Whilst Suzanne is in Cuba and Mexico for 4 weeks I have been minding the standard poodles at Encounter Bay and trying to make a few photos whilst I am on the daily poodle walks.
The photos are for the Fleurieuscapes book that I am slowly working on. Slowly because I am not sure where I am going with this body of work about the Fleurieu Peninsula, or what I am trying to do with it. It is about the specifics of the place whilst avoiding the sublime, the picturesque and the beautiful as much as possible.
That traditional kind of landscape photography is well established in Tasmania, where Chris Bell continues the environmental and wilderness photography work of Olegas Truchanas and Peter Dombrovskis that is centred around natural beauty. This makes sense because so much of Tasmania is still pristine and a wilderness. The contemporary art world, however, generally considers this kind of nature’ photography either kitsch or simply non-art ie., the finished works are not taken seriously by the arts community.
This kind of photography quickly runs up against its limits as it is indifferent, if not hostile, to photographing the human world. The ordinary surfaces of the contemporary vernacular – street corners, petrol stations, billboards, posters, shop windows – are not deemed worthy of artistic scrutiny. A limit is reached when this nature photography is confronted with the Fleurieu Peninsula's stripped and bare agricultural country (sheep and cattle), with its sparse roadside vegetation and isolated pockets of native scrub.