Greetings fellow travellers! Welcome to the home of Lee Braden.
Here’s a little note about this site: it’s a work in progress, perpetually under development as I add images and develop text related to the images, and vice-versa. Every page and every post and and every category is constantly under revision. A bit like me.
And here’s a little about me and my aspirations for this website and blog: in a way this is my attempt to find and define the site’s direction and is, perhaps, more for my own benefit and guidance than for the possible interest of any of those who may stumble across it.
Although I have spent most of my working life in engineering, my passion has always been for the arts in all its forms. I love the visual arts and performance art, and have an abiding passion for the literary arts. For many years I have been a member of the National Gallery of Victoria and a subscriber to both the Australian Ballet and the Bell Shakespeare Company.
My childhood was spent in the idyllic surrounds of the Kiewa Valley in the foothills of the Australian Alps. I was educated in Melbourne, and in my early twenties, with no fixed plans or expectations, I did as many young Aussies did and still do today – I travelled to London to find my freedom and to discover the world. It was almost a decade before I was to find my way home.
My time in London was spent working on short contracts, saving a little, and then travelling throughout Europe and Scandinavia to wherever my whim, or the next lift, would take me. Several glorious years passed as I enjoyed the magnificent collections of galleries from London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Munich, all the way to Oslo and in between. When dosh ran short I would return to London and, just like Finnegan, begin again.
In 1974 I set off on an epic ‘Magic Bus’ journey, which was to take me overland from Victoria Station in London, through Europe, the Balkans, the Middle East, and Asia, to Khatmandu in Nepal. We had not been long on the road before a major military crisis in Cyprus caused the first of many upheavals to our plans. A series of dodgy buses and fellow travellers added to the general confusion. This was a time when travel on the infamous ‘hippy trail’ was at its height and along the way much was lost in the general haze of aromatic smoke and chanted mantras.
By the 1980s I had returned to Melbourne.
In the year 2000, I made a return visit to the Balkans. Belgrade was displaying the raw scars of recent NATO attacks, the latest in a long history of assaults and war which have ravaged this historically strategic and beautiful, if somewhat battered and melancholy, city. I stayed for only a few weeks but returned in 2002 to take up a teaching post at the International High School of Belgrade, in a building which overlooks the River Danube. This time I brought my youngest son. We lived in, and explored, Belgrade for the next six months, taking excursions into the Serbian countryside and travelling as far north as Hungary, and south-west to Monte Negro on the Adriatic coast. It was an extraordinary adventure for both of us.
In 2012 I realised a life long ambition when I graduated from Monash University in Melbourne with the degree of Bachelor of Arts, having majored in both English and in Australian Indigenous Studies.
In 2009, as part of this process, I had the good fortune to spend several weeks studying the Renaissance in Florence, literally and academically. I was one of a group of students under the guidance of the erudite and engaging academic and noted historian, Professor Peter Howard. This was surely one of the most interesting and enjoyable times of my life. Our daily framing lectures and seminars were held in the Monash University Prato Centre, located in the Palazzo Vaj, an 18th-century palace in the historical city centre of Prato. Informed by the lectures, along with primary and secondary source material, we set out on daily field trips designed to engage us in the close study of particular aspects of Florence’s history.
It’s my intention to use this web site in an attempt to gather together and organise some of the images and ideas which resulted from these and further eclectic studies, and from many of the journeys which preceded them.
It is also my aim to eventually include some aspects of Australian government and politics; of Australian Indigenous archaeology including not only the questions which it poses but also those posed by its practice and approach; and of questions of social justice and Indigenous Australians.
Unless otherwise noted, all the photos are my own. The black & white photos were taken with my trusty old Pentax Spotmatic II with a 1.4 lens, and then processed, by me, in any available wardrobe, bathroom, or stairwell (hence the blotches). All the others are taken with my rudimentary Kodak EasyShare DX7590 digital camera. Some are not particularly well framed or focused, but I have included them as part of a sort of visual narrative. Some are, I think, good pictures. I hope you enjoy them, or find something interesting in them, or both.