estates in the city where I live, and they’re not empty – yet! Norwich is an attractive place, but like all cities it has it’s grimy corners. I like the no parking with the bins!! Those bins, it seems everyone in the world has bins like that now. They must all come from one factory, or at least the same mould! 😀

    You’ve done well to capture a place that may well be gone very shortly. That’s the kind of pictures my brother likes to take. He can’t resist capturing what might be lost one day.

    • Yes, I did mention this song to you on your blog a while ago. In reality, a home is more than bricks and mortar, and to see a home “die” is a sad thing. Sometimes I see the old house where I grew up. It’s run down but still occupied. I can remember what the inside looked like. I’d be a bit sadder if/when it is knocked down. Sentiment.

      The bins against the wall really appealed to me, too. Commonplace I know, but well placed.

      I think a lot of people photograph to remember. That’s why such places are good to photograph.

  17. After all these years and such a long historical fight for the area I thought it would have been landmarked/preserved years ago but then such is pride in progress . . .

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