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Two local traders and friends capture life in lockdown with launch of book

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Brendan Rees

A new book capturing Melbourne’s life in lockdown is a “reminder that we should not forget what we were willing to endure for each other,” says its contributor Jaye Chin-Dusting of Mary Martin Bookshop.

The popular Southbank bookshop owner teamed up with her friend and Queen Victoria Market (QVM) Intone Photography stallholder Tony Pierrakos to create a book titled STILL Melbourne, a collection of images taken during Melbourne’s marathon lockdowns which saw the city’s once thriving streets turned into a ghost town.

Mr Pierrakos, a street photographer, took the photographs after embarking on many solitary walks through the city, which he collected and put aside.

That was until Ms Chin-Dusting flicked through the pages of his work and was deeply moved by what she saw.

Describing his images as “artworks of a remarkable time,” Ms Chin-Dusting urged Mr Pierrakos to “put this collection together” in a book form.

So, they did.

Ms Chin-Dusting contributed the words with the book’s designer Jo Lauritz of Juice Graphics being the “final piece of the puzzle” before it was sent off to the presses.

Sectioned into three distinct themes – cityscape, people and feel – the coffee table-style book captures the extraordinary time when despite it all, Melbourne remained the city they love.

“This was a real team effort, without Jaye, I’d say these photos would still be on my computer,” Mr Pierrakos said.

“These are photos that suit a book, not exactly something that you can frame and make a wall art.”

He said after 20 years at the market, he had trouble sleeping because of the gruelling lockdowns so “next thing you know, I’m out taking photos in the middle of the night … so that’s what I did for two years.”

Mr Pierrakos said he was “so proud” of the book, which was split into three sections: Melbourne, motion, and mood.

 

“It’s not a book about the lockdown, it’s a book of photos during the lockdown – that’s the difference,” he said.

 

“Some parts of it are empty streets and other parts are people wearing masks walking around the streets.”

With a foreword written by Lord Mayor Sally Capp, STILL Melbourne is a project of love, supported by fellow small businesses and QVM management.

“The reaction has been great, people have loved it,” Mr Pierrakos said.

Ms Chin Dusting said the book “reminds us of how resilient, stoic, patient we each were.”

“I believe every Melburnian will deeply relate to, and one many curious passers-by will savour, as it provides a glimpse of a Melbourne that while staying still, remained the city we still deeply loved.”

STILL Melbourne is available exclusively at Intone Photography (String Bean Alley) and the Mary Martin Bookshops. •

 

Caption: Mary Martin bookshop owner Jaye Chin-Dusting and Queen Victoria Market Intone Photography stallholder Tony Pierrakos with their new book, STILL Melbourne.

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