When we were down at Victor Harbor last weekend Ari and I walked along the back country roads on one of our afternoon walks. It was quiet and peaceful with very little traffic–a healing walk through nature. It had been raining and the roadside vegetation looked green and refreshed. As we walked along I started taking a few photos whilst I waited for the sun to go behind a cloud for a large format shoot I had in mind.
There were no conversations on the country path but there was a poetic receptivity to place.
I find the Australian bush very hard to photograph and so I tried to simplify things as much as possible. ‘Walk down a country road on the Fleurieu Peninsula and take ten modernist photographs of pink gum and a Xanthorrhoea’ was the rule I set up. Ari was more interested in taking on the bulls.
In performing this instruction I thought that most writing on Australian photography was in the art history mode that assumed artistic autonomy, authorial agency, medium specificity and its conventions. The photographic art historians –eg., Helen Ennis and Gael Newton— make little or no reference to conceptual art and its core idea that the locus of the work was deemed to be the idea or statement with the work being a performance of that statement.