My days during the first week of October have been spent in front of my old iMac computer struggling to get The Bowden Archives and Industrial Modemity into shape as a book project. The roots of the project are in an unfinished MA (in images and dissertation) at Flinders University in the 1980s. Unfinished because I’d put it and the photography to one side to do a PhD in philosophy.
The title of the proposed book has been recently changed in response to criticism that the original title The Bowden Archives and Other Marginalia was very misleading because it down played the non-Bowden sections.
I have been working on, and reworking, the No Longer, Not Yet text for the Roadtrips photo gallery, as this text has been causing me a lot of grief. I have only managed to produce a rough draft so far. Finally, this draft text does connect with the reset of the book, and at this stage, I am happy to count the small steps as big achievements. Giant steps in fact.
So there has been very little photography done over and above what was snapped whilst on the various poodlewalks:
Sometimes, on these walks, there were photo possibilities, other times there was nothing. It was pretty much hit and miss. Some days I don’t even bother taking the camera out of the car as I wanted to get the walk over quickly because I felt compelled to get back to the computer to keep working on the text. It’s like returning to being in PhD mode.
The weather is becoming warmer in September, with temperatures in the mid-20’s on some days. More people are starting to venture out in the morning.
It is not just those regulars who are out every morning rain, wind or cold. Other people are walking along the coastal trails, hanging out on the beaches, playing with their dogs and kids, or fishing and surfing.
Winter on the southern Fleurieu Peninsula was wet and stormy with high tides on the coast, making it difficult to access the coastal rocks and to photograph along the littoral zone and continue making abstractions. During July walking the poodles was limited to walking along the paths on top of the coastal cliffs between Petrel Cove and Kings Beach.
This image of seaweed lying on the rocks was made in early June when the tide was low enough to walk in the littoral zone in June. It was during July that we experienced the very high tides.
The photo was made just after we’d returned from the camel trek from Blinman to Lake Frome. I recall it being a joy to walk by the sea after 14 days in the arid Northern Flinders Ranges. Water there was scarce: the creeks were dry and there was just the odd water hole.
Does this start me on a pathway of becoming an (independent) artist researcher?
We try and walk in the morning and the afternoon in-between the showers and the squalls if we can. Sometimes we get caught. Other times the rain by passes us.
The photograph above is from Rosetta Head:— I have been walking to, over and from the Rosetta Head, in order to build up my cardio for walking in the Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park in late July/earlyAugust.
It is not often that I come across dried pools of salt along the littoral zone of the southern Fleurrieu Peninsula on the poodlewalks. High day temperatures, low tides and minimal coastal wind are required for the pools seawater to evaporate leaving the pools of dried salt:
The weather has changed in the last week. Though the gusty, coastal winds have continued, the day temperatures are lower, and the mornings and the evenings are cooler. There is now a briskness in the air in the early morning prior to sunrise, which is after 7am.
The picture below was made on an early morning walk along the Victor Harbor beach near Bridge Point and the mouth of the ephemeral Hindmarsh River. It is a popular spot for walkers.
Bridge Terrace is an older part of Victor Harbor. We were there on an early morning poodlewalk so that I could photograph the seaside architecture. Once that was done –there’s not that much to photograph — Kayla and I then wandered along the beach.
We are at the mid-February point of summer and the weather has been more of the same: cool and overcast with just the odd hot day with a north easterly wind. The hot weather started this week but it is forecasted to last for only several days this week — not the normal two weeks. Maybe that will come in March.
At the moment I ‘m running my film stock down before I make the major annual purchase through B+H in New York. I have only half a box of the 5×7 Kodak Portra 160 ASA left.
It’s been a matter of selecting the location, knowing the time the light shines on the trees, setting the camera up, then waiting for the light to shine through the trees at the required time. Often the moving cloud cover means that there is no sunlight. So the large format equipment is packed away in the Forester and I continue the poodlewalk with Kayla.
It has been a very cool summer so far. The days have been overcast and windy with occasional rain. We have only had the occasional hot summer day. Maybe a more normal summer will come during the months of February and March.
The picture below was snapped at 7am on a Sunday morning at Petrel Cove in January 24th). It is not a typical morning: it was humid, the temperature was in the high twenties, and there was no wind. It rained latter in the day.
An added dimension to the poodlewalks is that I am starting to train for the 14 day camel trek in late in May 2021 from Blinman to Lake Frome. This forthcoming camel trek is part of this project.
So I have started to walk to and over Rosetta Head, run up the steps twice at Petrel Cove, and increase the poodlewalks to 90 minutes. I’ve started doing the Rosetta Head route with Kayla on Sunday mornings when Suzanne is walking on her loop route. I really need to increase my cardio and to toughen up my feet.
Building up my strength and cardio is going to be long and slow as, unlike Suzanne, I am currently not going to the gym. My exercise levels and muscle strength have dropped unfortunately. These need to be substantially increased.
I realise that I have been walking with the standard poodles and making photos on these walks for several years now (both in the city of Adelaide and the foreshore of the southern Fleurieu Peninsula), without ever understanding that what I was doing was working within the tradition of walking art.
When I came across the walklistencreate website recently, I realized that what I was doing was a part of this artistic tradition — without being aware of it. I just walked and photographed naively, set up a blog, and occasionally thought about making a photobook from what had been produced. But I got no further.
I did understand that the poodlewalks were a means of generating photographic work, and that this shaped my minimal approach to the post processing of the picture — ie., avoiding the glossing, toning and filtering to visual enhance the digital image.
What I wasn’t doing was consciously making an art piece or work — photos, sound, writing — for others to view, read, or listen to. I hadn’t gone beyond various blog posts, such as the ones on poodlewalks, or those on the Littoral Zone , to consciously view walking as a catalyst for my photographic practice. What I was naively inching towards was a marriage of writing and imagery in a photographic culture where most photographic bodies of work contain either no text or if there is text then its role is very severely limited.