This kind of photographing is a slow process. Most of the locations that I select and scope with a digital camera, and think that they could well work for large format, usually turn out to be duds after I’ve sat on them for a few days. This is a scoped image for a possible large format photo session:
Could these roadside photographs be interpreted as a stepping into the post colonial? A way to engage with the experience of colonialism and its past and present effects, both at the local level of an ex-colonial society and at the level of a more general global developments thought to be the after-effects of empire. The aftermath of settlement as it were? The underside of empire? The conditions under imperialism and colonialism proper, as well as the conditions coming after the historical end of colonialism.
Is there a way for photography to explore the complex colonial encounter? Literature is usually emphasised in postcolonial studies –eg., exploring Australian literature as a postcolonial literature. What then of photography? Can photographers make pictures from a postcolonial theoretical perspective? Can we talk in terms of a postcolonial photography as we do with a post colonial literature? Should we?
Colonial photography in Australia has been caught up in empire in that it had helped to produce knowledge about aboriginal Australians for the imperial centre and graphically demonstrated colonial Australia’s brutal treatment of First Nations peoples. Photography was an integral part of the colonial gaze. It often structures a scene to erase the violence of Indigenous-settler relations to depict settler colonization as a benevolent intervention.
There is not that much native bush or scrub left after the land had been cleared by settlers for agriculture and grazing in South Australia in the nineteenth century. Can agriculture provide a link between colony and empire? The stripped land is more obvious on the western side of the Fleurieu Peninsula. Maybe I should start to photograph those bare rolling hill on that side of the peninsula. I do need to expand my horizons.
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