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.
The architectonic of these projects as it were, is that all of these projects are connected in that they emerge out of the daily poodlewalks and are on the Posthaven publishing platform . All the above mentioned other projects are sub-projects of Fleurieuscapes. Anabranches as it were. Or members of a specific family.
Conceptualizing the Fleurieu Peninsula
as a place is a major shift in the way that I understand the project, because I initially conceptualised it as being about photography and landscape
in contrast to photographng the urban environment of Adelaide.
Place as in 'where I have made my home' is how the people who live on the coast understand this coastal space. My understanding of place comes from Jeff Malpas,
who, in his Place and Experience,
said that place is a gathering of people and things (i.e. a definite situation) that is simultaneously bounded and distinctive yet opens to the world and is open to the world.
So what am I trying to do with my coastal-based photographic practice about this place? I dunno at this stage, even though I realise that photography is, arguably, as space- or place-based as it is time based, 'Place' is such a big category as it covers all sorts of subject matter. Trying to represent what it really looks like is beyond the capacity of photography as Joerg Colberg points out.
The representation of this place is going to be biased, since photography is based on the process of selection, on the artist’s ability and willingness to make decisions, to prefer one thing over another and in the way they edit their archive of photos for an exhibition or book. So it is a showing of photos of a particular place from a particular perspective within the Anthropocene, given the decisive influence of humankind on the state, dynamics and future of the planet. The Anthropocene quashes any residual's attempts to maintain nature’s “otherness.
The idea of landscape in photographic culture has recently been expanded (inflated?) to include the urban environment
, but, even though the concept of landscape is a historically complex one, I want to keep the urbanscape or city
separate from the concept of the landscape. The conceptual shift from landscape to place, which incorporates nature and urban, is to a locality that I also call home. To be at home here means belonging; or being inside a place. On this account place is no longer just a backdrop for human lives.
This place that I belong to is a locality that has become familiar to me. So how do I show something that is interesting when the streets of the Victor Harbor township have little in the way of vitality? I am often the only person walking through them early in the morning. I am really struggling to find a form to articulate something significant about this subject matter. In the first instance I need to make the familiar unfamiliar. The history of what is familiar is that of settler capitalism and this history in some ways is like a foreign country, in that it is unknown.