My recent work with photography is a remembrance of sorts, not in the way photographs collect memories, but as a reminder of our sympoietic relationship with/in the natural world. Walking, not walking, seeing, not seeing, being-with the world to remember I am of the world - is what makes the work. Place is important as it matters to know one’s connections, and to understand one’s impact. Based in South Australia I am equally drawn to the coast and desert. The ambition is to understand the patterns of exchange between human and nonhuman life, my own patterning within it and to express country in a discreetly Australian context.
LET’S TALK COUNTRY
This marks the start of a new series of works based at Oratunga Station on Adnyamathanha country in the Flinders Ranges, South Australia. It is a place of great complexity, rhythms, drought and beauty. Found in situ, these photographs form part of practice-based PHD research project entitled Let’s Talk Country; field notes on becoming a relational human. The work is an investigation in common ground between the oldest living culture on the planet, the latest contemporary discourse across the fields of quantum physics, semiotics, the work of art, the timeless presence and liveliness of country. Estimated completion: September 2020. Click on thumbnails below to view full images.
ANATOMY OF DEEP CREEK, Longitude - 035.655200, Latitude unknown
Embedded in the stone coast where these photographs were found are geophysiological narratives of living cycles that articulate the intimacy of collective evolution. This collection is the result of a three-year relationship between the artist, the materialities of place and the materiality of practice. Created using a 20th century wooden camera handcrafted by a student of Ansel Adams, these works were realised on film and printed on cotton paper. Click on thumbnails below to view full images.
Bone was made over a year in one location. Using a combination of analogue and digital techniques, meditation, and walking as preparatory tool, the practice of making the work is not so much about 'freezing a moment', more so to acknowledge acts of presence and express the symbiotic relationship between the human non-human and unseen. Click on thumbnails below to view full images.
TIME and PLACE
In 2010 I happened upon a healing ceremony initiated by the Ngarrendjeri community in the southern coastal town of Goolwa. Their goal was to move beyond the pain caused by the construction of a bridge to Kumarangk (Hindmarsh Island). Kumarangk has sacred significance, especially to Ngarrindgeri women and it was crucially important the island remain disconnected from the mainland. The courts made a special one-off provision to bypass native title and heritage legislation and the bridge was built. The construction was devastating to the Ngarrindjeri community and when completed in 2001, some woman died as a result.
My response was to begin a two-year conversation with a family of Ngarrendjeri women spanning three generations, and try to understand how events had unfolded and the personal impact on the community. With their support and the kind permission of the late Tom Treverrow, artist Bluey Roberts introduced me to Ngarrendjeri lands.
For three months I trekked through country between Kingston and Cape Jervis. The aim was not to capture pictures of horizons and well-situated tree-lines. I had no interest in creating artefacts that re-presented the landscape. The aim was to express a metaphysical account of relationship. I was responding to story and character and acknowledging synchronises as they presented themselves. By way of example, while camping under the stars in the Coorong, I woke at 4am to see the Seven Sisters constellation staring back at me. Honouring a sudden urge to drive three hours west to a place I'd not been, I discovered a pelican breeding area as the dawn broke. Pelican are nga:tji, a Ngarrindjeri totem animal, and I was able to make two photographs of significance that were included in the exhibition. Such experiences became a constant across my twelve week stay in Ngarrindjeri lands. This collection was exhibited at Signal Point Gallery, in Goolwa in 2013. Click on thumbnails below to view full images.
EARLY WORK (selected works, 1991-2000)
In my formative years I was inspired by the work and life of Robert Mapplethorpe, Edward Western, Richard Avedon and many others. Regardless of whether I was photographing a portrait, landscape or nude, I felt it was possible to express something other than what was in front of the lens. Purely representing the subject was never enough. I began by seeing if could resemble images of those I admired, not to copy, but to perfect technique. Still Moving, the first in this collection was a homage to Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith. Picasso Rock was a nod to Edward Weston and the portraits are a fusion of Avedon and Mapplethorpe. I was keen to photograph artists that I respected and worked with, mostly dancers, poets and the occasional person that simply drew my attention.