This is another image from the Mantung photoshoot in the South Australian Mallee in the early 1990s. It was made with a Cambo 5×7 monorail and Kodak black and white Tri-X film. This is another archival image that didn’t make it into the opening exhibition of the Mallee Routes project at the Atkins Photo Lab in Adelaide. There were no archival images amongst my 5 images in that exhibition.
The image was made after the postmodernism opposition to the US modernist formalism, most often identified with John Szarkowski and the art photography favored by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, had emerged in Australia; a postmodern opposition that helped to establish photo discourse in Australia. Szarkowski had proposed in The Photographer’s Eye (196) that ” it should be possible to consider the history of the medium in terms of photographers’ progressive awareness of characteristics and problems that have seemed inherent in the medium.” In other words, Szarkowski claimed to be seeking the essence of photography, in his case by privileging the specific qualities of the photographic medium.
Photography’s own success in becoming institutionalised has seen it manage to eclipse “the very notion of a medium”.