The 1990’s: turning to colour

I’ve started working on the Bowden Archives book, though in a casual way as I’m slowly easing myself into an earlier draft of the book. The current work so far has primarily been picking up the old texts, starting to rework them into some sort of rough shape, and flicking through my archives.

A initial draft of the Preface has been written, as has an early draft of the text for the first section, which consists of street photography images. In the 70s and 80s I was using a Leica M-4 with black and white film as my main walkabout camera, and the text for this section is on, and briefly about, a snapshot culture. I have basically re-defined the street photography that I did as snapshots, or as photos belonging to the snapshot culture.

The third section of the book is tentatively titled ‘road trips’. It will be thinner than the other two sections, but it will point towards my future photography in the first decade of the 21st century. At this stage I have no idea what kind of text I am going to write for this part of the book.

Wetlands, Kangaroo Island, SA 1995

By the 1990s I no longer had a wet darkroom and I was busy finishing my PhD in philosophy at Flinders University of South Australia. Photography was on the back burner and the photography that I did in the 1990s was basically done whilst Suzanne and I went on various holidays and road trips. The above photos was on one trip to Kangaroo Island, which I’d never been to.

at the Chowilla floodplain

This picture of dead trees on the Chowilla floodplain  in South Australia was made during the decade long drought in the Murray-Darling Basin, which ran from around 2000 to 2010. It broke with the emergence of   the  La Niña weather conditions in 2010. The photo was made about 2003/4 with  my  old Linhof Technika 70.

Chowilla, Riverland

What the drought highlighted was the lack of environmental flows in the River Murray. Too much water had been taken by the upstream irrigators  in Victoria, NSW and Queensland. So there had to be cutbacks  to water extraction in order to ensure increased environmental flows for the river. That is when the politics over water  reform in the Murray-Darling Basin erupted around the Murray-Darling Basin Plan (2012) that  was based around  water trading  and water buybacks by the Commonwealth.   Continue reading

starting over again

This was one the first colour photographs that I made after my return to photography in the 1990s.  I had stopped making  photos  whilst I was doing my PhD in philosophy at Flinders University  of South Australia. I started the doctorate in the late 1980s and finished the PhD around 1998,  then   started to work as an academic on a casual basis.   During the 1990s Suzanne, Fichte and  I would sometimes  go down to Victor Harbor on the southern Fleurieu Peninsula coast on the weekends to stay with Suzanne’s  mother (Majorie Heath) at her place in Solway Crescent.

This photos  is  representation of the granite coast  west of Petrel Cove and east of Dep’s Beach at Victor Harbor.   It was made with my Linhof Technika 70   using  a  6×7 film back.  This  modest and intermittent photographic restart would have been around the mid 199os before  Majorie Heath died in 1997.

sea + granite, Petrel Cove

I had put  all my large format cameras in a cupboard, stopped using black and white film for medium format, and only used b+w for 35m until I lost the Leica M4.    I was inching back to photography  using the  old Linhof, a camera, which  I am still using over 20 years latter. I was impressed by the coast, thought that it was an interesting  location, and a good spot to pick up the pieces and make a modest return to  photography.    Continue reading