Cross Dogs has been born of a commission to shoot some reportage of Sydney’s once infamous red light district, Kings Cross. I have a particular love of the area as its where my family lived for 15 years and I had my first tentative beginnings. Strangely my reconnection to this area has begun as the Cross seems to have lost its ‘mojo’ and is in desperate need of invigoration.
When I grew up in the area, it was the bohemian capital of Australia, with famous artists and eccentrics sharing the footpath with villains and police, the drug addled and the elite of Sydney society. It was an area that due to its proximity to the naval base HMAS Kuttabul and the hoards of defence force members who would visit Sydney during the Vietnam War became synonymous with drugs and prostitution. And one of Australia’s favorite traditions the ‘Drag’ show had its spiritual base at the wonderfully lewd and glitter strewn ‘Les Girls’.
The sorry state of Kings Cross reminds me of a line by John Donne “Love built on beauty, soon as beauty, dies.” It seems to me that all the interesting, intriguing and unique atmosphere has been defaced by the iconoclastic tendencies of the various stakeholders in the area and it has lost its lustre to the new masters who have only understood the Cross on a very superficial level.
Alas as I have started shooting this body of work it appears that all that is left of the golden era of Kings Cross are those oh so loyal creatures, dogs. I hope that as I work through the process of shooting this story that the powers that be will pay attention and perhaps further commission not only myself but other artists to ‘occupy’ some of the empty spaces and once again create a district where anything that goes can be fuelled by creative spirits once more.