After spotting a number of lilly pilly bushes around the neighbourhood during lockdown, I’ve been hoping to find one in a location where I can photograph the ripe, shiny fruit without entering somebody’s front yard or pointing my camera towards a house window like a creepy weirdo. Luckily on one on my many walks I found one with branches over hanging the footpath, so now I’m returning to it with my camera to capture it in the soft morning light.
To passers by I will look a bit strange taking photos of what seems to be a fairly normal bush, but at the moment people are more understanding and less judgemental of odd behaviour. If you want to dance on your own in the park with headphones one, people won’t watch. If you’re sunbaking beside the train tracks, people won’t even glance twice. If you’re having a wine on the front porch while your kids go crazy covering a tree trunk in turquoise paint, people won’t judge. I hope it’s something that will continue on after the virus is gone.
I am attracted to the lilly pilly fruit mainly because of the colour. I am eager to capture the unique blend of red, pink and purple alongside the deep greens of the leaves. I find them interesting because they are an edible fruit which taste quite nice but not eaten widely in Australia, even though they could be grown and cultivated much easier than, for example, apricots.
I arrive at the bush and for lighting purposes I stand in its shade where the air feels moist and I can smell the rich soil of the garden. I still feel awkward standing here with my camera even though nobody cares because technically photography is not an approved reason to leave the house. It’s the best option because I can’t sit here and paint it and I don’t like taking natural things home with me. I’d pick a few berries and eat them except I don’t know what the owners have been spraying on their plants.