Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Street Manhole Covers - an obsession with detail


The older inner city suburbs of Sydney have excellent examples of early business cards. These manhole covers were found within 1km of my apartment, the drainer from Glebe Point left his calling card in Paddington!


Truth is, being a photographer forces one to look at EVERYTHING!

39 comments:

Misalyn said...

Details are so vivid. You are a great photographer and you captured the manwhole details so well. reat shot Julie.

It certainly look so old and I think the streets are rough.

A great start of the week to you.

Olivier said...

elles sont belles, on en trouve pas beaucoup en France avec des textes, c'est bien dommage

brattcat said...

Sometimes these manhole covers are little works of art. They age beautifully, develop a wonderful patina, and you've captured that well in this series.

Tulsa Gentleman said...

I have noticed manhole covers in the older parts of Tulsa (and elsewhere) with interesting names and sometimes dates but never thought to go back and photograph them. They are the sorts of things that are passed by without a look. I can see becoming an avid collector of old covers (photos, not the real thing). Again, you open my eyes.

Carly said...

Fun and interesting subject to photography I wonder how old these are?

Unseen Rajasthan said...

Beautiful,lovely and fantastic shots !! Simply Great and amazing !! Thanks for sharing the details

Nancy C said...

There is a story behind everything. History peeking out from the shadows.

Mary Ann said...

It's probably linked to that deep human tendency to leave our mark wherever we go.

jabblog said...

That is so interesting and a brilliant way for artisans to bring their skills to public notice.

Birdman said...

Now, here's a subject for photos that I might never have thought about. Interesting topic today.

Mirela said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mirela said...

Very cool! I got used to looking at manhole covers while living in Seattle - they have a wide range of Native American art, old astrological phenomena and what not on them... Funny enough, I don't have a clue what one looks like in Zagreb.... hmmm....

Vicki said...

Love these, Julie. You certainly do have an eye for detail. The dead eucalypt leaf in the top photo adds that je ne sais quoi touch.

Gordon said...

Very interesting; a nice bit of history.

Julie said...

Vicki, A friend asked me about the eucalypt leaf. I did not put it there on purpose. It was there. I just did not take it away. There have been times in the myriad photos I now have of MHC where I have had to brush detritus away to increase readability.

Mirela, I am not sure I would be interested in MHC which had become "trendy", if you know what I mean. I see them as part of the history of the growth of a city, and they represent a general sense of ancestry. These ones in particular.

Folks, this is not a unique-to-me concept for photography. There are many sites world wide that cover the topic in individual cities. The world is full of obsessed photographers!

Pat and Bruce Caspersonn said...

Good on yah Julie, great stuff. We have already established that you have one eye skyward and now one eye on the ground! Just have many eyes do you have?

Julie said...

My children contend that I have one in the back of my head!

Ann said...

I love these bits of history that you can still stumble across from time to time.

Tash said...

Fascinating, aren't they. I'm just so interested in the words on them. Here is a specimen from the PV adjacent Torrance - http://mostlylacounty.blogspot.com/2010/01/unusual-monument-torrance-ca.html.
'Paddington' - always loved that word, even before I knew about the Bear.

ρομπερτ said...

Haven't seen anything likewise before. How very interesting indeed.

Please have a nice Tuesday.

Frisky Librarian said...

You're so right about how being a photographer forces you to really look at things around you. Not only do you get the pleasure of taking some nice photos, you get to know your city even better.

J Bar said...

These are really interesting Julie. I notice these bits of history out there too. Just last week I noticed the manhole covers on a large telcommunications pit. There were three different logos on the six covers used, which have been the various guises of the main telco over the years: 'PMG', 'Telecom Australia' and 'Telstra'. I need to go back and photograph that.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Julie said...

I have two of those, but have not seen any Telecom Australia as yet. They are quite fascinating, although possibly geeky. I have quite a collection. When you photograph them, you will get people throwing you wierdo looks!

J Bar said...

Julie, it happens all the time. You get used to those weirdo looks. ;)
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Julian Davis said...

Really a great interesting story behind this photograph. Great job Julie!!
Sydney Harbour Things To Do

Sharon said...

Hi Julie,
A great informative post(again!)I love your subject matter....stuff most people would pass by.
I agree with Vicki, and the leaf is a good indicator of the size of these covers too.

Joan Elizabeth said...

I had no idea manhole covers were used in this way ... the only ones I have ever noticed are the PMG ones. Goodness me you are a real geek ... perhaps a little nutty like the train spotters :-)

diane said...

I remember taking school kids for walks armed with paper and crayons to do rubbings of manholes but i never bothered to wonder about the writing. They are like business cards. Great stuff.

nikki said...

very cool. tradesmen used to proudly mark their stuff but this is different. i had never seen it before, i wonder if it is an anglo-saxon particularity or something? very interesting, thanks for sharing.

Jo said...

Very interesting Julie. It's good to look at everything, for when you arrive in a city such as the one I live in, you actually have to SEARCH for photographic material.

KaHolly said...

Now, that's art! Nice collection! ~karen

Jilly said...

Oh wonderful! I can't tell you how many drain hole covers and tiny water main covers I've photographed. Not used one yet, but one day, one day. Fascinating.

Therese Cox said...

The perpetual un-coolness of sewer and manhole covers is what makes cultivating an interest in them all the more fun. Anyone who wants to further geek out can check out these two sites with collections from all around the world. Albania, Costa Rica, Denmark, Texas, Tunisia, you name it.

Manhole Covers Etc. ("I've been looking down so long, I don't know which way looks up"): http://users.rcn.com/fgardino/History.htm

Sewers of the World, Unite!
http://sewers.artinfo.ru/

Html is giving me no love, but you can just cut and paste those links into your browser. Thanks for these excellent photos, Julie.

VP said...

I have to do something like this! Thanks for the idea...

Julie said...

Therese Cox started my knowledge of, and interest in, street manhole covers. I am an avid follower of her blog "Ampersand Seven" which can be found on my side bar. She is a really good writer, witty, with a wide range of quirky interests. I cannot commend her highly enough.

Shelle said...

it's funny you post this...i have been taking photos every day as i wait for the bus and was looking for something i hadn't YET photographed, and saw a gas hole cover...took a photo of it.

Julie said...

I have a post on gas manholes coming up Thursday of next week. Have a week in Melbourne before that though.

AB said...

They obviously built these things to last!

colleen said...

My Asheville potter son bought up a bunch of old manholes to use as a walkway on his kiln property. He collects bricks too for the same reason and for the same reason I like old bottles. A documented story right up front to see.

I'm enjoying the photos and words here.