Mallee Country

This was made whilst I was on a photocamp at Morgan in South Australia's Riverland  in November.  The camp was for  the Mallee Routes project and I was there with Gilbert Roe, a fellow collaborator on the project.    


I was travelling on the Sturt Highway  to Moorook to photograph dead trees on the edge of the River Murray.  I needed to build  up work for the forthcoming Mallee Routes exhibition at the Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery in March, 2018. 

Appearances

This is a photo of a section of a tin wall in  Myers Lane in Adelaide's CBD. 

This wall was just opposite where I used to live in the city, which  was in the process of change during the shift from  an industrial to a postindustrial or information capitalism. Our  image culture changes into a digital culture with this shift.  This  was a time of rapid technological change, due to the emergence of digital technologies, such as the computer,  the mobile phone,  the internet as a information superhighway,  computer generated imagery,  video surveillance in the shopping mall and the high tech Desert Storm of the Gulf War.       

This is a photography of appearances, of the look of things, the ephemeral, the particular. It is an older way of seeing  that is being dislodged by the post-photographic tendency in a digital culture  to  devalue and deny the representation of appearances and sight in favour of the emancipation of the image from its empirical moorings. 

Introduction : the post-photographic age?

This is the introduction to the book.

The impact of digital technology on photography  was initially seen in the 1990s as a threat to, and a  undermining of,  the practical tradition of visual representation of the photographic. This was usually expressed in terms of the death of photography, the loss of the real, and the emergence of the post-photographic age.

This kind of understanding  signified both a sense of the displacement of photographic practice by the use of digital technology and a sense of epochal change in our visual culture. Digital imagery meant  new ways of seeing based on a freedom from the  inherent constraints of automatism and realism that tied the analogue photographer to being a mere recorder of reality--a mirror held up to the world. The duality between the photography and  the digital image  is stark and it is understood in terms of technological means of production. 

chance

There is a view that film photography after digitalisation provides a way to create poetry because the convenience of digitalization  also tidies things up, correcting mistakes and eliminating chance.  If this analogue media of contemporary art  involves a backward glance to what has been, as we become ever more immersed in digital media, it also keeps photography  open to chance.  

You don't know what you are going to get with film, even when the photo has been carefully scoped and theme of the shoot  carefully selected.  

Tunbridge, Tasmania

The talk circa 2011 is that with the  analogue-to-digital shift to the last decade, film has died and digital photography opens up new horizons. The symbolic events are the end of Kodachrome in 2010 and the  blowing up of the Kodak  film plants in both Rochester and Chalon-sur-Saône. 

Whilst film aficionados lament a disappearing past, digital devotees are looking forward to endless expansion based on recycle, clip and cut, remix and upload.The argument is that it  took the death of film to fully liberate the medium from the paradigms of painting.

This image was made with an old Leica film camera whilst I was staying in Tunbridge in the Tasmania Midlands in 2017.  

I had just come back from spending several days  photographing in Queenstown whilst Suzanne and her friend were walking in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park.  We were staying at Tunbridge for a couple of days before we wen exploring the Tasman Peninsula.