Browsing Tag

coastal

abstraction, coastal, critical writing, digital, publishing

towards a photobook as photo-text

September 3, 2017

I have taken the plunge and started selecting the images  I have made whilst on my coastal poodlewalks   and putting them into a Lightroom  folder as the next step towards constructing a photobook.   I have been publishing some of these images on my  Littoral Zone weblog, which I had set up in order to help me figure out what I am doing with the photographs that have been made almost on a daily basis.   These are  simple, low key photographs of humble things and fleeting moments encountered  on my  various poodle walks.

Venus Bay, Eyre Peninsula, SA, 2013

Since the photos in the poodlewalks blog were images-in-text, the concept behind the  photobook is a visual  poetics,  or more accurately  a photo-poetics; one that explores word image (textual-pictorial)  relations.  The book as a photo-text   breaks with both the idea of the photographic image as a record of objects or events in the real world as in photojournalism’s narratives,    and the standard conception of  the  photobook being images with minimal or no  text. It is part of what   Liliane Louvel, the French theoriest, calls  an iconotext in which  text and image merge in a pluriform fusion.

Such an approach breaks with a formalist modernism, as that held   held  that the literary  and visual arts are substantially different and mutually exclusive; a view that reaches back to Lessing’s Laocoon  with its distinction between the literature  as a temporal art and the visual as a spatial art. With the  decay of formalist modernism these rigid boundaries were breached with many theorists and artists  positioning themselves against Lessing’s  rigid borders.  The mutual interdependence of images and words and the impure and mixed mediality of visual as well as verbal artifacts are  now widely accepted in our visual culture.  Photography-in-text is  a hybrid product that gives rise to a hybrid textual genre–an intermedial photo-text.   Continue Reading…

archives, black + white, coastal

returning to the archives

November 1, 2016

I am creatively flat after returning from my trip to Lajamanu in the Tanami Desert, curating and showing  in  three exhibitions (Weltraum, Abstractions x 5 and Mallee Routes), which are now coming to a close,  and  publishing  the Abstraction Photography book  with  Moon Arrow Press.   I’m exhausted, in debt, with limited stocks of film in the fridge and limited money to buy more film.

What happens now? Apart from having a rest,   going to the gym, and paying off my debts? Where to now with my photography?I do  have the 15 Silos on the Mallee Highway project to complete,  work  to do on  the Mallee Routes project  for some exhibitions over  the next couple of years, and return to the Fleurieuscapes  project.

However, I am also thinking along the lines of producing more books of photographs.  But which body of work to create photo-books with?  One possibility  is  going through my archives of  photos that I did in the 1980s and 1990s; not to mine them  for material, but  to see if  the  material that emerges from exploring  the archives that has the  possibility of constituting a body of work  that could fit into a book on Adelaide photography during that period.

Onkaparinga River

Onkaparinga River

This kind of project  would be a filling in the gaps and recovering a lost history in the regional  photographic culture in Adelaide during the photography boom.   Currently, we only have a very fragmentary sense of the photography that  happened in the last quarter of the twentieth century in this city.  This was the period of the emergence of postmodernism and  its constructed imagery (eg., Anne Zahalka, Fiona Hall and Bill Henson in Australia)  and  its play with,  and appropriations of,  already existing images; a theoretical engagement with the nature of photography’s visual language’;  a more scholarly approach undertaken by masters and doctoral candidates at Australian universities; and the invention of an Australian  photographic avant-garde.  Continue Reading…

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, 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…