Browsing Category

coastal

black + white, coastal, critical writing, exhibitions, landscape

connections

June 9, 2016

One of the interesting  movements  is the emerging  connections  between the contemporary  arts and sciences around climate change driven by human activity.   These emerging connections stand in opposition to “denialism,” a highly ideological formation dedicated to defending deregulated  economic growth and the protection of the entrenched power of the fossil fuel corporations that made Australia into a modern  industrial capitalist  society in the second part of the 20th century. This is  the assertion of naked  political power for short-term self-interest.

A local example of the emerging  connections is the upcoming  Dire exhibition at the South Coast Regional  Art Centre  (Old Goolwa Police Station), which  is part of the Alexandrina Council’s Just Add Water 2016  festival. It is entitled Dire because our western civilisation  during the  Anthropocene  is still unable to  live within its ecological limits;  in spite of the new climate reality and  Australia being identified as one of the developed countries most at risk from the adverse impacts of climate change.

This is an out take from an eco-photoshoot in the Coorong, in South Australia,  for  the Dire exhibition:

 

Melaleuca, Coorong

Melaleuca, Coorong

In southern Australia the reduced rainfall scenario isn’t good news  for  the ecological health of the rivers in the Murray-Darling Basin, whilst  the coastal cities and towns on both  the eastern and southern seaboard face threats from  the rising sea levels. What is happening to  the ecological health of the Coorong  from the reduced environmental flows  gives rise to feeling blue—- depression, sadness, melancholy–associated with  a sense of deep time and climate crisis.

Climate change is deeply disturbing and very hard to live with. We know and understand the implications of the science but we continue living–habitus— as we have been—an emotional denialism with its resistance to change.  So we  continue to live in parallel worlds. We think in one way and live in another.  Continue Reading…

coastal, film, history, landscape

a road trip with an 8×10

March 29, 2016

I am  planning a  large-format road trip  to the Coorong where I work  the 8×10 Cambo monorail,  black and white film, and one 300mm  normal lens.  I will also have a 5×4  field camera  with me to use with colour film and for when I am walking through the wetlands. The photo trip  is to build material for  the second part of  the Edgelands project.

I will attend a workshop at Meningie run by the Centre  for Culture, Land and Sea on the ecological state of the River Murray  and Coorong on Sunday 3rd April. I will then drive to, and  base myself at Salt Greek for  3 days.  The work  from this roadtrip will be part of a group exhibition at the South Coast Regional Arts Centre (in the historic Old Goolwa Police Station building).    The exhibition is a part of the Alexandrina Council’s  2016 ‘Just Add Water’ program.

melaleuca, Coorong

melaleuca, Coorong

Before you think a road trip with an 8×10 monorail   is crazy,  here is  a precedent from the 1980s:  then Doug Spowart (using a  Sinar P 8×10) and Maris Rusis (he was Queensland’s only committed 10×8 image-making practitioner at the time)  did a road trip from Brisbane to Canberra, Kosciuszko and Suggan Buggan in the late 1980’s with 8×10 monorails.  Continue Reading…

coastal, colour, film, landscape

Fleurieuscapes Outtake: Petrel Cove

March 2, 2016

The beach  dimension of the Fleurieuscapes had a minimal presence in  the exhibition at Magpie Springs. Images, such as the one of Petrel Cove below,   did not make the cut with the  curators.   Petrel Cove is on the south side of Rosetta Head,   and it is a picturesque beach with rocky outcrops,  which,  despite a dangerous rip,  is populated during the summer by surfers, recreational fishers, families and photographers.

It represents the pleasurable, freedom  and recreation during the summer months without the stench of sewerage,  piles of discarded condoms, human faeces, life savers,   or racial conflict.

surfers, Petrel Cove

surfers, Petrel Cove

The  Petrel Cove beach is usually empty during the late autumn,  winter and early springs months apart from the odd surfer, dog walker, photographer,  or  lone fisherman. The place  has  a  history  of its  rip regularly claiming the lives of those people who ignore the warning signs that signify the potential dangers. So Petrel Cove is not an unspoiled place that has a spiritual significance.  Continue Reading…

coastal, digital, landscape

Edgelands: the Coorong

February 20, 2016

On the way back from Melbourne I spent a couple of  days  exploring the Coorong around Salt Creek to scope  for the second part of  the  Edgelands  project. Edgelands are often seen as dead zones or tracts of land with confused and unassigned values on the urban fringe. Our cities,  for instance,  have many inactive patches of land that fall out of favor with humans for many reasons. These humdrum urban corridors or borderlands  are usually seen as distinctively non-photogenic commonplace spaces.

However,  there are spaces  that are outside the urban fringe between the carefully defined spaces of farmland and national parks   that are also edgelands which have  a minimal human engagement.  In South Australia these can be found around  the Coorong. Most people visiting the Coorong either camp in the Pink Gum wood land near Salt Creek in the national park,  or they cross the waters of the Coorong at 42 mile or Tea Tree Crossing off the loop road to the sand dunes  for their wilderness camping or  to go fishing along  the shore of the ocean beach. Parts of the Ngrugie Ngoppup Walk near Salt Creek, for instance,  goes through  a space that  is  not obviously occupied and not clearly marked by traditional boundaries of farm and national park.

How  then, to photograph this landscape?

I wanted to avoid the dramatic morning and evening light favoured by an environmental Romanticism  that places the emphasis on both natural beauty  and  this remote  landscape being  a pristine natural world that is a refuge from the ravages of an industrial capitalism   fuelled by coal, oil and gas.  This  has resulted in a substantial level of landscape change —in both its nature and magnitude. The Coorong  is a melancholy landscape.

Coorong, midday

Coorong, midday

 

It is  a necessary to walk these spaces to discover them, as they are not obvious from the road or through a car windscreen the highway.   Ari and I  walked part of this space   in the middle of the day,  so that  I could take  some snaps with  a digital camera to study  on the  studio’s computer screen when I returned to Encounter Bay. This  is a landscape that evokes feelings of uncanny alienation and a mood of dark depression.   Continue Reading…

abstraction, black + white, coastal, exhibitions, nature, rocks

Fleurieuscapes: Outtake 3

January 12, 2016

This abstraction of the granite rocks at Kings Head, which is n near Victor Harbor on the southern Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia,    is another out take from the Fleurieuscapes exhibition at Magpie Springs. One  reason for  this image not making the cut is that I decided that there would be no abstractions  in the exhibition, given my 2015  Australian Abstraction exhibition at the Light Gallery in Adelaide during the SALA Festival.   Another reason  for  its  exclusion is that the  people  helping me  to curate the  pictures   for the exhibition judged  that  the image  was too forbidding and  austere. It was a part of the  grotesque mode of expression in the visual art and it didn’t really fit in  the exhibition.

This exhibition  is part of the emerging trend in contemporary art photography  in Australia and New Zealand  that shows a marked and widespread interest in landscape. There has been a tendency to trivialise and overlook landscape photography, including the photography of wilderness.

rock abstract, Kings Head

rock abstract, Kings Head

The  textual background to the exhibition is that the genre of landscape has been desperately unfashionable across the arts for so long, the preserve of the Sunday painter and the happy tourist snapper. While the photographic canon includes the greats of landscape photography,  more recently photographers have tended to avoid a genre that is so easily linked to the vernacular (ie., happy snappers and tourism) and so difficult to connect to serious intent.
Continue Reading…