Wednesday, September 23, 2009

To the Memoire born

There is a front of a house on Marshall Road Manly that, represents and defines the historical grandeur of building design in the area. Considered the first truly Australian style of architecture, the front of the house is Federation in style – its design influenced by free-spirited international styles like the Queen Anne, sliced with the sober touches of Art Nouveau. Once a grand manor for the wealthy, it illustrates the hopes and dreams of a fledgling nation.

Once you round the corner, however, your breath is taken away for an all together different reason, for there is no more of the house to look at. It’s a shock to the system – it’s not what you expect. Because, in fact, the entire building has been stripped and ripped away to be an empty expanse of space and rubble, only worthy of graffiti artists’ grand works.

It are these spaces that tempt Melbourne photographer Sonia Mangiapane and her personal series ‘Memoire’ which documents long forgotten, run-down and vacant spaces around Australia. There is something soulful and poignant about these shots that stop you and make you wonder what lives have fallen and stumbled along with these buildings, as they are left to ruin. What hardships became of the families that once lived in these formally beautiful spaces. Mangiapane’s photos are the type that capture a moment, and emote a lifetime in a single frame.

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