Tilt-shift wonders

Despite all its faults (primarily its poor planning over time, and the wholesale architectural destruction of the 1960s), Sydney, the city of my birth and upbringing, is a place of which I still feel immensely proud.

So when a teacher of mine from my days in the Junior School at St Aloysius’ College in Sydney discovered the little film below, it was hard not to be thrilled. Doubly thrilled in fact. Tilt-shift photography has appealed to me since it first became prominent. It seems to miniaturize its subjects, and turns real cityscapes into model towns. Even the ugliest city can have charm added to it this way. Moreover, it somehow seems to put us back into proper perspective, for we are not as big as we might think we are before the gaze of God.

So if you have 90 seconds to spare, watch this little aerial tilt-shift tour of Sydney (make sure you click the little box next to “Vimeo” at the bottom of the video, to get the full-screen experience). At 52 seconds you will see the large white cross that adorns the harbour-facing facade of St Aloysius’ College, a subtle reminder that not everything nor everyone has been secularized in that secular city.

Let’s hope other cities get this treatment.

Tiny Sydney from Filippo Rivetti on Vimeo.

3 thoughts on “Tilt-shift wonders

  1. I went to school at Wenona, just up the street a bit, in my pre-conversion days, of course. But I seem to remember seeing a lot of St. Aloysius boys at the North Sydney train station! This was more decades ago than I care to tell, but in those days we had to wear summer or winter hats and gloves outside of school. The Shore boys – they were the closest to us – had to wear boaters. I bet they don’t any more! Thanks for posting this short piece of nostalgia!
    Vicki McCaffrey


    1. Vicki – Wenona! My mother was Bursar there for many years under Miss Jackson. When Miss Jackson left she was heartbroken and did not stay much longer after that. Stressful as the job could be, she loved her time at Wenona. If Shore boys have been deprived of their boaters it is only fairly recently they did so. Aloysius boys wore boaters too until not too long before I got there to begin Junior School in 1977. One reason for their suppression was that they all too often ended up crushed under trains’ wheels. By my time, there were no hats at all except in cadets and cricket. Now the Junior School have Foreign Legion-style caps – we have rediscovered the wisdom of hats in the Australian sun.

      But I doubt the Wenona girls still wear their gloves, though they still have their wide-brimmed hats. My sister-in-law went to Monte Sant’Angelo. Aren’t we all very Lower North Shore! I may have some more nostalgia to share soon.



  2. Miss Jackson was the Headmistress during all the years I was there. I left in ’73 to move to Paris. It was a good school, and life was much more uncomplicated back then. I have fond memories of jumping rope at lunchtime and playing tennis against the wall for hours on end. But, oh, the mischief we got into on the trains! Boaters thrown under their wheels – yes – and suitcases, too, as I recall. Not to mention hanging out the doors! Everything we did is probably illegal now, but it was innocent enough fun back then.
    It’s interesting to reflect on the school system in Australia. There is nothing of the kind in the US, more’s the pity.
    I look forward to more nostalgia!


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