If the purported aim of establishing wilderness areas is to protect different types of threatened countryside, what has actually, happened is that a number of these parks or reserves have often been created on land that is perceived as having “no other commercial value”. The picture below of the Overland Corner Reserve is of a land was historically seen as uncultivated wasteland that omitted Aboriginal existence from its representations of a landscape that was primarily assessed for its economic potential. This particular area had little commercial value after pastoralism.
These photos are exploratory or initial steps that were made with little awareness of how other photographers are opening up, or establishing a post-colonial photography. The impetus was a realisation that photography needs to be relevant to the contemporary present if it is to have any value as an art form.
Other photographers or lens-based artists are much much further along this path than myself. James Tylor immediately comes to mind. There is Aletheia Casey’s work such as the Dust series, Dark Forgetting and No Blood Stained the Wattle. She talks about her sophisticated approach to her projects here. These are contemporary art whose “ideas in art” –ie., how these artists actually think in their art–are inserted in new histories, thereby making it possible to see and to think differently. This offers new paths into and out of the modern-contemporary divides and opens up new spaces for a contemporary photography situated outside Europe and the US and the institutions of a global art.
In this space it is more a matter of finding a way to place oneself in the peculiar situation and aesthetic state in relation to oneself and to others. Finding a way to place oneself based on research outside of a traditional university setting; one that is unable to adapt to new forces and kinds of exchanges that are going on in the arts today. Finding one’s way though thinking differently suggests that we need to adapt the potentials or possibilities of criticism to the new situation today and the problems we now face.