For the longest time, I used to be self-conscious about putting on lipstick in front of a mirror when in a public restroom. I used to wonder how other women could just slap it on, carefree and easy, in the presence of others. I’d put on my lippie while still in the cubicle, even when I didn’t always have a [hand] mirror – I guess it explains how I’m now quite good at staying ‘within the lines’ sans the aid of a reflective surface.
Taking photos is another such thing; photography in public makes me self-conscious, the way lipstick used to do. I’ve walked away many a time from something I’ve wanted to capture because someone else was there. (And then gone back later, hoping for a private minute or two. Sometimes succeeding, sometimes not.)
Like yesterday, when I found myself at Bond One, 20 Windmill Street in Sydney. I was drawn to the art on the wall outside as I tend to be of lots of indigenous art, and especially the black-and-white ones. As I took the shot, a man emerged through the glass door on the side – the after hours entrance – I hadn’t noticed him earlier. Ah, here it was again, the cloud of embarrassment descended, and I almost felt like apologising for being caught photographing a wall. He glanced at me. I began to walk away, pretending to look at something on my phone.
Which is the reason why I don’t know the title of the piece – didn’t check the wall for a plaque or information on the piece. But I do know it’s by Dorothy Napangardi because someone on Instagram told me so.