MaximusFebruary 28, 2009
Following on from the previous post, where the power of the mighty telephoto reduced tall buildings to flatness in a single bound, we here at the Fish thought that it might be time to try that trick on other streets.
Flattening out perspective, as shown here in the classic (but I’ve always thought, slightly dodgy) example of Albrecht Durer from 1525 “Draughtsman drawing a recumbent woman” can have interesting effects, sometimes bringing things to attention in an unexpected manner. Methinks Durer copped an eyeful there, and stuck to drawing hares after that (with some considerable success).
Fore-shortening can work wonders for some things, mostly in a good way, although no doubt someone (M-D? greenwelly? Flattie?) will point out some hideous examples. Hogarth, one of the Fish’s favourite artists, had great fun playing around with the side effects of this in 1754, with a footnote in his Satire on False Perspective, to remind ourselves of the importance of this knowledge:
The footnote says: Whoever makes a DESIGN without the Knowledge of PERSPECTIVE will be liable to such Absurdities as are shewn in this Frontispiece.
But in the mean time, and just because we can, here are two photos of a couple of our important streets, with a bit of maximum zoom action happening. So, first up is Taranaki Street.
The standard picture doesn’t really show us much of the life of the street. It shows us the side view of Bellagio, and that they’ve got great views (until someone builds in front of them), along with some fairly dull side elevations to the black Panasonic building and the 80s square block where Saatchi live. It also shows the massive great width that Taranaki St possesses, with hectares and hectares of dull grey asphalt. What about if we zoom in closer?
And there we see it: the truth is, Taranaki St is a terrible place for pedestrians. Great for cars.
But really: on one of our main arterial streets (for cars and for people), we need to do better. Mayor Kerry mentioned a year or two ago that Taranaki St would become a tree’d boulevard. I can’t wait. We need to treat pedestrians better in this town – and that means more than just repaving Lambton Quay.
So: what about the next street over?
Tory Street: named after the ship that bought settlers to NZ of course, not after the right wing UK parliamentary party (explanation only inserted for our overseas readers, as all the locals will know that), and you’ll notice that the Fish will stand in busy streets to get the right photos. The things we do for you…. Risking life and fin.
What do we see? Lots of cars, coming from every direction, and the old Police Barracks (go Foster Architects!). A pretty motley collection of buildings although a lot nicer than Taranaki St, some nice greenery on the side of Mount Cook, but: no sign of the National War Memorial (by the way: whatever happened to the Memorial Park idea? That seems to have vanished without trace!). But there’s a bit of a quandry here. Should we abandon the ‘Naki to the automobiles? Should we restrict Tory to pedestrian only? Or at least pedestrian priority? For a street that is so much more pedestrian friendly, it still seems to cater mainly for cars.
Of course, other streets cater even more so for cars. One last look then, at another well-known local thoroughfare:
Yes, it’s Vivian St, and the heat haze is rising. This street has a great history, many tales to tell if tarmac could talk, as the Fish takes a foto from near where Carmen’s old cafe did stand. While the businesses there are being slowly strangled by the car, the shape of the street is a classic, and great when viewed from either end, as the topography takes over from the surveyors marks.