Early last year, I came across Kim Walvisch’s suburban photography while at Granger Café in Caulfield. I recall asking the cafes owner, Nick Gardiner, who took such beautiful images. In particular, I was taken by the shot of the prickly pear tree, which reminded me so much of my childhood. It was then that I learnt of the local photographer. I followed her journey via Instagram, but it wasn’t until this year when I heard Kim on ABC Radio Melbourne talking about her newly published book, that I realised exactly what prompted the suburban photographs.
Following Kim’s journey, was as insightful as unearthing Melbourne’s café culture. Seemingly, Kim began taking photos while walking her newborn daughter. Being new to motherhood, trying to find the right conditions for her baby to fall asleep was a challenge, but she quickly learnt that walking her in a pram outdoors helped tremendously. To make the journey a little more fulfilling, Kim began taking photos of suburban sights that reminded her of her childhood. It was nostalgic, and reminded her of the beauty hidden within suburbia.
Much like many of us who grew up in the suburbs, Kim noticed the beauty and uniqueness in suburbia being lost as suburbs became concrete jungles and gentrified. Once large blocks of land with a single standing home have now been cleared to make way for townhouses. The burbs are slowing losing their character, to make way for the increasing population.
If nothing else, Kim is documenting history, and capturing the last of those hidden gems, and icons of the yesteryear, which are slowing being replaced by modernity. It’s a quality I cherish, having been born and bred in Oakleigh. Today I met Kim at Granger café, to gift her newly published book to the owner of Granger. I thought it was a fitting gift to bestow upon the man who first introduced me to Kim’s work.