When CNN proclaimed Melbourne, the largest city in Australia’s smallest yet most densely populated state, to be “the world’s most livable city” in 2011, it praised the neon signs, graffiti art, and concrete towers. To the photographer in the know, however, Melbourne offers both urban and natural sights worth snapping. Here are some things worth keeping your eyes and camera shutter wide open for.
FLOORS, WALLS AND WALKWAYS
Street art photography is a genre in and of itself. AWOL names Fitzroy, specifically along Brunswick Street, as one of the “10 most Instagrammable spots in Melbourne” thanks to its stunning, “inner city” mural art. Besides the brilliant coats of paint on hundreds of meters of brick wall, the raw, unadorned cobblestone streets beneath them are highly photogenic as well. Venture down Hosier Lane or other narrow lanes near St. Paul’s Cathedral, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by richly textured surfaces made up of murals, overlapping layers of artsy posters, and spray-painted words. Wooden Floors in Melbourne are fantastic too. Don’t believe me?
Architecture might be old hat, but visiting photographers simply can’t miss St. Paul’s Cathedral — one of Melbourne’s
most notable sites —
with its sandstone exterior and impressive Gothic spires. Of course, thanks to the city’s high population density, any panorama of its many buildings would look suitably impressive. When you have seen enough of the urban core, head to the harbors for the bridges built in a multitude of shapes and styles. Then, take some more pictures of the city from the water’s edge. It is Australia, after all.
In addition to the piers, Melbourne is lined with trams that not only add a touch of nostalgia to the scenery but also help you get around on your tour of the city. The main railway station, Flinders Street Station, is more than a century old and remains one of the busiest in the world. We don’t advise that you walk onto the tracks, but the view from within the trains and on the platforms are fascinating if you have the skills to capture it.
Opinions are mixed about the aesthetic quality of Melbourne’s beaches, but there is no doubt the city is camera-worthy on every inch of land. Queen Victoria Market, for instance, is food photography central according to Weekend Notes. This open-air market is yet another street a photographer can spend hours walking down, thanks to its rainbow colors and local flavor. The National Gallery of Victoria also offers a full spectrum of hues in its stained glass window (or ceiling), the largest in the world. Once you feel you’ve seen all that Melbourne has to offer, wait until nightfall and see the city anew in lights.
Expedia points out that noted photographers enjoy Melbourne for the “concrete jungle of its edgy streets and lanes” and even the “harsh, full sunlight.” True photographers, however, should avoid taking their predecessors at their word. Explore Melbourne with your own footsteps and eyes: that’s the only way you can be sure your photos capture something as real as the city itself.