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
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
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.