I plug along trying to scope photos of the landscape whilst on our poodlewalks without making much progress in finding material that I would go back and re-photograph with a large format camera. I take snaps on the walk with a digital camera and that’s about it. Sometimes I don’t even bother taking my digital camera with me.
I find a situation where light, form and landscape converge at a particular location in space and time, but the result is banal. Uninteresting. Dull. Boring. Empty, pretty pictures that don’t do anything much at all.
So where do I go from here? How do you bring the history of this landscape into this picture making? Power or politics? How do you move beyond pretty pictures–the pastoral? It can be done in words.
Pastoral landscapes celebrate the dominion of mankind over nature in Australian colonial history. The scenes are peaceful, often depicting ripe harvests, lovely gardens, manicured lawns with broad vistas, and fattened livestock. Human beings have developed and tamed the landscape and the agricultural landscape yields the necessities we need to live, as well as beauty and safety. In the 21st century the cultivated farm lands represent ” a cultivated nature” as a comforting source of physical and spiritual sustenance, with farm buildings replacing the small classical buildings.
The land and landscape are seen and commodified by the capitalist enterprise in landscapes . Theses are not blasted and blighted lands. Pastoral aesthetics portrayed the Australian landscape as an ideal and harmonious agrarianism, with its small-farm, free-labor agriculture as a paradigm of Australian identity. It entrenches the metaphor of the landscape standing for the nation.
The pastoral In Australia refers to rural Australia as a settler nation and it has notions of white belonging coupled with reassurances that cover over the truth of history; reassurances that provoke an unsettled attitude that has its roots in the violence through which the land was transformed into paddocks.