Places that talk

Book reviewers sometimes talk about how a particular tome successfully captured “a sense of place” by evoking the sights, sounds and smells of a location. For me, “a sense of place” has another meaning.

Sometimes I’ll visit a new destination (or spend new time at an old one) and my story radar will be triggered, big time. Tasmania’s Port Arthur is one place where I can just about feel the past mingling with the present. The Kangaroo Island setting for my next book, is another such place. The moment I walked in the door of our holiday cottage, I had a sense that a story was brewing.

A friend recently referred me to a website, Opacity that really captures a sense of place in an eery fashion. I confess I’m a sucker for photographing decrepit buildings, grimy statuary and gnarled tree trunks… but not if it means breaking and entering or risking life and limb. As a kid, curiosity saw me explore numerous dangerous sites- old mines, empty buildings and even the stormwater tunnels under a Melbourne suburb. As an adult, I’m less intrepid… or maybe more conscious of risk and less willing to push my luck.

I took the Fallen Angels shot below (click for full size) somewhere in New York. I like it because the cherubs’ stained faces are sulky and sinister – like they’ve changed teams. It makes me wonder what they did to fall from grace. Imagine having them over your doorway. What vibe would they bring to your building? What would they get up to when you’re not looking?

Fallen Angels
Fallen Angels

4 thoughts on “Places that talk”

  1. Opacity is a great sight for visuals and just trawling around. Thanks for the link. I particularly like this one – the image and the idea of vines holding up a building. And you’re right- there are story ideas here and I just found one!

  2. What an incredible site! Thank you for sharing Tim 🙂
    I have forwarded it on to our Year 7 team as they are looking for story start inspirations.

    Thanks again 🙂

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