colour, landscape, nature

Fleurieuscapes: the poetics of place

February 17, 2016

Whilst I was walking and photographing in the Otway forest during my Melbourne trip I realised that my relationship with the southern Fleurieu Peninsula  had changed from visiting to dwelling. I now live in on the coast and belong to this place.  That meant my photography of the region had become place based, as it was premised on both taking a walk in the landscape rather than rushing to explore or discover and dwelling in a place.This photography is a recovery of a sense of our embeddedness of place.

Dwelling in a place implies a greater environmental awareness and sensitivity and is usually contrasted with  the more instrumental domination of the landscape that is premised on power, control and exploitation.  Dwelling implies a capacity to observe, underestand, describe and being attentive to, and caring for,  the natural environment of the  place  where one is living.

3 gums, pm

3 gums, pm

There is a tradition of  representing the  Australian landscape as hostile to its human inhabitants; a tradition that reaches back to the colonist representation of the harshness of the Australian landscape nature. The colonists saw Australia as a land of stance animals and bizarre plants, a land worn out though it were   a land left behind by time,  as an alien, barren  hostile land that had been deserted by God.   Their response to the landscape was to trash it in order to dominate it. In contrast,  the poetics of place  focuses on the particular local qualities  of the personal experience of place. The small observation  of our experience of place highlights what is intimate  and unique in a landscape undergoing change,   avoids the way the pastoral mode idealises rural or country life providing wealth, prosperity and leisure, and develops a critical ecological awareness.

An ecological awareness because the landscape is undergoing change  due too climate change and global warming.

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