struggling with photography

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.

roadside vegetation, Heysen Trail
roadside vegetation, Heysen Trail

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.