Bald Hills

We went for a an exploratory drive through the hills of the Fleurieu Peninsula  towards Yankalilla to become more familiar with the back country roads in our local region. I  used  the trip in this place  to scope some  future photographic possibilities. Yankalilla is  on the western side of the Peninsula.  It is not often that we venture to the western Fleurieu Peninsula. 

 We started the trip driving along the roads that were familiar with --the ones that Suzanne had walked along when she did the Heysen Trail (Tugwell Rd + Keen Rd).  Then we turned west  along Hancock Rd and  spent a bit of time wandering around,  and exploring,  the ruins of this  Congressional Church at Bald Hills on Hancock Rd. It was our only stop on the trip  to Yankallila.      

After leaving the ruins of the church we  continued  along Hancock Rd,  turned right into  Mayfield Rd, then left into the  Inman Valley Rd, which runs east/west across the Peninsula.  We drove west along the Inman Valley Rd to the outskirts of the Yankalilla township.   We turned  around before entering the Yankalilla township,   drove back along the Inman Valley Rd before  turning into Torrens Vale Rd. We then  drove along  Parawa Rd up  to Range Rd, which is one of the main east west roads across the Peninsula.  

strange appearances

The  coast of the  southern Fleurieu Peninsula  can be quite wild and dangerous  especially when the weather is rough or stormy:

When I am walking  in those conditions I experience the coastal landscape as dark and strange. Hence  my attempts with granite,  or rock pools to find a way to represent the dark and the strange without embracing a mystical version of the noumenal world. 

This image, for instance,  is an attempt to make the coastal landscape along the southern Fleurieu Peninsula  dark and strange without going mystical  --ie referring to a noumenal world of processes, forms, or ideas  that lies behind the phenomenal world that  is experienced by us. 

The noumenal world can be  invoked when trying to explain the phenomenal, by describing the underlying causes  of the phenomenal through theoretical reason.  Thus theoretical natural science refers to a world of  molecules, atoms, electrons, quarks, the curvature of space-time, black holes, the Big Bang, etc. However, this is not the world of objects in space and time (eg.,rocks, sea, seaweed, rock pools  etc) that I daily experience with my  senses when  I am on a  poodlewalk. 

granite formation, Kings Head

This picture is from the archives. It  was made in 2013 at Kings Head, Waitpinga, just below Kings Beach Retreats.  We were still living in Adelaide's CBD at the time,  and coming down to Encounter Bay every second weekend. 

This  photo session incorporated  a poodlewalk to Kings Head  from the car park at Kings Head Rd   and back again. This walk  is part  of the Heysen Trail  to Waitpinga Beach in the Newland Heads Conservation Park,  and then to the Trail's starting point at  Cape Jervis.      

 I remembered this image when I uploaded  this digital version, which was made 5 years latter as a scoping study. The above  picture  is a 5x4 scanned colour file  that has been converted into black and white. So I had already made the 5x4 picture (along with several medium format versions made in the same year) that I was scoping for in January 2018.  My memory was that the previous 5x4 attempt hadn't been successful--people said they didn't think much of the image -- so I felt that I needed to  have another go.    Hence the  digital scoping. 

a series of small photobooks boxed

Lately, I have been thinking about stepping  beyond  the boundaries of this Fleurieuscapes  blog that doesn't really go anywhere.  I have been thinking  along the lines of  having  another  solo exhibition,  or of producing a photobook.  I have enough material,  and my thinking has been that the book is primary  and the exhibition is secondary, in that the latter  could be used to  launch the  photo book.  

Judging from my experience with the previous Fleurieuscapes exhibition,  exhibitions with framed  prints are expensive,  they  have a short existence,  and they are quickly forgotten. Few are the memories of them.  So it doesn't really add up. However, an  exhibition could be used as a platform to launch a  photo book,  thereby  making  the latter  known to the public at the opening.  Distribution is the really big problem with photobooks and launching the book at  the  opening night of the exhibition would help.  

If so, then it  is really becomes a question of how to organize the material in a photobook. It needs to  have  an idea to distinquish it from all the other photobooks being produced.  The one that I  have toyed with in the past  a topological thinking is  the idea of place--that is, my experiences of  being in a place that  is the southern Fleurieu Peninsula.  In Heideggerian language to be is to be in place. So it is being -at-home-in-a place.  

Photography, after all,  is a way of collecting experiences, whilst  the book is a way of moving photography away from the  white walls of  the art gallery.  In this case  a photography of a limited situatedness of existence in a place  that is a series of events or processes  in  an open region .

belonging place

This picture was made on an early autumn morning along Franklin Parade in Encounter Bay, Victor Harbor. Franklin Parade  runs close to the beach, and it is where  the old beachside houses from the 20th century are rapidly  being replaced with the larger two story ones. 

I was on a poodlewalk with Kayla along the Encounter Bay beach.  It  was just after sunrise:

Encounter Bay is now my belonging place (home) in the sense that this is where my self belongs. It is where my identity formation as a photographer has formed. A sense of grounding in place provides a solid basis on which to build a sense of identity. This carries with it a sense of responsibility of caring for place that feeds back into, and reinforces, the cohesion of a sense of place. It implies how we as a geographically bounded community collectively learn to live with one another on this earth. 

Fleurieuscapes as place not landscape

As I mentioned in this post on the poodlewalks  blog,  I have neglected the Fleurieuscapes project because of my focus on other projects.  Though I  have been plugging away  in a desultory and sporadic fashion, but I really unsure of what I am trying to do with this body of work from my coastal-based photographic practice. Photography, I've realised is good at showing and lousy at explaining.  So what an I going to show? 

The project is about place, and it is different to the Littoral Zone, Abstraction and Tree projects, even if it  does incorporate the odd image from these other projects. Place in the sense of the space of the Fleurieu Peninsula, where people live and have  made this space  their home. So  though Fleurieuscapes  incorporates  nature it also looks at the built environment at a specific historical moment.   

seascapes

One of the dominate features of the coastline of the southern Fleurieu Peninsula is the movement of the southern ocean  along the shoreline. My access to the shoreline is set by the tides and the waves. The sea dumps  the dead birds and  fish,  the seaweed, shells,  and the flotsam on the beach or amongst the granite rock, and it then washes them away.   

It is the sea as well as the winds that represents the flux of the shore, and shifts the sand on the beaches at Petrel Cove and at Dep's Beach.  The sea is also  an ever-present danger.  

 Despite the Fleurieu Peninsula having a long geological history there are no fossils of extinct boneless animals  in the rocks along the granite coast, as is the case amongst the limestone cliffs of the treeless Nullarbor Plain. 

However, the sea has been a crucial in the land-forming process in the Fleurieu Peninsula's  geological history. What  largely accounts for the shape and extent of the Fleurieu Peninsula and its  Inman River catchment was glaciation of Antarctic proportions that occurred about 300 million years ago when the Antarctic continent was welded against southern Australia. The Peninsula was  shaped by the folding and faulting from the Permian  glaciation,  which affected much of Australia around 300 million years ago. 

The ice mass  ground its way across the Fleurieu landscape,  and it was channelled through the pre-glacial bedrock valley, such as  the Inman Trough. The Peninsula and its  Inman River catchment was overridden by a continental ice sheet  from the south west, and it moved in a northwesterly direction carving through and across the bedrock. 

Hindmarsh estuary

Though the  Hindmarsh River doesn't flow during the summer time its  estuary  is still one of my  favourite spots  in Victor Harbor: 

This part of the coast of Victor Harbor has one of its  most popular  beaches:--the Hayborough beach, which is  very popular with families during the summer holidays.  It is also popular for people who enjoy walking along the beach the beginning and the end of the day. 

towards a beach culture

The view that  bush culture has been the dominant culture in colonial Australia overlooks  the culture  of the beach and the coast.The coast  is neither land or sea, nature or culture, but partakes of both.  

The part of the coast that I walk is not the beach--it is between  Petrel Cove  and Kings Beach which  are  surf beaches with sandy foreshores.  An image of Petrel Cove:

This is a coastal environment where are there few people along the rocks of the foreshore.  Most people stroll along the path of the Heritage Trail along  the cliff top and only a few venture down to the rocks below. 

So there is a sense in which the freedom of the beach (it is public property)  extends to the rock foreshore. The  immediate hinterland behind the path is farming land--ie., private property.  What happens when the farm is eventually sold? 

It is divided up into smaller blocs--10 acres--which become holiday places that are often for  rent

an alienated art

If the Fleurieuscapes  book is to be centred around a  poetics of homecoming---with its associated words of  dwelling, place, region, abiding and building, then  the various words need to be unpacked. 

Firstly, we need to unpack what is  is meant by  poetics. It is broader than poetry in that it implies  a creative act that points to something beyond itself.  This  refers to poiesis or a bringing into being:  an unending creative struggle to express that which conditions and informs our worlds of meaning and yet resists being exhaustively articulated in the terms of these worlds. 

How does this conception of  poetics   relate to visual art including  photography? 

The starting point  would have  to be Kant,  since it was he who first  systematically outlined the logical grammar or conceptual machinery of  aesthetics though his categorical separation of knowledge /truth as in the natural sciences,  morality and aesthetic in modernity into separate domains.   In the Critique of Judgement Kant acknowledges that scientific cognition excludes aspects of ourselves from its view of nature  and that this must be accounted in other than cognitive terms. 

He does this in terms of an aesthetics that is based on the imagination, autonomous art,  intuition, aesthetic ideas, taste  and the lack of concept.  Kant, in other words, in inscribing art with the autonomous domain of the aesthetic relegates art and aesthetics to what is outside truth and goodness. Autonomous art is autonomous from truth and morality.