Jardin du Quai


I have a lot of love for Paris and for the few friends who live in the city. I took this photograph during a visit almost two years ago. I was spending the day alone, as all of my friends were either working or preoccupied with the various tasks the timeless city had provided them. Greene described the urban phenomenon better than I:

“They can print statistics and count the populations in hundreds of thousands, but to each man a city consists of  no more than a few streets, a few houses, a few people.”

With a worn and slightly out-of-date Métro map and my cheap yet reliable ‘point and shoot’ digital, I wondered around the bustling river banks of the Seine. In the shade of the elegantly planted trees endless stands of second hand books and their vendors overlooking the river, a small boat, laden with tourists, drifted quietly by. The day was warm and overcast, giving the avenues, river and cathedral an indistinct, cloudy atmosphere as the fog from the night before stubbornly clung to the river.

Wondering along the quais my sense of smell was overwhelmed with a thick variety of floral scents. Even in a city as beautiful as Paris, it is still rare to be confronted with such a powerful aroma of flora. Across the road stood the flower shop you see above. It was difficult to photograph as up close the full extent of the plants spilling out onto the streets couldn’t be fully appreciated, and so I had to contend with the ample traffic on the road separating the shop and myself. Eventually the crossing turned red, and my view was uninterrupted. Hope you enjoy.


The Streets of Asakusa


This shot was taken while making my way from the aged, crimson red temples of Sensō-ji. The pagodas reaching into a cloudless sapphire sky as an aggregation of incense swirled and permeated the crisp February air.

Surrounded by a mix of lives which so perfectly embody our age, I blended in with the western tourists as they perused the colourful and trivial market stalls selling all of the necessary oddities which the world identifies with Japan: rows of Daruma dolls stared blindly out at the intrigued and bustling crowds as traditional lanterns, play masks and chimes lightly danced in the breeze.

Pious Buddhists, fascinated tourists, market stall owners and school classes meandered their way through each other as the temples loomed above the store roofs as they had done for centuries before.

Having absorbed the unique atmosphere I made my way back to the tiny room I was renting at the time and, in a documentary fashion more than any, I photographed the street leading back there.

As is the case with many of my photographs, the image has been quite extensively re-colourised and refocused which strips the photograph’s original documentary intentions but results, in my opinion at least, in a more interesting and atmospheric image.

Hope you enjoy

Robby Cowell 2012

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To my great relief, I recently recovered a few hundred photographs from some of my travels around Australia and Japan which I had long assumed to be lost.

This particular image was taken in 2008 in the city of Melbourne, Australia.

It was the height of the Australian summer and my second day in the city. I was surrounded by unfamiliar territory, and thousands of miles from anyone or anywhere I knew.

I aimlessly wondered through the new, bustling city, however it had been days since I had properly conversed with another person, save for a few hostel workers and cab drivers, and I was feeling isolated, lost and in a way intimidated.

Fortunately there was enough glimmering architecture and cultural intrigues to keep me occupied for a day or two, like the tallest building in the southern hemisphere, the Eureka Tower, which was adorned with a number of giant golden bees crawling over the exterior, and a troupe of painters rendering faces of celebrities and optical illusions into the pavements.

It was from this point that I took the picture. As one can see, the image has been heavily edited, mostly contrast and colouration adjustments, which has caused the picture to look as though it were taken at dusk, when in fact, it was the middle of the day. I like the results however and would love to know what you think.

There will probably be more rediscovered photographs to come.

Robby Cowell 2012