HE'S never owned a shed but Ross Brewin has a keen eye for them, writes SARAH HUDSON
Tin fashion: Ross Brewin, and one of his images (inset) from his 49 Sheds exhibition.
Blokes, as we know, love their sheds. Ross Brewin is one such man, with a particular bent to the rustic, dilapidated variety abandoned in the middle of a paddock.
And yet - (some gents may need to cover their eyes at this juncture) - Ross doesn't own a shed.
Nor has he really been in one, let alone chatted to a farmer who owns one.
But give the guy a camera and he'll scout out the best, most charming varieties to be found in southeastern Australia.
To prove it, Ross, an architect and lecturer at Monash University, will open his photo exhibition 49 Sheds at the Mornington Peninsula Gallery on February 27.
As the name implies, the display focuses on 49 images out of hundreds taken over seven years on trips around rural Victoria and Tasmania.
The 35-year-old says you don't have to own a shed to appreciate them.
"It's the simplicity of these buildings and the way they have been made out of necessity and pragmatism. There's an accidental charm to them," Ross says.
"In my life as an architect, my clients are usually worried about every single thing. They can be fussy about how a door handle works. Whereas sheds are not pretentious, but simple and honest."
While Ross has no farming background, he has a strong artistic one.
He grew up in Perth with his painter mother and jeweller-sculptor father and chose architecture because it was a mix of the practical and artistic. After studying and working in Perth, he moved to Melbourne in 2004, where he now runs his own firm, focusing largely on private residences.
But it was while working on two country projects that he started his forays into rural Victoria.
His first project was a private farmhouse in Daylesford, which was quickly followed by his biggest project, partnering on the Innocent Bystander winery in Healesville.
"That's when the shed photography really kicked off. I would stop the car when anything caught my eye. Occasionally I'd hop over a fence," Ross says.
Each shed is captured as a snapshot from a basic Pentax camera, using a landscape format, single elevation view.
"I generally collect images of things around town, anything that can spark an idea later," Ross says.
"I've never claimed to be a photographer. They are taken with a point-and-shoot camera.
Ross admits that unlike the average farmer or shed aficionado, he's examining the shed from a very different perspective.
"I'm intellectualising sheds to a degree, but that's OK," he says.
"Basically I'm just someone taking a photo of interesting objects."