Retake Melbourne

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  1. Project Title: Retake Melbourne


Thanks to our generous and enthusiastic supporters, this project has achieved the baseline target. We are striving in the remaining hours to get top-up sponsorship to add quality of detail to the image research – determining the exact time, date, locus and orientation of each Strizic picture for inclusion in the on...

We Melburnians jealously defend our city as the ‘most live-able’; a cultured grande dame with a creative dash, anti-establishment street art, a larrikin love of football and lots of delicious secrets.
To participate in this project will be to illuminate and contrast her hidden past with her contemporary face.
Key to this is the mine of visual data in the State Library of Victoria’s collection, in particular immigrant Australian photographer Mark Strizic’s 5000 half-century-old negatives, colour transparencies and slides, acquired in 2007.

When associate Greg Neville saw this archive, he envisaged a repeat photography project based on Strizic’s images which would uncover the glorious Melbourne buildings of his childhood memories.
We’d like to share this chance to retake Melbourne’s past. But re-photography is technically demanding. I realised that a mobile app would make the process accessible to everyone.

Image: © Mark Strizic: Melbourne GPO, 1950s

Mobile App mockup: © Strizic image overlay enables user to compose their own version accurately

A finished 're-photograph' accurately duplicating Strizic photograph angle of view
By tapping the ‘crowd’ we can include you in this project. Your images might become valuable records, as Strizic’s are now, to researchers in the still further future! They will compare your view with Mark’s to see how the city has changed. You can be in on the birth of Melbourne’s first comparative photographic research project.

But first we need the tech to do it; a photography app that contributors will be first to use!

Close associate of architects Robyn Boyd and David Saunders, Strizic’s love of architecture and his European eye provoked his condemnation of the ugliness he saw invading Australian city-scapes during the 1960s when architecture of the Gold Rush era coexisted with, and was being demolished for, Modernist curtain-glass high-rise office buildings.

LHS Image: © Mark Strizic: Russell Street Melbourne, 1950s
RHS image: Greg Neville: Russell Street Melbourne, 2013

Image: © Mark Strizic: Melbourne Museum and State Library, 1950s
By contributing to the development of our crowd-funded app, you will create the means to contribute accurate repeat photography of the locations of Strizic's thirty-to-fifty year-old images of architecture, street-scenes and pedestrians, and to uncover the layers of history.

Historical and Creative results
Re-photography is studied and recognised for its value for historical, scientific, geographic, geologic and social science research; this use of crowd sourced material will be innovative.
Rather than being slavish copies of old photos, yours will be interpretations of Strizic’s originals which will build a picture of how a city has changed, and is in turn transforming us. There is a creative dimension in the ratio of interpretation to replication each contributor will employ in this process, that will add to value of their artefact. Their resultant contribution may be incorporated in the SLV online collection for comparison, by these and future researchers, with Strizic’s original.

The Mobile App:
With this app, members of the public can find locations photographed by Strizic on a map, orient their device’s camera closely to the angle, orientation and framing that he used using a transparent overlay of his image, downloaded from the SLV online collection, over their screen image.
This app will simplify the repeat photography exercise and enable you to produce a comparative image which will match or contrast existing conditions and features with those in his original image.

Contribute to our shared archive:
The State Library of Victoria's huge archive opens up a rich resource for Victorians online; now that everyone can access it; they can also interact with it. This crowd-sourced project will give the archive more exposure and contribute new resources.

Provide a resource for future research:
The Strizic archive forms a reference for participants who will be asked to repeat the making of the images in the same location. In doing so they will record a contemporary street scene peopled with pedestrians who may regard, occupy and use the city of Melbourne in very different ways now.

Increase your own knowledge of Melbourne and Photography:
Part of the durable, interactive and updatable project outcomes is that participants will make a substantial contribution, they in turn will benefit from the exercise of finding the locations in coming to understand at first hand the operation of the forces of change on the city, the influences of crowd behaviour on the city, and its power to change us and our societal interactions. You too can become a 're-photographer'!

  1. What will your contribution do?
Level of funding sought: $6,000 - $10,000

A huge volume of photographic contributions will be required to enable worthwhile comparison of the old and new images to show how Melbourne's buildings and streets have shaped, and are shaped by, its populace and its society. Achieving the necessary quantity and accuracy will require $6,000 base funding for the development and distribution of a mobile-device app.

$6000 will pay for six months of the developer’s time in building the app.
Researcher Dr James McArdle, will contribute $12,000 in-kind support; for research into the State Library collection and mapping of locations of Strizic images for GPS locator in the app.

*Reaching $10,000:
will enable us to map significantly more locations and to pinpoint the date/time of capture for more Strizic photographs as a guide to the re-photographers.

Twitter: JamesmMcArdle
Camera/Eye Blog

on 22nd Jun 2013 at 2:00am. The payment portal is closed now.
A$10 +A copy of the Retake app (worth $15). Be amongst the first to use this innovative mobile device camera app. It will access Mark Strizic images from the State Library of Victoria for accurate re-photography. Using it to stand in the shoes of this visionary photographer will be a learning experience in architectural and street photography. The app can also be used for your own re-photography projects.
18 Chosen | 82 AvailableEst. delivery is September 2013
A$50 +A copy of the Retake app (worth $15) and your name included in the credits for the app. Not only will you be amongst the first to use this innovative mobile device camera app, but your name will be associated with it for ever. By enabling access to Mark Strizic images from the State Library of Victoria for accurate re-photography, you will be seen as a contributor to innovation in the field of image research. You will be the provider of a resource for researchers in demographics, social science, architecture, town planning and culture. The app can also be used for your own re-photography projects.
14 Chosen | 11 AvailableEst. delivery is September 2013
A$100 +A copy of the Retake app (worth $15), your name in the credits and you are invited to advise the curatorial committee responsible for selecting the 50 Mark Strizic images to be incorporated in the app for re-photography. Your input, through your own knowledge and experience of the city, will help shape the app and its impact on the emerging field of image research.
5 Chosen | 45 AvailableEst. delivery is September 2013
A$300 +All GoneFor our first supporter to pledge $300, an unmounted print by Greg Neville: Caringal Flats, Tahara Grove, Toorak. Architect JW Rivett, 1948-51. Sporting a jaunty 'Dutch Tilt' it evokes the special 'seaworthy' manifestation of Streamline style favoured in Melbourne. Value of this 80x80cm Lambda digital C print is $350. Find out more about colleague Greg Neville's devotion to Modernist style at Supporters also receive a copy of the app and name on the credits.
1 Chosen | 0 AvailableEst. delivery is July 2013
A$500 +A limited-edition mounted 970mm W x 460mm H chromira print by James McArdle from his dynamic take on commuter travel on Melbourne’s Met trains. Valued at $1800.00 James McArdle ( is an award winning photographer whose works are held in private and public, national and international collections. Read an account of this series and the commuter condition at Also receive a copy of the Retake app, and your name in the credits.
1 Chosen | 2 AvailableEst. delivery is July 2013
A$1000 +James McArdle (2013) 'Featherlight'. Limited edition (of 5) archival chromogenic print 600mm W x 400mm H mounted on aluminium and wooden battens. From the series 'Evanescent'. See for a discussion of this work and its making. Also receive a copy of the Retake app, and your name in the credits. Join the selection team to choose the 50 Strizic images that will appear in the app.
0 Chosen | 1 AvailableEst. delivery is June 2013