The Walking Newsletter #2

Kings Head outcrop, Waitpinga
This second Thoughtfactory newsletter (August 2020) comes at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic is devastating the US and has caused a surge in community transmissions in Melbourne. The daily infections in Melbourne, which plateaued at around 300-400 cases with the stage 3 restrictions, resulted in the imposition of stage 4 restrictions on people's movement; mandatory mask wearing; a curfew in Melbourne; and stage 3 restrictions for the rest of Victoria.

This is a difficult time for Victorians. The commonwealth regulated aged care facilities in the state have been severely compromised. Hospitals in Melbourne are struggling under the load of patient numbers and staff roster depletion. Businesses of all sizes face the prospect of permanent closure, and their employees are contemplating the devastation of long-term unemployment. The mental health of almost every member of the community is under constant threat. My sympathies and condolences go to each of the families who have lost loved ones to this global pandemic.

The "ring of steel" around metro Melbourne to contain the community transmission of the Covid-19 virus is an indication of just how fast moving, infectious and deadly this virus is. A substantive paid pandemic leave scheme to combat the recent spike in workplace transmission looks to be essential. South Australia, where I live, is on high alert and its border with Victoria remains closed. However, there is no such thing as an iron clad border.


The Friends of Photography Group's (FOPG) online exhibitions of film photographs continues with their second online exhibition in Gallery Three. This follows the earlier one entitled Isolation. Once again the photographic based images in the exhibition are diverse, fascinating and creative.

The image below is a scoping digital version of the film one I made with a 5x4 Linhof Technika IV camera for FOPG's second online Isolation exhibition in Gallery Three. It is of bushland in Waitpinga (my local area) that I had started to photograph within due to the Covid--19 lockdown placing travelling to work on the Mallee Routes project on hold. This pink gum photo was made whilst I was on an late afternoon poodlewalk. with Maleko.

The first online exhibition at Encounters Gallery ---namely, The Covid-19 exhibition--- is now archived. The current exhibition is entitled Walking/ Photography, and it is part of the SALA Festival in South Australia, which opened in August.

The exhibition features Stuart Murdoch's photos from his walking around Sunshine in Melbourne; and my photos made whilst I was on the poodlewalks around Victor Harbor and Waitpinga on the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia. The image below, which is of roadside vegetation on the Halls Creek Rd section of the Heysen Trail in Waitpinga in the southern Fleurieu Peninsula, is an outtake from my portfolio of photos in the Walking/Photography exhibition:
Rolleiflex SL66, 2016
The next forthcoming exhibition at Encounters Gallery is entitled Abstraction: Different Interpretations. It features the abstractions made by Adam Dutkiewicz and myself. It builds on the Abstract Photography photobook that Adam and I made in 2016 that was published by Moon Arrow Press.


I mentioned in the last newsletter that I am slowly working on a new limited edition book based on the archival material The Bowden Archives and Other Marginalia blog. The book is organised into three sections--- Snapshots, Bowden, Roadtrips--- and it includes a couple of essays on photographic aesthetics.

At the same time I also working on another photobook entitled Tasmanian Elegies. As part of the editing process I am currently going through the archives of my Tasmanian photos, selecting them and posting them on a Tumblr blog.
Ruined Smelter, Zeehan
I am also writing a text on Heidegger, technology and the environment for Tasmanian Elegies. The argument is that our environmental degradation is the result of a dominating and controlling relation with the other-than-human realm, and that such a relation is a necessary consequence of our way of 'knowing' ourselves and other entities that is implicit in this Western metaphysical tradition.

For instance, some thinkers have argued that we should save 'pristine nature'; others that 'wild nature' or 'wilderness' must be preserved; some suggest that 'nature' is a resource that must be conserved . All these connotations of 'nature' see it as something that is 'actual' and separate and apart from humanity. Heidegger's thinking enables us to see that what we understand as 'nature' is historically, socially and culturally specific, and that Western metaphysical thinking has produced a particular idea of 'nature' that is alienated from humanity.

Heidegger, in his essays "The Age of the World Picture” and “The Question Concerning Technology”, argues that the essence of modern technology is its orientation to the world that he calls "enframing" (Gestell). In technological enframing nature (including humans beings) becomes a standing reserve ie., as things to be used (and used as efficiently as possible). Heidegger gave the example of a hydroelectric plant set into the current of the Rhine so that the river is dammed up. Facebook would be a contemporary example of (digital) technological enframing.


The collaborative part of the Mallee Routes has ended, and the project has become a solo one entitled Eye on the Malle. The closure of South Australia's border with Victoria, due to the Covid -19 pandemic, has meant a change of plans to my photographing the Mallee project. It is focused for the foreseeable on exploring the South Australian Mallee.

My first roadtrip was in mid-August and it was based on a 6 day camp at Kapunda with friends who are walking the Lavender Trail. Development started in 1999, and the trail winds its way for 325 kilometres from Murray Bridge to Clare. Whilst the others walked the trail daily around Kapunda over the 6 days of the camp I went off photographing.

I explored the Murray Mallee west of the Murray River; crossed the river at Swan Reach to explore the old railway line around Galga and Mantung; wandered around the Tothill Ranges area; came across the Burra Creek Gorge Reserve (World's End) on the last day whilst making my way to the Goyder Highway. My plan is to explore this gorge whilst at the September Lavender Trail camp in Clare.

Kapunda itself was a copper mining town in the nineteenth century. Below is a picture of the old open cut mine that closed in 1879.

open cut mine, Kapunda, am

From the blogs

I publish a number of photographic blogs to help me filter my work into low key projects. Most of these ideas go nowhere, others slowly develop a momentum of their own, and occasionally a project emerges from the odd one. The pictures below are a selection of recent images from some of the blogs:
bushland + fog, Waitpinga
White House, Esplanade, Victor Harbor
Benmore Dam,  Waitaki, New Zealand
Josef Sach, Andamooka
Hopetoun, Wimmera Mallee, Victoria
Trestle Bridge, Melbourne, Victoria
Anglican Church, Kapunda, SA


3 kids, silo,  Frys' Cocoa

Adelaide Art Photographers c1970-2000

A cross-section of some of the Art Photographers of the late 20th century who worked with film in Adelaide, South Australia. It includes an essay on photography and modernist aesthetics.


Buy now
Adelaide Art Photographers c1970-2000
  • The Corner Store

The online corner store is my response to the restrictions to contain the Covid-19 pandemic and the audience limitations of the physical gallery. The online store has been to set up to sell both my photobooks and the prints of a selection of photos from my various projects. The corner store, which is currently under construction, should be up and running in late August.

Kayla, Suzanne, and Maleko on Goolwa Beach, Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia on a late afternoon poodlewalk in winter ( August) 2020.
Gawler Beach, Fleurieu Peninsula
As I mentioned in the first newsletter, this Thoughtfactory newsletter is an experiment to try to create, and link up an alternative online photographic network that is outside of Facebook's surveillance algorithms. Facebook killed off the network of photo blogs that flourished 4 or 5 years ago. In the absence of the US government updating anti-trust legislation for a digital age, I am linking to, and sharing, my different photographic activities (including my Flickr stream) to step around the algorithmic governance of Facebook as a response to this kind of societal harm in the public sphere.