Irrigation and the Mallee

When  I was at the Morgan photo camp   with Gilbert Roe  in early November I  noticed that  the stretch of land around Morgan and Waikerie   was increasingly being transformed  by the ongoing clearing of the original mallee scrub and its  replacement by irrigation in the form of irrigated agriculture.  This is a  landscape is one of red sands, the Murray River and  gum trees and the horticultural crops now being grown appear to… Read More

finally, another photocamp: Morgan

I leave  Encounter Bay tomorrow for a 5 day photocamp at Morgan in South Australia with Gilbert, even though  it is a little late in the year  to be photographing in the SA Mallee.  I haven’t been able to get away on a phototrip to the Mallee as I’d  previously planned,   due to  the need to  kickstart  the Adelaide Photography 1970-2000 book. I am hoping that the weather  in early November is… Read More

topographic photography + trauma

Can trauma be connected to a topographic approach to  photographing the Mallee? I have been mulling over this whilst  I put the  Mallee Routes  project aside for a month or so,  so that  I could  work on the Adelaide Photography 1970-2000 book, which is  to be produced by   Adam Dutkiewicz and myself for Moon Arrow Press in 2018.  The Adelaide Photography project  has been kickstarted, as it were, and the break has been beneficial. The… Read More

In Birchip: reflections on landscape photography

This scoping photo of silos at Birchip in the Wimmera Mallee is a deadpan image of an unexpressive and repetitive subject  that appears impersonal, blank and boring. It repeats the same idea–silos in the landscape— in different ways.  It avoids the artistic subjectivity and narrativity represented by photojournalism.  There is no event in the picture and there is little human interest.

Hopetoun revisited: water

In late July Gilbert Roe and myself  had a 5 day camp at Lake Lascelles in Hopetoun,  which is in the northern western part of the Wimmera Mallee in Victoria  . It was a winter camp and it was very cold at night with  sub  zero temperatures in  the early morning. On the last morning of the camp there was  heavy fog in Hopetoun, which meant a midday  departure, since  the tent’s fly… Read More

Don Watson: The Bush

I had planned  to go on a roadtrip to the Mallee this week on my own, but an infected tooth has seen that trip cancelled. Instead I am reading Don Watson’s   book The Bush: Travels in the Heart of Australia (2016). From what I can gather the book is based Watson  buying  a 4WD in 2009 and setting off across the eastern part of the country on a road trip. Along the way he… Read More

The Mallee and the pastoral

Photographing the rural landscapes of  the Mallee  country  needs to be distinguished from the idyllic  pastoral tradition in Australian visual culture  that in the Heidelberg tradition   emphasised the tamed farmland with its  abundance of natural resources.  The  artists represent this  in the almost mandatory blue and gold palette. This  form of pastoralism  refers to representations of a rural landscape during the European colonial settlement of the land, with its sheep grazing and cropping,… Read More

re-photographing the Mallee

In a previous post I mentioned how  I had reconnected to  an old  photo trip  that I made in the 1980s in the VW Kombi to  Mantung and Galga in the South Australian Mallee. However,  I didn’t  mention that I had some re-photography possibilities  in mind.  On the earlier  trip  I  made several black and white photos with a large format camera ( these are in my film gallery on the Mallee Routes website), and… Read More

empty landscapes

This part of the South Australia Mallee is an empty landscape. It has been de-populated. An example of the process of depopulation in this landscape the East Murray Area School, which used to have around 270 pupils in the 1960s and it now has 19 pupils.

day trip to Mantung

I made a day  trip into the South Australian mallee along the Karoonda Highway on Tuesday. Elders Weather website said that  there would be rain,  cloud and sunshine on that day–conditions that are  more congenial for my style of photography than the blues skies and sunshine that was forecast  for the next 5 days including Easter.   The dryland region along the  Karoonda Highway  was new territory for me,  as I’d only… Read More