The current stage of the Photographing the Mallee project, which emerged out of the initial collaborative project, started in 2020 as a solo photographic project by Gary Sauer-Thompson. It takes the form of a photographic eye on the Mallee country.
The Mallee was historically viewed as the Land of Promise in the early 20th Century, after the failure of pastoralism in the 19th century. Economic prosperity, it was held, would result from land clearance, agricultural development (wheat initially) and the building of railway lines to transport the grain to the coastal ports for export to Britain. The 1980s, with its collapse of the agricultural boom, was the decade when this pioneer, settler dream of an agricultural paradise unravelled, disintegrated and collapsed.
The photography in the Photographing the Mallee project is situated firmly in the realist tradition, and it is topographical in nature. In travelling the highways of modernity, the photographer pulls up and looks to the side, gazes at the ordinariness of space, and draws attention to the neglected, the detritus and the unseen. The different places of the Mallee then emerge.