Michelle Robinson

'My own opinion is enough for me, and I claim the right to defend it against any consensus, any majority, anywhere, any place, at any time; and anyone who disagrees with this can pick a number, get [online] and kiss my ass.' - Christopher Hitchens


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Why Am I Looking For My “Violin Girl”?

It is with great pride that I announce that “Violin Girl” has been found. Thank you Katie Spain. 20 July 2012, 2118 hours

Note: At time of publishing this blog, "Violin Girl" has received 12.1 million views

The two framed enlargements of “Violin Girl” are with Rundle Mall Management Authority at Level 2, 2 James Place, Adelaide SA 5000 or call Martin Haese at (08) 8203 7200. If anyone sees her, please feel free to show her mother this blog post and let her know that the portraits can be collected … and yes, they are a gift from me.

On the 30th of June 2012, a group of us on Google+ set out on a photo walk to celebrate the Google+ One Year Anniversary - it was an exciting event for 11 of us from Adelaide because we were one of more than 100-plus cities that took part, and would be one of the first to kick-off the birthday of a new social network that has afforded many a photography enthusiast an audience. 

I took a simple photo of a child busker in Rundle Mall in the Adelaide CBD. When I uploaded that photo to share, it proved to be quite popular with those on Google+. Unbeknownst to me, “Violin Girl” made the feature page of Picasa Web Albums. For me, someone who has never shared my passion for taking photos publicly before this, it shocked me that I had received 980,000 views the following week! It didn’t take long before it exceeded the 1 million mark. At that precise moment, with some feedback from a wonderful friend, I made the decision to make a framed enlargement of the photo and seek the girl out to give it to her. I thought that I might be able to find her again in Rundle Mall as it was still the school holidays. However, Fate was a little unkind and I missed her by an hour or so on each day. 

I decided to do the next best thing: I asked the Tourist Information booth in the Mall and they kindly suggested that I seek assistance from Rundle Mall Management in James Place. There I met the General Manager Martin Haese and handed my photo and a personal greeting card to him. 

In the mean time, I thought I might ask the media for help. I wrote to Stephen Yarwood, the Lord Mayor of Adelaide, via his Facebook page, I wrote to 891 ABC Adelaide, Nova 919,  7 News Adelaide, the Today show in Australia, Adelaide Now, many of them more than once. The only person to reply was Spence Denny from 891 ABC Adelaide. I had to decline it because all of a sudden, I was receiving feedback that questioned my respect for the girl’s privacy. Suddenly, it all seemed too ‘hard’. It also seemed that media outlets seemingly have nothing to do with being part of humanity and performing a civic deed unless there is some story involved. I naively thought that it would be possible to ask for assistance in spreading the word. 

(Edit: I have now written to Adelaide City Council, Mr Stephen Yarwood, the Lord Mayor, yet again, and the following councillors: Natasha Malani, Anne Moran and Houssam Abiad - Mr Abiad was present when I presented the first enlargement to Mr Haese at the Rundle Mall Management Authority offices. Edit posted: Friday 20 July 2012, 0730 hours)

Yesterday, I discovered that “Violin Girl” went past the 10 million mark. I did not celebrate. All I did was save the image to disc again and went and printed a better-quality enlargement and bought a more expensive frame. I also printed out a new screen shot with the numbers. I made my way to Rundle Mall Management again. Now, “Violin Girl” and her family have not one, but two framed enlargements of a globally viewed photo of a child busker in the beautiful city I live in. 

In delivering the second enlargement to Rundle Mall Management, I learnt that they were unable to learn any more about “Violin Girl” even though there is a register of buskers held at Adelaide City Council at 25 Pirie Street. As I understand it, information cannot be released. It has never been my intention to seek that information out nor to publicly reveal it. Regardless, I have been informed that Rundle Mall Management have briefed all of their security personnel in the event she plays her violin in Rundle Mall on the weekend - I keep my fingers crossed. 

The last ‘sighting’ of “Violin Girl” was at Port Adelaide on Sunday, 15th of July 2012. I was informed by someone commenting on the photo - no, they did not inform her mother. Perhaps I don’t think too much when I am performing a civic act - but I realise that not too many people are likely to want to go up to “Violin Girl’s” mother - if information gets passed wrongly, it might cause fear in her family for no reason. 

So I have decided to write this blog post. Just in case someone sees this, someone who might know “Violin Girl” and her family, they can pass the link on to her. At least with this blog post, bloggers can re-blog it, share it on their Facebook page, tweet it or something. 

I do not think that I am crazy to simply want to give the photograph to her. I have left my contact details within the greeting card in case her family wish to contact me. If not, all I truly care about is for her and her family to have a simple photograph that has touched millions of people (12 million at time of writing this). 

Who am I? I am simply a mother who has loved taking photographs for the last 30 years and loves mobile art. I am not a professional photographer - I simply happen to take good pictures. 

Note: Since then, Katie Spain has put a short story on the Adelaide Now website. I agreed to it as I decided that I needed as many of the members of the public to know, even though she has not detailed how they can let the girl’s mother know. I made this decision because I felt that whilst I am a parent, and I understand about the safety and privacy of children, I cannot be held accountable for a child performing in public. It was not an easy decision for me to make - but I am determined that she should receive her portrait and know that in my photograph, she has touched so many lives. (Appended on Friday, 20 July 2012, 1658 hours)

Source: plus.google.com
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