The Bowden Archives section of the photographic archive has been sorted and edited into a book, which is to be published in 2018. It consists of 50 images and two essays. I will now concentrate on other images from the archives:
In a previous post I mentioned that I would go to Victor Harbor occasionally. Suzanne, my partner’s mother lived at Victor Harbor and we started to go and stay there on the odd weekend. Whilst staying there I would walk around the rocky foreshore west ofd Petrel Cove photographing the rock formations:
rock abstract, Petrel Cove
I used an old Linhof Technika 70 camera for these rock abstractions.
When I was living in Adelaide I would occasionally travel to Victor Harbor for day trips in the Kombi. I didn’t know that much about the Fleurieu Peninsula. I had heard that lots of people who grew top in Adelaide used to have their summer holidays on the southern coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula. The temperatures on this coast were lower than in Adelaide during the summer.
An archival photo of a house in Tabernacle Road, Encounter Bay, Victor Harbor in South Australia:
Tabernacle Rd, Encounter Bay
These were only occasional cursory trips as I didn’t find the township attractive or inviting. It was a small, commercial centre for agriculture and day tourists. It became quiet ugly during the peak tourist season.
The beach is more than a space for people to walk, sunbath and swim. It has a past and a future and this indicates that the sand dunes and the fragile dune vegetation are in need different forms of coastal protection and management. Hence the use of both sand-drift fencing to help restore and protect dune systems from erosion, by trapping wind-blown sand in the vicinity of the fence where natural vegetation is not sufficient to do so effectively, and various revegetation and restoration projects.
sand dunes, coastal Adelaide
Beaches have a history and for Adelaide’s coastal beaches this history is one of coastal degradation.
Prior to European settlement, the beaches were naturally replenished from the dunes and the southern beaches, and therefore sand movement could continue almost indefinitely. Predominant wave energy hitting beaches from the southwest naturally shifted sand in a northerly direction along the coastline with most of the sand accumulating at Semaphore and North Haven. Development along our coast however, has resulted in large quantities of the sand supply either being ‘locked up’ (eg., ate the harbours at Glenelg and West Beach) or removed from the beach system, preventing natural replenishment. As a result, natural processes and coastal storms have continually eroded beach width, and without artificial replenishment, the sand will continue to erode away, exposing the underlying hard rocks and clays. Continue reading
As Adelaide was in the process of becoming a post-industrial city haunted by the decline of its manufacturing industry and growing working-class disaffection its only genuine gathering place–or piazza— for people was the beach side suburb of Glenelg. It was a place where people accepted their differences to enjoy their leisure with picnics, bathing and walking in the sun.
The tram route from Victoria Square to Moseley Square in Glenelg was all that remained of Adelaide’s tramways network. This had been pulled up to make way for the motorcar. The tram was basically for tourists. During the summer the tram was packed with people going to and from the beach for a day’s outing. I would often catch it to Glenelg in the afternoon to hang out on the piazza with my cameras. Continue reading
Past Futures is the working title for the third section of The Bowden Archives and Other Marginalia. This section maps the space outside of Adelaide’s CBD and Bowden-Brompton. It represents an escape from the confines of the city, sometimes in the form of day trips to the Adelaide Hills and Mt Lofty Ranges; trips to Melbourne and along the River Murray.
Escaping the confines of Bowden during the summer heat was necessary and I would often go to Adelaide’s coastal beaches in the late afternoon. I would usually park the Kombi at Largs Bay in the late afternoon and walk along the flat open stretch of sand to North Haven and back with Fichte, my standard poodle.
couple, Largs Bay
This was a time when people sunbathed on the beach and they didn’t really worry about effective sunscreen to prevent melanomas and skin cancer, even though the Slip, Slop, Slap! health campaign was launched in 1981 by the Cancer Council as part of its SunSmart campaign. The beach was a hedonistic holiday zone–a shared space of relaxation–with minimal shade from the burning sun.
As I go through my black and white archives from the 1980s for The Bowden Archives and Other Marginala book I am starting to come across some seascape images that I cannot recall making. Nor can I recall their location, the camera that I used, or even when they were made. Since my personal memory is unreliable my memory of these past events is going to have to be constructed.
The negatives had been stored away in an old, red filing cabinet with no information other than a tab that just says ‘Landscape Studies’. An example:
coastal rocks, Petrel Cove
Many of the pictures in the Landscape Studies file were done whilst I was on the road. My best guess is that these kind of seascape images are different, in that they were probably made along the southern coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula, even though I don’t immediately recognise these rocks. But I have no memory of making them. I haven’t looked at the negatives or the contact since these were processed and printed. I cannot even recall who processed the negatives or printed the contact sheets. Was it me or a commercial laboratory?
In 2016 I am reading these photographs differently, and the reason that I was drawn to this location becomes irrelevant. It now becomes an interpretation of an image, influenced by a contextual memory of the situation. The boundaries become blurry as we step into the realm of fiction.
This photo is from the incompleted Port Adelaide project. The photo is of the Port River estuary looking across to Penrice Soda Products’ soda ash production facility at Osborne, Adelaide. It is is a film based photo made with a view camera. Sadly, my attempt in the 1980s to photograph Port Adelaide as a project didn’t get very far .
Looking back from the present I can see that, with the emergence of postmodernism and then digital technologies, this kind of topographical photography was about to disappear from view: a topographical photography has been transformed into a mere ghost of its former self.
Port River estuary
The economic background is that Penrice Soda Holding Ltd went into liquidation on July 31st 2014, having collapsed in April 2014, leaving people without employment, and funds not available for their entitlements, and debts of more than $150 million. Penrice had use of hectares of Renewal SA land for storing their waste material.
Some of that waste material lies south of Penrice’s plant, on the west side of the Port River (between the rail freight line and the Port River) and some in piles on the east side of the River. The prime responsibility for the cleanup is with the company, but it is in receivership and unlikely to be able to meet the bill. The contaminated Osborne site becomes the responsibility of the state government (ie., Renewal SA.), since as no-one is likely to buy a contaminated site that has no use. Continue reading