It has been about five months since the last post on poodlewalks. Some explanation for the hiatus is mentioned here on The Littoral Zone. Posting on this website was also on the backburner due to the trip to Japan, which took place shortly after the last post in late September 2023. Roughly editing the photos that I made whilst in Japan pretty much preoccupied me for the rest of that year.
The last photos I made before I left for Japan in mid-October were those in the seascapes series on the early morning walks and in the evening ones in the magic hour.
The archive indicates that even though I was walking with the poodles and making photos in the Nov-Dec period after I’d returned from Japan, I didn’t re-connected to the next step of posting the images on the poodlewalks website.
I mentioned in this Rhizomes post that my still photography that is made whilst walking with the standard poodles in the local bushland has been in the process of changing. It had been changing from photography as a way of objectifying and distancing us from the world towards an understanding that the practice of photography is similar to the practice of meditation. Similar in the sense of paying mindful attention to whatever is occurring in the moment.
This is akin to the immersive processes that Walter Benjamin and Theodore Adorno called mimesis — – a basic open comportment to the world. Adorno held that a mimetic capacity is spontaneous, pre-reflective, non-conceptual and rational and that it is the moment of the elective affinity between knower and known. We have become oblivious of our immersive mimetic capacity in modernity since in Western history, mimesis has been transformed by Enlightenment science from a dominant presence into a distorted, repressed, and hidden force. In modernity art is a refuge for mimetic comportment.
Initially mimesis as mediative seeing means that the automatic habitual view of the familiar world of an agricultural landscape that I am walking through in the early morning is replaced by being in a space with a keen sense of the unprecedented and unrepeatable configuration of each moment. In the photo below the particular moment of being in the world was a momentary one. The sun suddenly appeared in the background and the mist quickly evaporated.
This embodied clear seeing of a walking photography practice is less a form of contemplative state of mind and more of an empty one coupled to bodily awareness. It is a spontaneous intuitive seeing that is pre-conceptual. Embodied because the intuitive seeing is initially more felt and spontaneous than reflective ie., evaluating and judging the view around me for the sake of making a more considered composition.
Suzanne’s broken fibula is healing and she is now walking to strengthen the muscles in her left leg. We are back to normal with our poodlewalks and have started our training (weather permitting) for the upcoming walks (Basho and Kumono Kodo) in Japan in mid-October.
It’s been quite stormy, wet and windy during the first few weeks of spring. I’ve have been caught a number of times in the early morning by the rain sweeping in from the south west. There is little in the way of shelter along the coast and so I was often soaked.
Whilst walking I have been thinking about how the broad drift in photographic culture has been to problematize or reject photography as a realistic and documentary form, even though the actual condition of photography as a networked image is multifaceted and diverse.
My twice-a-day poodlewalks during the six weeks that Suzanne needed to wear her moonboot to help heal her broken fibula were hobbled ones. I was walking both standard poodles, but as I’d badly damaged my back early in that six weeks period I wasn’t able to walk very far. I could only shuffle along in those areas where the two poodles could run free and more or less look after themselves.
The photography was limited during this period. I just carried a digital camera and on many of the walks I wouldn’t even make a photo. Walking 2 poodles with a damaged back wasn’t conducive to photography.
This is one of the photos I did make whilst on a hobbled walk in part of the Rosetta Head Reserve. I would drive to Petrel Cove and then hobble my way around the reserve and through its scrubland in the early morning.
I would usually start this walk 30 minutes or so before sunrise when there was no one around. The walk would be in its final stages as the early morning sunlight flickered across the grasses in the reserve.
Another of the early morning walks involved driving to the carpark on the western side of Rosetta Head, then I’d slowly shuffling my way along its northern side until I reached the eastern end where I could look over Encounter Bay:
I would do this walk on those occasions when there was early morning cloud over the sea before sunrise. I would hope that there was nobody on the top of the Bluff viewing the sunrise, flying a drone or taking photos. I was able to hobble my way back to the car park on the western side of Rosetta Head, The clouds usually dissipated after sunrise, except when the rains swept in from the wast.
This update on making photos whilst walking with Maya along the coast starts to explore ways of augumenting the still photography. Large format art photography has been my way of creating an art work from these poodlewalks, which are embedded in a particular place.
Maya is now between 5-6 months old and she is quite comfortable walking for an hour or so with me along the coastal rocks on the southern Fleurieu Peninsula. As we are on the cusp of winter in South Australia there is early morning cloud cover, the showers sweeping in from the south west are more frequent, and the coastal winds are much stronger.
Whilst I’ve been on these early morning walks I thought that it would be interesting to find a way to show what Maya is hearing, smelling and seeing whilst she is with me. I have no idea how to do this, but I started wondering how Augmented Reality (AR) could add to these kind of walks; or alternatively what could be added using generative AI for texts written by ChatGPT, or an image using Midjourney.
I quickly realized that generative AI is step too far for me as is that that version of AR with its overlay of digital data on top of the real world that is consumed through a camera-and-sensor-laden headset. There is little point in the latter as few people would have the required equipment that mediates the entire world through screens placed centimeters from users’ corneas that makes the whole world a screen.
However, there is a space for something along the lines of supplementing, augmenting, adjusting, or overlaying reality; such as supplementing the still photography is a video. A video offers sound and movement that would augment the frozen moment of the still photography. I need to do more video as I am not sure about podcasts or films, as is done with MAP‘s. Nor do I have the connections to collaborate with a writer like the SALT project which was commissioned by Art Walk Projects.
The development pressure on the coastline around Rosetta Head continues and it takes the form of marinas, cruise ships and building tourist accommodation on agricultural land. As expected these forms of development give rise to political tension and conflict between economic development, heritage and environmental protection. These are currently managed within a single planning rule book in which the policies reflect and align with the Government’s state planning policies that set out a framework for land use in South Australia.
Below is the text of the oral presentation that I gave to the Council Assessment Panel (CAP) of the Victor Harbor Council’s on Tuesday 9th May about the tourist development at Lot 2 Jagger Rd. The meeting’s agenda is here. Lot 2 is just west of Petrel Cove and it is the first paddock in the photo below. The other photos in this post are of the coastal rocks below Lot 2.
We were allowed 5 minutes to speak on the basis of our original written submissions and it was expected that new material would be presented, rather than just rehashing the written submission which had already been read by the expert panel members. I spoke to this text.
Thankyou for providing me with a space to speak to the Tirroki development application in the context of the SA Planning and Design Code. This is the cornerstone of South Australia’s current planning system and it ‘s structure provides us with a way to judge developments within specific public criteria.
The Tirroki development consists of 5 well designed self-contained accommodation units, service building and associated infrastructure. Max Pritchard’s architecture is good tourist design and it will enhance the built environment at Encounter Bay, some of which is second rate and shoddily built.
I will make two points with respect to this tourist development in a rural zone with its 11 overlays.
My early morning, off-lead walks with Maya, our new standard poodle pup, have slowly become longer whilst she reached 16 weeks and had her final round of injections. The walks have included beaches, coastal trails, fairgrounds, hills and bushland.
What photos I have been able to make were just those on the walk around sunrise. She is too young to wait for me whilst I set up a large format camera on a tripod on Rosetta Head and make a photo:
cup + saucer
Many of the early walks were around the Granite Island causeway as there were piles of seaweed along the beach which Maya played in and loved. It also tired her out so she would then walk along the beach with me.
The Japanese camera manufacturers currently reckon that the camera industry has stabilized after smart phones had wiped out the point and shoot camera market. They also hold that the future of the photographic is not just A1 generated imagery (in the form of text-to-image generators such as Midjourney) it is also video and not still photography. Hence the increasing shift to hybrid and video orientated cameras by implementing video features in camera because they judge that video will dominate the future over still images.
So here we go — a very brief and old unedited video from 2021 of the Hindmarsh River at Sawpit Rd in the Hindmarsh Valley. It was made with an old hand held iPhone 6, which probably is much more suitable for the popular Instagram Stories than v-blogging.
The full video can be seen here on the mostly dormant Thoughtfactory Youtube channel, which currently has no subscribers. That is understandable as there is very limited interesting content on that channel.
I have started to do a few early morning walks along the coast with Maya. As she is still just 11 weeks old we need to continue to avoid other dogs until she has her second round of injections at 12 weeks. So we start our morning walks before sunrise and are back at the Forester by around 7.30. We have been lucky as it is very quiet and there are few, if any, people walking along the coast around sunrise.
The early autumn mornings have been overcast with the cloud cover with the occasional light showers. It clears during the day and the late afternoons are characterised by blue skies, sunshine and light to medium coastal winds.
Maya, Whale Lookout, Waitpinga
We don’t walk that far from our starting point at the Kings Beach Whale lookout — not even to Dep’s Beach. Dep’s Beach like Petrel Cove, is still layered with dead baby carp from the River Murray, and as this is snack food for Maya we avoid the beaches, we stay on the clifftop path and find areas amongst the coastal vegetation for Maya to play around in.
Currently the early morning poodlewalks are very restricted as I am walking Maya, our new female standard silver pup who has replaced Kayla. This week the walks are on the small beach in front of Whalers Convention Centre and restaurant then on the selected beaches along the foreshore along Jetty Rd that runs along the foot of the eastern side of Rosetta Head.
Making portraits of Maya at 9 weeks is difficult, as she is constantly moving and only stays still for a few seconds. Video would probably be a more appropriate medium to use.