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.
Suzanne has been away in Brisbane this past week and so Kayla, Maleko and myself have been hanging out at Kings Beach and Kings Head. There is no one around here apart from the Heysen Trail walkers making their way back to their cars parked at the Kings Beach Rd lookout. That lockout has become a bit of a destination.
If Australians adhere to social distancing, if testing can be rolled out, and if enough masks and personal protection equipment can be produced, then there is a good chance that the country will be able to avert the worst predictions about COVID-19, and at least temporarily bring the pandemic under control. No one knows how long that will take, and though the curve of new cases is flattening, it won’t be quick.
Meanwhile the economy tanks. The global economic machine is built for growth, and it has been brought to a screeching halt. The economic shock has seen unemployment rise, businesses close down, and a grim economic global and national outlook for the rest of 2020. Civil liberties have been significantly curtailed, parliament adjourned, and the normal operations of the media are greatly restricted, meaning that it is more difficult for the public to access reliable information. Realistically, is simply not possible to thoroughly insulate an economy from the impact of a pandemic of this kind.
The most realistic scenario is that the world plays a protracted game of whack-a-mole with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, stamping out outbreaks here and there until a vaccine can be produced. There are no existing vaccines for coronaviruses—until now, these viruses seemed to cause diseases that were mild or rare—so researchers must start from scratch. The estimate is that it will take 12 to 18 months to develop a proven vaccine, and then longer still to make it, ship it, and inject it into people’s arms.
On a recent late afternoon walk with Maleko I sat quietly amongst these rocks in the littoral zone just east of Kings Beach Rd in Waitpinga. It was a warm evening, Maleko was looking for golf balls, and I was looking at the light on the rock before the sun disappeared behind the hill.
It was a quiet moment and, whilst I sat there , I had a sense of belonging to this landscape–being a part of it as it were; rather than just walking through it, being separate from it, and taking photos of what caught my eye. I felt the spray on my face, the wind on my arms, and the sun on my back, whilst the waves of the incoming tide gently rolled around my feet. It was a space where I could immerse myself in the moment.