The River Torrens (Karrawirra Parri) near Bowden

When going through my large format archives the other day I came across some images I’d made of the River Torrens (Karrawirra Parri) as it flowed through the Adelaide Parklands near Coopers Brewery on the corner of Port Rd and Park Terrace.

I often wandered around this section of the parklands when I was living in Bowden, as it was just a few minutes walk from the studio in Gibson St, and so much quicker to access than the seaside beaches or Port Adelaide.

River Torrens (Karrawirra Parri) at West End.

I would often walk Fiche, my standard poodle, there in the morning or in the afternoon. We would usually walk through Park 27A (now known as the John E. Brown Park) across the Railway Bridge, to the weir at the base of Torrens Lake. Sometimes we would skirt around the Adelaide Gaol on our way to the Morphett St Bridge, Elder Park and the Festival Centre.

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.

Eastern Mt Lofty Ranges

On my recent Mallee Routes photo trip I returned to sites in the eastern Mt Lofty Ranges that I had briefly photographed in  during the 1980s.   I spent a bit of the on the road time walking around the area on the Tungkillo  to Palmer  section of the Randall Rd, which runs from Mt Pleasant to Walker Flat.

Whilst I was taking some scoping snaps with my digital camera I remembered some of the photos that I’d made in the 1980s in this general location. The image below is one of the images that I remembered making using a Linhof Technika 70:

Eastern Mt Lofty Ranges

I recalled that in the 1980s I was visually attracted by the bareness of this landscape. It was a stripped, overgrazed landscape with just the odd tree hanging on. There was very little in the way of replanting or Landcare.

Continue reading

topographics

In a previous post on this archival blog I  had mentioned my shift from street photography to topographics during the 1980s. This shift  emerged whilst  I was photographing around Osborne, Gillman  and Outer Harbor  along the Port River estuary on the Le Fevre Peninsula.

This is an example of my  topographic approach to industrial type urbanscapes—a wasteland, if you like– that was made  in the 1980s:

Osborne, South Australia

Another version of the topographical approach to this wasteland or ravaged landscape  that was made in the same photo-session is here.

The shift from street photography to topographics is how I have structured  my portfolio in  the Adelaide Photography 1970-2000 book, which  is to  be published by Moon Arrow Press in 2019.  It is part of the independent photobook  movement.  Continue reading

at Barmah National Park

Whilst I was  going through my archives  looking for some better images to include in my portfolio for the Adelaide Photography 1970-2000 book— submissions have just been called— I came across a few images of River Red gums (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) along the River Murray in Victoria.  I had more or less over forgotten about these mid-1980s images, as they were mixed up with  some of the  sand dune  images of  Adelaide’s coastal beaches in the archive.

Red River Gum, Barmah National Forest

The picture  above was made on a late 1980s road trip in the VW Kombi  along the southern coast of Australia then back along the River Murray. Other images from this road trip— e.g.,  the La Trobe Valley and  the Riverland trunk images —can be found  in this  earlier post about  the Adelaide Photography book.  Continue reading

Mt Lofty Ranges

I have been going through my 35mm archives  looking through  images from the 1980s  to include in  a possible  artist book  for the Mallee Routes project. This would be a book that is associated with the initial Mallee Routes exhibition at the Atkins Photo Lab in   2017.

At the exhibition I  left a pile of small prints on a table for people to look at. It wasn’t a very successful mode of presentation. A book would be much better, if I have enough images.

I came across this image of an agricultural landscape in the eastern Mt Lofty Ranges amongst a number of other images of the Murray  Mallee and the Riverland.

Mt Lofty Ranges

From memory, this picture  would have been made with a Leicaflex SLR whilst I was on the road. It would have been a day trip around the eastern Mt Lofty Ranges in the VW Kombi. Continue reading

river gum, Chowilla

This is another image from one of my visits to the Chowilla Flood Plain in  South Australia’s  Riverland  region. This floodplain was listed as a Wetland of International Importance in  1987 under the Ramsar Convention.

river gum, Chowilla, South Australia

The picture was made  with a  Linhof Technika 70  in the same year as  this image.  From memory,  it was taken a bit earlier the year.  It was around 2004-5 when I was working as a staffer for a federal South Australian Senator. We had gone to see how little  water there was on the floodplain  during the decade  long drought. Continue reading

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

Salt Creek, Coorong

This picture of a  melaleuca in the morning light was made on an early trip to the Coorong in South Australia  in the late 1990s.  We stayed at some cottages at a property called Gemini  Downs, which was  just north of  Salt Creek.  I remember that  it was very  cold at night and  that the heating in the cabin was minimal.

Melaleuca, Coorong

This was an edgeland around Salt Creek and  it was just outside the Coorong National Park. It used by fishermen to access the water, and from memory,  there was a fishermans’ hut nearby. 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