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
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.
People are leaving the countryside and moving to the more prosperous towns and cities. As young people depart, they leave small towns and hamlets of empty houses and shuttered shops, of closed schools and cafes, and a greying population.
One innovative representation of the Victorian Mallee that I came across whilst on the Hopetown phototrip in 2016 was the murals that were being painted on the silos throughout the Victorian north-west Mallee. One notable example was the mural on GrainCorp’s disused silo at Brim, which had been painted by the Brisbane street artist Guido van Helten in collaboration with the local community. This site has become a tourist icon in the Wimmera, judging by the number… Read More
The wheat was everywhere whilst I was on the Hopetoun road trip. I took a few 35mm snapshots of the dryland wheat fields with my old film Leica (an M4-P) whilst I was on my way back to our campsite at Hopetoun from Sea Lake. I’d been to Lake Tyrrell that afternoon to look for the remains of an old salt works butI didn’t have much luck. I just couldn’t find it. The… Read More
What I wanted to avoid was a melancholy interpretation; namely, photographing the Mallee was a form of nostalgic mourning for a form of life that has passed away.
Whilst I have been working on images to build up my digital and film galleries I have been searching for some Australian antecedents to my documentary approach to photography for the Mallee Routes project. Who has been here before? What approach to documentary photography did they take? Is there a body of work that exists in the archives? Or do the archives mostly consist of vernacular photography as the history gallery is… Read More
I took the opportunity to make a side-trip into the Victorian Mallee when I was transporting the prints from the Weltraum and Abstraction x 5 exhibitions to my fellow photographers—Stuart Murdoch, Judith Crispin and Jeff Moorfoot-— to the pick-up points of the Ballarat/Lyonville meet up near Melbourne. It was a quick side-trip. I drove north-east from Horsham into the Wimmera-Mallee passing through Jung, Murtoa, Rupanyup and Marnoo to St Arnaud, before then driving… Read More
With the initial exhibition of the Mallee Routes project Atkins Photo Lab finishing at the end of November I interrupted the archive project I was working on to go on a photo roadtrip to Hopetoun to build up my archive for the next exhibition, which has been planned to take place in 2017. Two overcast days after a big storm provided me with an opportunity to spend several days in the Wimmera Mallee,… Read More
I have a phototrip to the Victorian Mallee planned around the 12th-15th November. The trip is in two parts: a camp at Murrayville on the Mallee Highway on my own for two days so that I can continue to work on the silo project and to look around the area for the Mallee Routes project, and then a camp at Hopetoun with Gilbert Roe and Eric Algra so that I can explore the… Read More