I have been struggling with a bursitis shoulder over the Xmas break and, as a result, the photography has been minimal. It has been limited to what I could do on the morning and evening poodlewalks along the coast. I avoided walking in the bush due to the brown snakes. As I could only carry and use light weight cameras, the photography has consisted mostly of macro with some scoping for large format photosessions in the future.
This macro of quartz on the side of a granite outcrop, which was made with my old Sony NEX-7, an old Lecia Summicron 35mm lens and a Voigtlander VM/E Close Focus Adaptor, raises a question: could I make a 5 x4 version using a telephoto lens?
I am asking this because over the Xmas break I have been looking at some of the seaweed photos made by Peter Dombrovskis, which are in the Dombrovskis: Journeys into the Wild, exhibition at the National Library of Australia (NLA). The kelp photos are stunning. Likewise the granite the sandstone and the quartz studies. These are wide angle views, close ups and low-contrast light. This collection is wilderness imagery with a sense of sublime terror with its roots in the nineteenth century. This body of work is definitely not nostalgic kitsch, an idealising falsehood, or an eco-porn generating desire for touristic or vicarious consumption. Nor is it premised on an equivalency between visible and unseen worlds.
The NLA, to its credit, has taken responsibility for the extensive collection of Dombrovskis' pictures --there are nearly 3500 pictures online.The state galleries didn't really collect this landscape photography --it just wasn't seen as art photography. Landscape is seen as an obsolete genre? The work is too environmental and so too political? Or is it this eco-art's emphasis on the real? Or it's concern with the natural beauty of the wilderness?
This is an impressive body of work with a high degree of ecological awareness. This ecological gaze sought to aesthetically subvert the anthropocentric values associated with the idea of progress, mastery over nature, and industrial development in Western civilisation. This collection is a cultural treasure.
I have only explored part of the Dombrovskis collection, but what I have explored has persuaded me that I could, and should, do a lot more by way of 5x4 photography along the coast of the southern Fleurieu Peninsula. The photography over the Xmas break has been mostly done on the morning poodlewalks, as the late afternoons along the coast of the southern Fleurieu Peninsula have been bright and sunny, with minimal cloud cover and very contrasty light.
The above picture is one of the scoped images for a large format photoshoot was made with a Sony a7R111, a Lecia Summicron 35mm ASPH lens and a Novoflex adaptor. I will need an overcast early morning for there 5x4 reshoot, as the early morning sun currently shines directly onto these rocks.
This is another similar study for a 5x4 that I made on an early morning poodlewalk with Kayla: