That briefness made it difficult to do large format photography since the equipment took quite some time to set up. Though I made several large format photos during the winter with their very long exposures, I mostly used a hand held digital camera. It was easier to use in the low light situation. Most of the mornings were not suitable.
The digital camera is the right instrument as the momentary click of the shutter is bound to the ephemeral moment of time.
Photographing in the low light of the early morning is at odds with photography’s history of in Australia which started from embracing Australia’s clear, bright sunlight as opposed to the sombre grey days pictures of Great Britain. I was purposely avoiding the clear bright sunshine that many in the early 20th century thought should ground an Australian school of photography.
I had no interest in the nation, an Australian school of photography based on the distinct qualities of its light, or the sun as a key symbol of national identity. Those were the concerns of photographers in the early 20th century. Mine in the early 21st century were the fleeting moments of the light that was happening around me whilst I was walking along the coastal edge of Encounter Bay.
If the walking art photos are about place (Encounter Bay), then what has gone into history’s dustbin are the mythologies of a unique Australian light that was a symbol of the nation, or a symbol of a liberal republic governed by reason. There are no symbols in these photos of momentary, natural processes. Nor do they explore the spiritual or subjective in liminal spaces.
Light moves fast but I was less interested with light in motion than light’s momentary relationship between sea and cloud around sunrise. Momentary because the process of changes in the relationship between sea and cloud was for my video camera, not the still camera.
If poodlewalks and the photography are everyday activities, then the creative photography, unlike creative writing, takes place within the frame of walking in everyday life, and not sitting at a desk in front of a computer. This walking is a being-in-the-world with its bodily responses to the play of light –the act of representing through photography is understood to be in and of the world. It is an embodied practice with an attentive involvement through a bodily openness to the becomings in the natural world.
The light walking art project emerged when I made a distinction between walking as a primary activity with taking photos whilst walking —a good example is here— and having a primary focus for the photos– such as light — whilst walking. The landscape is not a blank canvas or vacuum since the route chosen for the poodlewalk depends on the nature of the clouds and light around the first light of the morning. If the conditions look as if they would become suitable 20 minutes or so latter, then we walk to and climb Rosetta Head to look east across Encounter Bay. Or we walk along Jetty Road between the sea and the base of Rosetta Head.
f they don’t look as if they wont become suitable for photographing light, then we walk elsewhere.