The old and the new … and the not quite what it seems

Bois & Charbons; run down out-building at Abbotsford Convent, Melbourne, Australia. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Out-building at Abbotsford Convent, Melbourne, Australia. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

The Bois & Charbons (wood & coal) sign-writing on this Melbourne building suggests advertising from another age.

The building is part of the Abbotsford Convent Arts Centre, though it is neglected and apparently unused. When I took the photo, I did wonder how a French coal merchant came to have premises within an Australian convent, but stranger things have undoubtedly happened.

Although I took the shot over a year ago, I’ve largely ignored it. The presence of air-conditioning units, steel barrels, and other signs of modernity detract from the assumed authenticity of a piece of Melbourne’s past. They interrupt a nostalgic, romanticized reading of the scene.

What changed my mind is knowing that the Bois & Charbons signage is fake. It was painted in 1987 when the building was used in as a location in the filming of a TV seriesΒ  about Nancy Wake, a WWII heroine of the French Resistance.

Over-laying the fantasy with another layer of imagining. Aged black & white treatment, shot of Bois and Charbons; film location and out-building at Abbotsford Convent Arts Centre, Melbourne. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Edited with Snapseed and Stackables.

Over-laying the fantasy with another layer of imagining. Bois and Charbons; film location and out-building at Abbotsford Convent Arts Centre, Melbourne. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Edited with Snapseed and Stackables.

As a medium, photography allows and encourages us to play with notions of reality and authenticity.

Something we all need to remember when we consider the old idiom “a picture paints a thousand words.”

Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge is hosted at Lens and Pens by Sally.

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26 thoughts on “The old and the new … and the not quite what it seems

  1. Pingback: Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Challenger’s Choice (Photomontage) | Lens and Pens by Sally

  2. And in these days of all the photography apps, it’s all too easy to have fake photos along with fake news. πŸ™‚ I like both shots and no matter the authenticity of the building/signage/etc., it looks great.

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

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