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.   

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 latter is neither land or sea, nature or culture, but partakes of both.  This part of the coast is not the beach--it is between   Depp's Beach and Kings Beach which   are  surf beaches with sandy foreshores.  

This is a coastal environment where are there few people along the rocks. 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--private property.  What happens when the farm is eventually sold?

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.