There were 4 types of photos I took in my recent visit to Central Australia:
I took quite a few hundred photos and compiled them into this collage, a very hands-on editing process.
In my 8-hour drive from Yulara to Pipalyantjara I saw possibly hundreds of cars by the side of the road. I wanted to document with photography a selection of the burnt-out rusty in APY Lands. They are abandoned either from breaking down, or a crash – spinning off the dirt treks, hitting a ditch, swerving to miss a roo or dingo. Many are burnt out and crumpled up. This aspect of the outback is a disruption to the pristine imagery we only ever see in tourism advertising.
The top line of images are some of these cars I documented, January 2017. This layout is referencing Bonita Ely’s latest work for Documenta14 Athens, a collection of photographs showing prestine environments and waste / dumps in waterways and other places.
In March I returned to APY Lands and stayed in Kalka, just 5 minutes from Pipalyantjara. I was a camera man filming the youth celebrating their lives with a fashion show; clothes provided by my partner’s not-for-profit organisation ‘Thread Together’
Next to our Pipalyantjara accommodation was a car wreck dumping area. I wondered around and took photos. A sign warned “Be careful of buried asbestos”, a fairly serious concern, especially because this site was about 100 meters from the nearest house with children.
I was interested in framing object found on the ground, single shapes, for example circular objects. I lay many of these in a grid formation on the “ground” of my collage.
I also become interested in photographing rusty object surfaces with no reference to sky or land – full shots of rust. Many of these I complied into a large mass of rust, right end of the collage.
Following on from the rust pile was a line of rusty objects I joined to form a new continuous horizon. It was to mimic the mountains, but with rust.
The left half of the image moved from found objects in the sand to full rust textured surfaces, abstract surface readings. I didn’t have enough images to continue with this development, so it then became lines of junk extending from the landscape into arms moving into sky. The sky being framed with black lines, like an abstract cage.
I printed a few copies of some of my material and while working out how to make an image of a flurry of wire sit next to each other, I realised by placing it end to end, it gave the appearance of a self-contained, floating object. I loved this effect.
I then experimented with sections of cars I had taken photos of with surrounding blue sky.