Typology of Stobie Poles

I’m doing a photography course at the Centre for Creative Photography in Adelaide, the second module I’ve studied there. This week, the subject was formalism, and the assignment for the week is to take some formalist photographs. I particularly liked some of the “typological” photographs which the lecturer presented. “Typology is the study of types, and a photographic typology is a suite of images or related forms, shot in a consistent, repetitive manner.”

I set out from my house to search for ideas and the first thing encountered out of my front gate is a large Stobie pole. “Stobies” are a particularly ugly South Australian invention. They are power line pole made of two steel joists held apart by a slab of concrete and were were ‘invented’ by Adelaide Electric Supply Company engineer James Cyril Stobie (1895–1953). In my view, they are a blight on the urban landscape. However, they make a surprisingly interesting subject for typology photographs.

Here is my first cut:

Collage 2016-08-20 16_54_28


4 thoughts on “Typology of Stobie Poles

  1. I love stobey poles, and feel offended on behalf of all of the other people who love these clever answers to a serious problem they had earlier in South Australia. When you don’t have enough trees, but have access to steel and concrete, the stobey pole was a great answer to the question of what to use to hold the electric wires up and connected.

  2. Worth looking at, and perhaps comparing with the variants interstate. Canberra, for instance, has wooden poles and also platforms for electrical equipment that look like bizarre tree-houses. Also, my late mother-in-law was an artist who started the trend of painting stobie poles (in Prospect) to relieve their blandness, adding pictures of geraniums and such. The council complained and then relented.

  3. Hi Mike, nice to see your writings pop up again – these poles looked like coffins when you first open it. Could that be an ominous sign for what happens if you hit one of them? Sounds like you are still doing the most interesting things.

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