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The fun thing about photowalking is getting to places you wouldn’t normally veture to for personal safety reasons. So I was rather chuffed when Jo’burg Photowalkers announced a meet-up at Anstey’s Building, a fine example of Art Deco architecture, in downtown Johannesburg. (That’s it in the shot above, which I took while from the car while looking for the designate3d parking spot). I haven’t been to this part of town for many years so it was interesting to see how things have changed since the time I worked just a block or two away from this spot. And they have changed a lot, unfortunately not necessarily for the better in many respects. However, I was there to take pics, not lament the sorry state of of a once-beautiful city going to seed.
The change hits you as soon as you hit street level. I took the shot above as we exited the parking garage. From here it’s a short walk to the entrance of Anstey’s Building, our meeting place for this walk. After entering the building you walk down a fairly dull corridor and suddenly arrive in the lift lobby to be greeted by some stunning Art Deco work. It’s like stepping back to the 20s or 30s. I’m not sure if this is restoration work, or still the original craftsmanship.
But possibly the most fascinating part this particular photowalk was going into the old Park Station section of Johannesburg’s main railway station. Normally closed off to the public, the Photowalk organisers had arranged for the building to be opened for us. And what a place. I can still remember walking through this part of the old station when it was still in use some time in the 80s. I had several meals in the cafetaria above, which now just echoes with silent calls to ghostly waitresses. The corridors and halls of this venerable old building offer up a wealth of visual interest and you could easily spend a whole day in here and still not exhaust all the possibilities!
In the next post I’ll put uip a few more pics from this photowalk, but more views of town from street level. Until then… 🙂
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