interiors

During my solo photo camp at Balranald in NSW in the spring of 2018 I started to concentrate on photographing  the interiors of  deserted buildings. One reason for the shift was that I was becoming interested in the interiors of these silent buildings in themselves. A second reason was that the interiors  of the various buildings at the Yanga Woolshed National Park were publicly accessible.  A third reason  was to bring the subject matter into my understanding of  the tension between the large format  photography of the Mallee as trace (document)  and as picture (artwork).

What had intrigued me on the previous  road trip to Balranald was how the decayed interiors  had  the  traces of events that occurred in the past,  and that these  ones   hold more memories. The straightforward presentation  of the interiors allows the viewer to actively interpret them  in the present  as metaphors,  or the interiors being  psychologically loaded, or as the past intruding on the present in a meaningful way.

This is  a photography after the event –a photographing of  the traces of pastoralism before this  particular history of the Mallee was erased.  This kind of late photography in the era of television,   newer technologies and the mediascape of a commodity culture, turns up late, wanders through the places where things have happened, and starts to explore  the effects of the activity of a world gone. Though people are absent in this  still photography of traces, fragments, empty buildings of an increasingly forgotten history,  there is  a lot of remnants of human activity in the detritus left behind. 

This is a kind of photography that either foregoes or cannot represent events and so cedes them to other media. Video, for instance, gives us things as they happen  in the present tense.  Late photography is quite different from the spontaneous snapshot of a singular  event (eg.,  photojournalism, reportage or the Decisive Moment),  and it has a different relation to memory and to history. This memory of  a pioneer world lost, is more  akin to mourning  though one that could become nostalgic for this world of settler capitalism.

Late photography  pictures the fragments of historical memory, fragments of otherness that  remind us that this collective past is something that cannot be grasped by us in its full complexity. The  still photographs, therefore,  remind us of the fragility and threatened condition of memory.

By its very nature late photography is contemplative and open for interpretation or to act as a memorial for people affected.    The photographer is able to observe, think and consider what and how they wish to communicate.The process of taking the photograph and passing it to audience  via a book or gallery or even via the internet is a comparatively slow process. In a visual culture that  has trained us not to look closely at any one image for very long,   Late photography  endeavours to create  a thoughtful mood, around the image that encourages the viewer  to consider the past, present and future implications of the event/object/subject matter.

 

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