Hudson Street, New York.

This young woman remarked that she was from Melbourne, Australia. In the past three or four days I had inadvertently stopped about five Australians for street photographs . . . so the question is either A) why are so many Aussies in New York in December—the wrong time of year to travel here from there unless they’re specifically looking for snow, or B) is there something about their personal style that keeps sticking out like a beacon through the fog?

Quick tangent: I spent some time thinking about this Sunday night and concluded there is something remarkably bright about their spirit (at least, when they come to New York). A couple of years ago, an American friend of mine who’d spent the past 7 or 8 years living in New Zealand and then different parts of Australia came New York to visit for a couple of days. When we went to dinner, I remember asking her to tell me about something that is very different there, something she didn’t realise until she came back here. She immediately pointed out that television and television culture in Australia was nothing like it was here. She said something to the effect of, “In Australia, there are commercials and programmes and they tell you about stuff or they’re entertaining, but TV in America is so much more intense . . . I’m sitting in my hotel room flipping channels and it’s like, WOW.” And she put heavy emphasis on so much more. Of course, TV in Australia has nothing to do with this post, but it was her delivery that was intriguing; here we were in our early 30s talking about the telly, but her face had lit up the way that only kids’ faces do in holiday movies when they’re experiencing Christmas or meeting Santa Claus for the first time. It was so amazing to just sit there and watch her face, and I remember in that moment thinking, ‘That’s what’s Australia has done to her.’ It’s sort of the same spirit I noticed when I photographed Rynagh the very first time and began to make a note of people’s energy on the street. So this may sound weird, but it feels like perhaps this isn’t a coincidence, that perhaps I’m subconsciously able to pick that up, because I pass thousands of people on the street a day, so it can’t be chance over and over again. To that end, I can’t say that Australian’s are necessarily the friendliest people I’ve had the experience of knowing in my lifetime, but they certainly possess something that makes them as strangers seem very familiar.

Jacket by Muubaa