On my first exploratory photo trip to Canberra I picked up on some work I’d started many years ago with the Cambo 5×7 monorail –photographing in the Murray Mallee and concentrating on the grain silos along the old railway lines. I had an old VW Kombi then and I used to be able to get away from Adelaide and go on road trips with the Cambo in a trunk. I recall a weekend photographing around Mantung in the Murray Mallee, with its old railway line that went from Karoonda to Waikerie. All that stopped when I was doing my PHD in philosophy at Flinders University. I just had no time for large format photography and darkrooms.
However, the road trip, the Mallee, and silos stayed in the back of my mind.I kept on looking at the few images I had from that time on the computer. When we travelled to and from Ballarat for the Ballarat International Foto Biennale in 2013 I saw the silos on the Dukes and Western Highway and thought they would make a good subject using the 8×10 Cambo and black and white film. The silo project emerged.
The recent trip to Canberra took in the Mallee Highway, and I noticed that all the towns from Lamaroo to Ouyen had silos that were both on the railway line and were easily accessible for photography. I made a start on the project at Lameroo. I had scoped the silos on the way over to Canberra, and I took some black and white pictures with the Cambo 8×10 on the way back from Canberra around 4pm.
However, apart from that photoshoot, I mostly scoped the silos along the Mallee Highway with my digital camera (Sony NEX-7):
The core problem of the silo project that emerged from this scoping is that that the silos are best photographed early in the morning or in the late afternoon. That means I have to camp on the highway for a week or more. Motels are out because of the expense. So it probably means sleeping in the car or using a swag.