We gathered on the slopes of Federation Square as darkness settled across the city. Though the bulky shapes of tripods and camera cases identified the group easily, it seemed that most of us had come alone. A young woman turned towards me and smiled warmly despite the spring chill in the air as she spotted my own equipment, “You’re just in time, we’re about to leave,” she said.
The young woman was Jessica Edgar, the brains behind Photography Night Walks. Every Thursday and Sunday evening, Jessica leads a group of people, cameras in hand, along selected routes of the city by foot.
“Exploring the city at night and taking photos is something which I have always loved. My inspiration for the walks was to take people to places they would never normally visit alone and discover through the lens with others,” she said.
Don’t come expecting a lesson in photography. The tour is more about gaining photographic inspiration from Melbourne’s nooks and crannies as a group; learning from each other by sharing tips about camera settings and techniques for the conditions. Amongst my group was an ‘expert’ in both Nikon and Canon cameras, regulars on these walks, who were more than happy to lend a hand to a hack like me to help get that perfect picture.
Our walk took us through the darlings of Melbourne’s laneways including Hosier Lane, Duckboard Place, Centre Place and ACDC Lane, offering fantastic photography opportunities of world-class street art.
After a couple of hours our walk finished with a casual drink at Loop Bar where everyone’s photographs from the night were uploaded and displayed on the big screen. Despite our fears of public critique, each set of photographs were met with words of encouragement and a round of applause.
“Screening the photos at Loop (Thursdays only), in front of a group, with no editing, can be quite scary but a great learning experience for people who come along,” Jess explains.
By the end of the night the group were no longer strangers – business cards, stories and photography dreams were swapped before we slipped back into the night.
In the warmer months, Photography Night Walks depart Thursdays at 7pm and Sunday evenings at 6pm, usually from Federation Square under the big screen. The walk lasts for 2 hours and costs $15 per person. The route changes each week, rotating between laneways, Chinatown, the Yarra River, Fitzroy, rooftops, The State Library and many more. Subscribe to the email list to be keep informed of the next photography night walk.