ALSO AVAILABLE AS A CD.
The lives and places of the people that populate Sydney singer-songwriter Perry Keyes’ third album, Johnny Ray’s Downtown inhabit a very real environment, reflected in the photos shot by Johnny Barker. This is a collection of songs and images that tell the story of people, often young men, dislocated, left clinging to the periphery of the inner city.
These are people marginalised by social and economic forces often beyond their control. It’s an environment of noon time and dusk; of stillness and sudden movement; of whispers and shouts. It can be viewed both as a companion to the 16 tracks that make up Johnny Ray’s Downtown or as a collection of images and words that capture the other side of those Opera House and Sydney Harbour postcards. Here are the streets of the inner city the way they sound and look to those who live on them, live off them, sleep on them and survive on them, every day …
Johnny Barker picked up a camera again in 2006 after a long hiatus and is yet to put it down.
While working in Surry Hills he was captivated by the ever-shifting canvas of Central Station – the commuters, the interstaters, the disenfranchised and the dispossessed.
He is continually drawn back there and to the suburbs directly south of Central – Redfern, Waterloo, Botany and beyond – because they are a part of Sydney that are so far removed from the picture postcard images of Bondi Beach and the harbour.
When Perry asked him to contribute some photos for The Last Ghost Train Home it was a natural fit and they’ve worked together closely ever since, culminating in Johnny Ray’s Downtown.
This year Johnny’s photo ‘Between Shadows’ won an Anti-Poverty Week competition. Other photos were used to highlight Sydney’s Homeless Persons Information Centre.