Thursday, 18 April 2013

Sepia Saturday 173: Tauranga's waterfront a century ago


Sepia Saturday by Alan Burnett and Kat Mortensen

Sepia Saturday invites us this week to post those odd photographs in our collections which we've found difficult to identify, categorize or even understand. While not denying that I have several oddities in my own collection worthy of inclusion in my What were they thinking? category, I've chosen to use an image from the Tauranga Heritage Collection, where I've spent much of the last three weeks helping to photograph, research and document a large but jumbled collection of old cameras.

Image © and courtesy of the Tauranga Heritage Collection
Dogs at The Strand, Tauranga, Undated
Loose print by unidentified photographer
Image © and courtesy of the Tauranga Heritage Collection

The pile of logs seemingly jettisoned on The Strand, more or less in the middle of town, had probably been offloaded from a boat at the wharf, just off to the left the photograph. Devonport Road is to the right, disappearing behind the double storey building which houses Cart & Co's clothing and footwear store. The dogs are doing what dogs always do, but quite why the photographer saw fit to save this snapshot from the dustbin, I can't really understand.


View Larger Map

Google's Streetview (above) shows a landscape superficially different, although it's worth noting that general layout, at least in this view, is still much the same. None of the original stores are there. Telegraph poles have been replaced by nautically flavoured lamp posts (although I don't think many have swung from these yardarms in the recent past) and the roads and pavements have been sealed, concreted or bricked over. That particular palm tree is long gone, but there are many more in the vicinity, as panning to the left in the Streetview image above will reveal.

A short post from me this week, as I've been a little busy on other projects, but if you're hankering after more sepian oddballs, I'm sure the other participants will happily oblige.

39 comments:

  1. The Blessing & Gift of Photography.As I Get Older I often Travel Through Areas That Are Unrecognizable From My Youth.Photography-as-Proof that we were not dreaming,nor is our Memory False! But Lord Knows "why" those dogs! Some things are best not remembered!

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    1. Indeed Tony, and I've gone and dragged this one up from a long forgotten pile somewhere, but where would we at Sepia Saturday be without these images, some memorable for good reasons, some not.

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  2. Your old sepia picture is both charming and amusing. Wandering around in Street View the area has obviously changed but it is not unpleasant.

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    1. No, you're quite right. I like the area, although the fact that the railway goes right through the middle, separating the shopping area from the waterfront, does make it rather awkward.

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  3. Dumping logs in the street seemed quite reasonable at some point in time -- t'would be a disaster nowadays. Greatly enjoyed the street view -- 'tis how I travel.

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    1. Streetview has to be the best part of Google Maps, and having Google Earth on one's computer makes it even better.

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  4. Funny how a strange old photo comes in handy...as you say why preserve the dog behaviour which is so typical? Perhaps they were his/her favourite pets? I do like the old-new contrast. I do think the old building is so much nicer.

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    1. One has to presume the dogs belonged to the photographer.

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  5. The sepia photo is indeed odd, being without any particular subject. Maybe the photographer was saving it for instructional purposes..."how not to frame a photo" . Or maybe a reminder for himself to improve his focus and settle on one subject for the shot. Is Sawmiller somebody's name? Does the pile of logs relate to this? More and more oddness.

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    1. I think the logs must have related to the sawmill - Gammans still exists as a business in Tauranga, and Gamman's Mill Road is only a stone's throw from where I live.

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  6. You will find the conclusion of the Tauranga Sniff here

    http://goo.gl/LQDsZ

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    1. The master of the one-liner - good one, Nigel.

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  7. The sepia photo is a hoot -- yeah, what WAS the subject of the picture?? I like the nautical lampposts of the modern-day Strand.

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    1. I must admit that I hadn't noticed the nautical style until I started looking in more detail at the Streetview this week.

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  8. places change so fast now, it's necessary but sad as well

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    1. Yes, inevitable, and not always for the worse.

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  9. Interesting contrasts past to present. Now there are more likely cars bumper to bumper than dogs.

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    1. Very good Kathy - "bumper dogs."

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  10. What? That's the same place? Wow, has it changed. But no doggies in the new view.
    Nancy

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    1. I must admit to having searched on Streetview for a while, but I guess the Animal Control department at the City Council keeps a good watch on strays these days.

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  11. I always find that the subject-less photographs in our collection tend to be the most interesting from an historical perspective as, so often, the background becomes the foreground, the support becomes the star of the show.

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    1. Somehow, I wish the foreground in this particular image had had the good taste to fade into the background.

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  12. Amazing that you were able to find an almost identical modern view of the area. Fine work! Only the awning style of the store fronts remain the same.

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    1. Actually I was rather surprised to find them superficially similar, as the current vista is anything but historic-looking.

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  13. Maybe it was their business and they wanted a shot. They didn't notice the dogs until afterwards. Similar to the way I often don't notice the glasses on the table until they appear so big in the final shot.

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    1. You may well be right, Kristin. Many vernacular shots have just that character.

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  14. A fine photo and well worth saving, Brett. We can stare all day at antique photos of people and never really know them. But one glance and we know these were good dogs.

    "The more I know about people, the better I like my dog."
    -- Mark Twain

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    1. My saying of the day: "You can always rely on Mark Twain for a good quote about pretty much anything."

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  15. The saw mill explains those logs, but those [stray?] dogs are an odd addition. Maybe they were guarding those logs?...
    :D~
    HUGZ

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    1. Well they weren't doing a very good job, getting distracted like that, were they?

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    2. Hum....
      Dogs will be dogs?!?
      :D~
      HUGZ

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  16. LOL! Those dogs were doing what dogs do. Out of the whole post the thing that made me laugh out loud was your last statement, "if you're hankering after more sepian oddballs, I'm sure the other participants will happily oblige." Truer words never spoken!

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    1. Every week for as long as I've been following Sepia Saturday, participants never fail to come up with something intriguing.

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  17. Is that a third dog in the background? Maybe he just liked dogs. I would have saved it. I think it's a good photo.

    Sepians are inherently odd, are they not?

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    1. Yes, it is a third canine. Perhaps it was just a Dog Day Afternoon.

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  18. It's an interesting photo and I think the 'now' looks better than a lot of the 'now' views that we see in the UK.

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    1. Lisa, I think you're right that while it doesn't have much of the character of the old days, at least it's not completely crass and commercial.

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  19. Alas, there are times when I have no idea what I was thinking.

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