tag:thoughtfactory.posthaven.com,2013:/posts Thoughtfactory: The Fleurieuscapes project 2021-05-11T00:06:57Z Gary Sauer-Thompson tag:thoughtfactory.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1689427 2021-05-10T23:45:17Z 2021-05-11T00:06:57Z Petrel Cove: dusk

This snapshot was made after returning from a late afternoon poodlewalk in late April. Suzanne had returned from a trip to Eyre Peninsula so I didn't need to walk the two poodles and so I was able to spend more time making photos on the walk, rather than keeping an eye on the poodles.  I did  a number of cloud studies whilst on  the poodlewalk. 

There was no one around at the time,   which is unusual,   as Petrel Cove  is a popular tourist  location in the late afternoon.  I was reversing the car from the car park to drive home  and made the snapshot  through the windscreen. It was just before I left for the Melbourne trip. 

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:thoughtfactory.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1672337 2021-03-30T07:13:16Z 2021-04-02T00:16:46Z cloud studies

During the transition from summer to autumn this year I started a  study of clouds from the top of Rosetta Head in the southern Fleurieu Peninsula.   I was building on these earlier photos. 

From Rosetta Head I was usually  looking east north east.    

The clouds were above Encounter Bay,  and the photos were  made  in the early morning,  generally  before sunrise. The photo above  is an example. 

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:thoughtfactory.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1652017 2021-02-09T22:52:17Z 2021-02-09T23:22:51Z Victor Harbor's seaside architecture #3

On Boxing Day 2020 Kayla and I went walking early as we had friends staying with us over Xmas. The  early morning poodlewalk  was along Bridge Terrace in Victor Harbor. We   slowly made our way to the mouth of the Hindmarsh River.  The ephemeral river had stopped flowing,  the light was good and people were already walking along, and exercising on,   the beach   

I decided to take the odd  photo of some of the seaside houses along Bridge Terrace as we walked by them.   This older house in a grand style at no. 22 Bridge Terrace was for sale.

 Would it remain after it was sold? Or would it be pulled down? I  hoped that it was heritage listed as there are very examples of this  old grand seaside architectural style. 

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:thoughtfactory.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1615109 2020-11-11T00:23:35Z 2021-02-09T08:10:16Z still life

I occasionally  make a still life when I'm out walking with Kayla on an early morning poodlewalk. The materials used in the open studio are what I find washed up on the local beaches. This  picture is a  recent example of such an object: 

This  glass bottle with shells growing on it was lying on the sand on western edge of Depledge Beach, west of Victor Harbor. The picture opens up  a world (the littoral zone) and it discloses the various elements within that world's network of interconnections.  The artwork stands in a particular place and in specific relation to that which is configured around it. So argues Heidegger in his essay,  'The Origin of the Work of Art'. 

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:thoughtfactory.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1605487 2020-10-18T03:01:16Z 2020-11-11T00:10:38Z clouds

The cloud formations  that move  across Encounter Bay  around Victor Harbor are often quite dramatic.  

The photos  of the clouds are usually made  from on top of Rosetta Head in the early morning:

The  cloud shapes are constantly changing. 

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:thoughtfactory.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1603057 2020-10-11T05:12:11Z 2020-10-11T06:01:33Z seaside entertainment

During the school holidays a funfair or amusement park is set up near the causeway to Granite Island. It is a tiny public space for Girder Family Amusements: a space between the holding pens for the horse drawn carriage to the Granite Island Recreation Park and the barbecue area  in the Soldiers Memorial Gardens. 

But a seaside town must have a funfair with its  ferris wheel, dodgem cars,  inflatable double slides etc etc. It is tradition--just like the horse drawn carriage to Granite Island and the Cockle train to Goolwa. There for the family day tourists.

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:thoughtfactory.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1561513 2020-06-19T01:22:59Z 2021-02-09T08:11:11Z Victor Harbor's seaside architecture #2

Below  are some more  images in the ongoing series of  suburban architecture at Victor Harbor in South Australia.  These photos, which   were made just prior to the Covid-19 lockdown whilst I was on an early morning poodlewalk with Kayla. They are part of  photography as placemaking.

This is at a time when the global digital photographic market  is contracting and stagnating,  resulting in  Olympus selling off their camera business (a Micro 4/3 system) to a private equity firm.  Covid-19 has  increased the stagnation as  it  has bought photography to more or less  a standstill since February 2020.  One  consequence is that there will inevitably  be  more consolidation in the camera industry and that  the  emphasis  of  my photography  is  on the local due to national travel restricted  and international travel untenable. There will be more  walking locally.  

This white house is on the western end of The Esplanade. It overlooks the beach, is opposite a caravan park and it is  near the mouth of the ephemeral Inman River. Kayla and I  often walk past it on the return leg of the  walk that we do along the Esplanade beach from Kent Reserve.  

 This house is at the other  end of The Esplanade and it looks out to Granite Island. 

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:thoughtfactory.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1552856 2020-06-02T02:31:01Z 2021-02-09T08:11:46Z Victor Harbor's seaside architecture #1

Prior to the Covid-19 lockdown  Kayla and I went on an early morning  poodlewalk   around  the streets that border the estuary, lagoon  and mouth of the Hindmarsh River. This is an older,  residential part of Victor Harbor  and it overlooks  the railway line to the river port town of Goolwa, the beach  and Encounter Bay. The houses are on a hill and their  view of Encounter Bay includes Granite Island. 

An early part  of the walk on this occasion was  the western part of the suburb of Hayborough. This is a well established part of Victor Harbor with many of the houses tucked away amongst the bush overlooking the Hindmarsh estuary and so difficult to photograph.  Privacy is everything for the old Adelaide money.   Fortunately, this particular house  is not tucked away: 

Another part of  our  walk was  along Bridge Terrace in Victor Harbor that   is just west of the mouth of  Hindmarsh River  This residential part of Victor Harbor overlooks a reserve and Encounter Bay, and runs from the the Granite Island causeway  to Bridge PoInt, which   overlooks the estuary and mouth of the Hindmarsh River

The purpose of the poodlewalk was to have a break from both  walking the back country roads  and  photographing the coastal rocks. landscape.  I also wanted  to  photograph some of  the residential  architecture  before some of these fine,   old buildings are pulled down to make way for the newer double storey  McMansion style homes.  

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:thoughtfactory.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1535709 2020-04-26T05:49:14Z 2020-04-28T05:47:34Z Land and landscape

The  landscape b+w picture below of roadside vegetation in Waitpinga on the southern Fleurieu Peninsula is from the archives. It was recently shared with the Melbourne-based Friends of Photography Group (FOPG).  

The subtext of landscape art in Australia has been resolutely national; indeed, national identity—the Australianness of Australian  art--tacitly assumed the primacy of the nation. I would have thought that the concept of empire would be central,  since Australia was part of  the British empire.  An example would be the early colonial painters such as John Glover,  who struggled to reconcile the Australian landscape with the confines of the picturesque, the dominant landscape aesthetic of the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. The picturesque was in effect the visual language of the colonisers--it highlighted the beauty rather than the hardships of imperial lands, depicting colonial Australia as a land ripe for settlement. 

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:thoughtfactory.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1513604 2020-02-25T23:28:57Z 2020-03-02T11:10:38Z outcrop, near Kings Head

This landscape picture is of a rocky outcrop just west of Kings Head in Waitpinga on the southern Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia. It  was made on an early morning poodlewalk that Kayla and I did.  We hadn't been to this  location  to photograph since the autumn of 2019.  

It was  an overcast morning in late summer, on the cusp of summer and autumn. It was after a storm had just passed through Victor Harbor a few days earlier. The outcrop is on the Heysen Trail, but it  can only be accessed when  the  tide is low.   

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:thoughtfactory.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1499358 2020-01-15T10:56:23Z 2020-01-15T11:20:56Z seaside architecture #1

Domestic coastal architecture  is primarily a  space for living within. Traditionally the buildings are sparse and  functional. They are summer holiday houses simply built.   Their exteriors are so ordinary as to pass unnoticed. 

At Encounter Bay the 1940-50s houses  are slowly being pulled down and  grander  seaside designs are being built. 51 Franklin Parade, Encounter Bay is a recent example:

The old summer holiday house has been replaced by a house for people  to permanently  live in.  Victor Harbor is changing. Sea change is starting to  influence the style of architecture. 

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:thoughtfactory.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1469580 2019-10-24T07:12:52Z 2019-10-26T03:17:35Z roadside vegetation: a study

I have been slowly photographing the roadside vegetation in my local area on the southern Fleurieu Peninsula with large format cameras--in this case  a 5x4 Linhof Technika IV. This kind of slow photography  is an attempt to photograph nature whilst avoiding  working within the tradition of wilderness photography, which is where a lot of large format photographers in Australia have situated themselves and their work.

The roadside vegetation subject matter  is often mundane, ordinary and boring. It requires a lot of scoping to find something  that is  suitable to photograph,  and  I basically do the scoping whilst I am on my daily poodle walks along back country roads. These  walks allow me to become familiar with the bush and  early morning light during the autumn, winter and early spring months.   

This particular tree study emerged from my frequent early morning poodle walks along Baum Rd in  Waitpinga  It's a no exit road that runs between agricultural /grazing fields and it leads to  farms and  holiday houses along the coastal edge  of the Waitpinga  Cliffs. This minimal traffic means that this  road  is ideal for early morning poodle walks.

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:thoughtfactory.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1428730 2019-07-07T08:31:19Z 2019-07-08T03:12:53Z 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.  

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:thoughtfactory.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1420121 2019-06-14T00:05:39Z 2019-06-14T11:03:43Z 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. 

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:thoughtfactory.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1416250 2019-06-04T03:17:28Z 2019-06-04T05:49:30Z 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. 

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:thoughtfactory.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1395483 2019-04-09T06:45:53Z 2019-04-11T10:08:44Z 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 .

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:thoughtfactory.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1354112 2018-12-17T00:04:47Z 2018-12-20T23:58:33Z 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. 

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:thoughtfactory.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1274104 2018-04-18T04:12:25Z 2018-04-19T09:32:24Z 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.   

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:thoughtfactory.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1203970 2017-11-08T03:23:13Z 2017-11-08T10:33:37Z 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. 

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:thoughtfactory.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1189916 2017-09-09T09:18:42Z 2017-09-09T09:42:47Z 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. 

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:thoughtfactory.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1172133 2017-07-10T11:40:48Z 2019-04-11T10:07:34Z 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

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:thoughtfactory.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1168701 2017-06-29T03:21:02Z 2017-07-15T01:18:56Z 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. 

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:thoughtfactory.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1167925 2017-06-27T01:43:30Z 2017-06-29T08:45:30Z the poetics of homecoming

I have tentatively started to develop the idea of photographing the fleeting moments in the ordinary  into a  poetics of homecoming.  What I have in mind is that my photographing humble things--an example is this body of work  by Yamamoto Masao ----- emerges into a concern with homecoming in response to the  state of homelessness in our contemporary world. 

Homecoming can be considered along the lines  of an overcoming of the state of homelessness. The philosophic conception of  the homeless condition has its roots in Nietzsche's discourse on  nihilism in modernity, which he understood in terms of  the emptying out of the highest values hitherto. 

Nietzsche's account is that  the erosion of the highest values hitherto means that these values are  losing influence and meaning  for us,  and  that we have fallen out of the traditional stories or grand narratives.   We are uprooted, and live  a nomadic existence in a world without  certainty, value, or purpose. We  have dispensed with all the prevailing ideals, values  and myths that traditionally  provide solace. We  are  no longer at home anywhere, and there is a  longing for a place in which they can be at home. Hence the state of homesickness with its nostalgic aching for a home where we belong.   

Homecoming is an at-homeness,  whilst  the poetics (as poiesis) is a form of mediative thinking about the presence of place.   This is contrast with the  poet/photographer  being in exile, always remaining in the foreign, and in a constant state of exodus ( as held by  Maurice Blanchot and Gilles Deleuze). ]]>
Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:thoughtfactory.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1164722 2017-06-17T04:09:35Z 2017-06-18T04:33:54Z fleeting moments in the ordinary

If  my low key approach to the local Fleurieu  landscape + seascapes  has been one of immersion or absorption within  the remnant scrub, country roads,  and coastal rocks, then the pictures that emerge from this are of the moments in my  ordinary,  everyday world. They are  pictures of vignettes and  moments  that are fleeting and often missed. 

Then it dawned on me.  This is not a project based work.  Therein lies the problem I have been having. I have been trying to make it a project based work and it just hasn't worked.    So I pushed the work into the archives where it lay forgotten.  I felt embarrassed by it.       

They are simple pictures of the present moment of things that are modest and humble--eg., seaweed and rocks as in this picture. They are of   things that are imperfect, impermanent, incomplete, weathered.   These are pictures of the present as the seaweed would have disappeared on the next days walk and the rocks would be covered with seawater.

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:thoughtfactory.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1160385 2017-06-04T02:04:44Z 2017-06-04T03:06:17Z a visual regime

I realised that my low key approach to the local Fleurieu  landscape has been one of immersion or absorption within  the remnant scrub. An example of this kind of crafting of the image:

This is at odds with the detached, disembodied  neutral observer with an objective and ahistorical vision--what is known as Cartesian perspectivalism----which  has been  common  in, or central to,  mainstream photographic discourse.   This perspectvalism or visual regime combines the Renaissance notions of perspective with  the  Cartesian ideas of a disembodied,  subjective rationality in which the eye and its gaze are foundationally allied with transparency,  operating as the abstract vanishing point of Renaissance perspective.  Subjective rationality underpins photography.  

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:thoughtfactory.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1159861 2017-06-02T03:39:45Z 2017-06-03T05:40:55Z landscape, writing, photography

I am really struggling with this Fleurieuscapes  project.

 I am not sure what to do with it,  I am not very confident about the project and  progress is very slow:  I have only got as far as dividing the  photo book into two parts---scrub/bush  and coastal.  I continue to make photos in and around my Fleurieu neighbourhood in Victor Harbor--- these currently emerge out of  my scoping whilst on the  poodle walks, but  I am not doing every much with translating these photos  into a photobook.   

I also realise that the project  has become situated in the  landscape, writing and photography nexus,  as  I accept that  the landscape is a kind of text, in that it is 'represented ' in a number of different ways by its inhabitants  and artists. The landscape  is thus a cultural construct with a certain kind of narrative, which in 20th century Australia, has traditionally been one about national identity.  I am comfortable in finding myself working withn the landscape, writing and photography nexus. 

Maybe my lack of confidence is because  whilst  the  accounts of our literary and painted landscapes are common and influential,   photography has tended to be characterised as a footnote to the history of painting. There is also the difficulties involved that result from the differences between a  visual and a written medium--I realise that traditionally words and images are established as not merely different, but antithetical. Thirdly,  photographic landscapes seemed to have been caught up in the old genres---the picturesque,  the pastoral and the aerial.

Sarah Hill has pointed out that  the theoretical complications of the relationship between landscape, writing, and photography  have only been explored in a sketchy fashion.   Maybe that is why I am floundering  with this project/book?  What I do know is  that I am not really sure how to move  away from  the old landscape genres---ie., the picturesque,  the pastoral and the aerial.   

 One possibility that I have come across is the pathway suggested by  Marion Marrison's  1979  Bonnet Hill Bush series, which consists of a number of photographs of  a patch of suburban scrub near where she lived in Tasmania. As Martin Jolly observes:

"Marrison found a microcosmic Australia literally in her own backyard. And rather than imposing a geometry on it, she finds a geometry within it, visually curating the fallen trunks and branches into an order which registers her own personal point of view, and her own presence as an aesthetic appreciator immersed in the environment — however modestly scaled."

The series takes the viewer deep inside the scrub with the  camera  focused on the ground, picking out fragments of fallen branches, twigs  and foliage. So there is no horizon line or clear sense of scale. 

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:thoughtfactory.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1138563 2017-03-14T09:42:51Z 2017-03-14T10:16:19Z degraded agricultural landscapes

Sadly,  a lot  of Australia's agricultural landscapes are in the grip of a slow death. It's not just the clear felling of the woodlands  or the   loss of life, that is species (plants and animals) extinction either.  There is also drastic loss in life support systems.  

The plagues of rabbits (introduced to the continent with the first fleet) invaded the rangelands, eating all the vegetation and leaving the soils exposed to wind and rain. Overgrazing by cattle and sheep, particularly during periods of drought, exacerbated problems; in areas where rabbits never flourished, cattle seem to have been equally effective in denuding the country.

 Much of the one quarter of Australia that is not rangelands is being intensively farmed. There is salinity, in many places, and acidity in others, both of which are devastating this farm land.

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:thoughtfactory.posthaven.com,2013:Post/974527 2016-01-20T07:43:24Z 2016-01-21T08:29:02Z intimate landscapes

This photo is made from an  ecological perspective on the landscapes that have been produced by the economic development of settler capitalism.    Today there is only scattered remnant vegetation left from the clearance  for agricultural production in the Fleurieu Peninsula. It's not  a pretty picture. 

The photo of an intimate landscape --dead  roadside vegetation--  is the opposite of a nostalgic picture of a cosy,  rural life  to a  harmonious settlement that has its roots in the yeoman tradition in the form of soldier settlements.  The state government,  as a  promoter of economic development,  in the early 20th century  was  also the architect of a desired cultural landscape and social class  that emphasised the virtues of small-scale family owned and operated yeoman farms. 

The ‘ pioneer legend’---which saw white settlement as a battle to win the land, in which humans were evenly pitted against nature---is  now a  form of myth making, given the emergence of agri-businesses and the family farm  becoming all but obsolete.   The pioneer idea, in pitting settlers against the land was not only fruitless, in leading to the ruin of the settlers, but self-defeating in ultimately ruining the land itself.

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:thoughtfactory.posthaven.com,2013:Post/928823 2015-11-06T22:16:14Z 2015-11-07T02:29:03Z Sellicks Beach + empire

 The picture below is from a 2015  autumn  photoshoot at Sellicks Beach, a southern coastal beach in Adelaide: 

Photographing the coast is an example of how photography has appropriated the language of  painting---in this case the landscape, in which nature is seen for its own sake.  The  pictorial representation of the landscape in painting  emerges in the 17th century in Europe and reaches its peak in nineteenth century  with Romanticism. The  genre 'landscape' is a way of seeing and there are different views of the land--eg., those of the aboriginal people, white settlers, tourists etc. 

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:thoughtfactory.posthaven.com,2013:Post/858506 2015-05-20T00:53:43Z 2015-05-20T00:53:43Z an aboriginal absence

The settler's clearing of the Australian landscape during the white settlement made this land the white man’s.  What is forgotten is the terrible violence meted out to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders at – and after – white settlement. There is a refusal, eg., by the Australian War Memorial,   to  tell the story of the violence that raged across the Australian colonial frontier after British invasion and occupation in 1788. That the violence took the form of  a frontier war is often denied. 

The ‘clearing’ of the landscape by the first European settlers forced Indigenous people off their traditional lands and into small Christian missions and government reserves. 

What is noticeable about this landscape is the contemporary absence of Australian Aboriginal culture within the Australian landscape and the impact of European colonisation. You wouldn't know  the history from looking at the pasture land and the scrubland. 

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Gary Sauer-Thompson