“The past is a foreign country,” wrote British novelist L.P. Hartley. If that’s true, consider Suburbia your passport. It’s a nostalgia-soaked coffee table book shot by Melbourne photographer Warren Kirk (aka the Westographer), and is the latest chapter in his 30-year quest to document the disappearing habitats of human life. Kirk has a keen eye for the banal, working-class suburbs that most people don’t take the trouble to notice (until someone builds a Scandinavian café in them).
There’s nothing glamorous about these images, but that’s kind of the point; they’re gloriously normal. In a rapidly modernising world, it’s reassuring to know there are still people out there collecting garden gnomes unironically. Or tending flowerpots in tiny, forgotten backyards. Or selling doughnuts with jam. Kirk's book is a time capsule of Ordinary. And you can visit Ordinary any time.
Suburbia is out now through Scribe. This tidbit first appeared in Smith Journal volume 28.