28.07.2013 Canberra: the beige capital?

A local magazine recently approached me with an assignment. The brief was for a photo that captures what Canberra means to me on a personal level. Initially I was unsure about how to quintessentially depict my relationship with the city. After a few failed attempts to take an image that fit the brief, I went back to the drawing board. I decided to challenge popular thought about the nation's capital.

Like many Canberrans, I often find myself defending the reasons why I choose to live here. The mention of Canberra elicits responses that range from awkward pity to outright ridicule. I do understand these responses. I'll be the first to admit that there are fairer cities to inhabit than this one. But if you can look beyond the unfortunate architecture and the lack of open restaurants on Sunday, Canberra surprises with its unexpected gems.

My photo features a landmark that often divides opinions. There are some people who cherish Lake Burley Griffin and its surrounding parklands. There are others who deride the lake for the murkiness of its water. For this project I wanted to confront the notion that the lake is an unpleasant feature of the Canberra cityscape.

In my photo you see Lake Burley Griffin with the Commonwealth Bridge reaching across it. The last light of the day is quickly fading and Canberra is shimmering in the background. The photo says something that I've often thought about this place: Canberra's appeal isn't immediately apparent. It's a city that looks rather plain on the surface. The beauty is there, though. You just need to know where to look.