Thoughtfactory’s image-text blog

an experimental image-text blog based in the southern Fleurieu Peninsula of South Australia

Posts for Tag: country roads

photography as placemaking

The picture below is of  a  large format photo session at Pitkin Rd in Waitpinga on the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia engaging with the materiality of the  land: fields, trees, creeks, roads, bridges, signs, rural life of this particular place. It is of a patch of countryside  that emerges from a sense of an intimate relationship to a particular ‘patch of land’.  It is more than space---which is an empty  area or a homogenous,  geometrical space. 

 It is true that representations of  landscape has been  unfashionable  as the recent  photographic  emphasis is on the metropolitan urban where most people live. Landscape is conventionally seen as a  anachronistic genre, part of a old, privileged tradition ‘overthrown’ by Modernism and now of little or no relevance in our overwhelmingly urban, more or less progressive, global culture.  It is seen as the mundane representation of a “mere place”;  an inferior sort of environment that is of little or  no interest.    

The above  picture  is photography as placemaking. An example.   In my  case it is part of the  retreat  from globalisation, given that the second great wave of globalization that started in the 1980s is now over with the  emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic.  

The assumptions of this photography as placemaking approach is that place is a social product and that photography fixes the gaze and pins it down.  The gaze works within the limits of both the moment that is photographed and the spatial limits of the frame. The photographic frame restricts the gaze. The photograph is limited by the perspective of the camera  and the subject is forced to subject their look to the gaze of the camera. 

photographing country roads

My frustration from the rushed Talem Bend photo session has mounted,  due to  the very gusty  northerly and south-westerly winds and continual rain  over the last 4 days. The frustration comes from these weather condition  making it impractical to make a  return trip to Talem Bend at the base of the Mallee Highway. It's 90 minutes drive time each way. 

Suzanne  suggested that  I make things a bit easier  for myself in using the 8x10 Cambo by starting to photograph around my local area.  I took her advice and I was lucky to squeeze a photo session of roadside vegetation in Waitpinga in one morning after a   poodlewalk with Kayla. This  just before  it started to rain. 

I realized afterwards that concentrating on  pictures of roadside vegetation was far  too limited,  and that  really  I needed to broaden my local  image making  to include the roads I travelled along by making them  more central to the photography.   Here was a good model.    

I decided to start this exploration off  by beginning with the roads that I usually  walk down whilst on the  poodlewalks. I needed to start with what I was familiar with.  The connection between walking and still photography  is crucial,  as it is on these walks that  I  see the possible subject matter.