Throughout the winter of 2023 I would often spend an hour or so wandering through the local Waitpinga bushland with Kayla on an early morning poodlewalk. I'd be walking in the bushland just after sunrise, and whilst walking I started a bark series with the Leica M4-P. It would be one camera, one lens, one film and it would centre on the ontology of the object in the present moment. The bark is so mundane, that if we encounter it in everyday life, we would barely register it.
There are some earlier photos that preceded this series as a conscious walking art project, and they can be interpreted as pointing to what was to become. These early photos can be viewed here and here and here. Oh, and here. They emerged from drifting --from becoming lost in the bushland, being responsive to chance and to circumstance, and privileging the reactivity of the walk itself.
It is a low key walking art series, which explores the ephemera of the mundane bark peeling off the trunks and branches of the pink gums; or the piles of bark lying on the ground. The transience of the bark, its decay and disintegration (ie., perishability) is one of the more recognisable aspects of the flux, or the constant change in the bushland apart from the occasional fallen tree. It was slow walking whilst keeping an eye out for foxes, kangaroos, and rabbits so I could prevent Kayla from chasing them.
The series as a walking art project is premised on a meditative walking and seeing (of being in the ephemeral present) and on the photography being simple. It is underpinned by Japanese aesthetics, with its minimalist approach and complex and sophisticated categories with multiple interpretations (eg., wabi-wabi). It is a modest, walking art project that is contrary, or offside to, the currently fashionable photographic approach to make hero mages that celebrates the photographer's vision.