Making the ordinary ‘Extraordinary!’
The following photographs are presented as ‘retrospective’ of the work I have done in 2019. The works range from ‘Abstracts’, to ‘Landscapes’, ‘Seascapes’, and ‘Portraits’. Most of these photographs were taken in Adelaide and Port Willunga in South Australia. There are, however, others from my respective travels to Broken Hill, Silverton, and Sydney in New South Wales. The first section contains some of the photographs that were in my 2019 SALA Exhibition. The other sections are ‘New Work’ under their respective ‘series’ titles.
Through a Window – Tunnel – Queenscliff, New South Wales (Sony ILCE-7). This photography is part of an on-going series entitled ‘Through a Window’; when we look ‘through a window’ we can see a world full of possibilities – some good, some bad. This tunnel was originally chiselled out by local fishermen in 1912 to give them access to the headland between Queenscliff and Freshwater on Sydney’s ‘Northern Beaches’.
Enter Oberon – Mt. Lofty Botanical Gardens, South Australia (Sony ILCE-7). This photograph also exemplifies my continuing interest in the unique aspect of the human imagination known as ‘pareidolia’ – seeing faces and figures in nature and man-made objects. It is also reflective of my continuing passion and love for Shakespeare. This horned figure emerging through the trees is like Oberon, King of the Fairies, furious entrance in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Babe in the Wood – Mt Lofty Botanic Gardens, South Australia (Sony ILCE-7). This was a fluke – a lucky ‘decisive moment’. I saw this young child who was with her parents playing in the midst of the Mt Loft Botanic Gardens. The trees seemed to hover over her, protecting innocence.
Abstract: Like Blue Velvet – Port Willunga, South Australia (Sony ILCE-7). This work is partly inspired by the work of American artist, Mark Rothko. It is designed to be meditative and encourage peace and calm.
Abstract: ‘Mad March’ – Adelaide, South Australia (Sony ILCE-7). The month of March is called by Adelaidians ‘Mad March’. This is because the city is bursting with theatrical activity due to 3 annual international festivals overlapping one another – the Adelaide Fringe Festival, the Adelaide Festival, and WOMAD.Abstracts: Burning Steel Roof – Adelaide, South Australia (Sony ILCE-7). In the Summer months, the temperature in Adelaide can be very hot. I took this from the top of a carpark in the Adelaide CBD, the burnished steel roof glimmered in the heat.
Lake Barmera #1, South Australia (Sony ILCE-7). Lake Barmera (aka Lake Bonny) is a freshwater lake in the ‘Riverland’ region to the east of Adelaide. It is fed and drained by the Murray River. Up until 2010 there was a regulator that prohibited water flowing into the lake, which had been disastrous for local vegetation and animals. In 2010 the regulator was removed and slowly the lake resumed to its former levels of water. Whilst now a popular tourist destination, nonetheless, the old dead trees that stand in the lake, with crows, cormorants, pigeons, and sometimes pelicans, are a spooky reminder of the past.
Lake Barmera #2, South Australia (Sony ILCE-7). When the sun started to set the golden rays hit the dead trees standing in the lake, bringing them to life as ghoulish creatures.
Lake Bumbunga, South Australia (Sony ILCE-7). Lake Bumbunga is a large salt-water lake in the mid-north of South Australia. Salt has been mined here since 1881. The name ‘Bumbunga’ derives from the local indigenous Parnpanka people term for ‘rainwater lake’.
Pelicans – Milang, South Australia (Sony ILCE-7). Milang is a small town on the west coast of Lake Alexandrina, about 71kms south-east of Adelaide. From 1860 to 1880 it was a major port on the Murray River system. Today, it is a small town with a population of about 700 people. Like most of this region, pelicans are a major feature.
Sentinels – Myponga, South Australia (Sony ILCE-7). This photograph is part of an on-going series entitled Sentinels. Myponga is a small coastal village to the south-east of Adelaide that was first established in 1858. There are the ruins of an old jetty on the foreshore. These weathered old timber pylons stand like sentinels facing the village.
Topless Cupolas – Adelaide Showground, Adelaide, South Australia (Sony ILCE-7). This was taken one winter night. During Winter the tops of the cupolas on the giant Ferris Wheel inside the Adelaide Showground are removed. This photograph is also part of the on-going series dealing ‘Pareidolia’ (seeing faces and figures in nature and man-made objects), the cupolas appearing to have faces – as if they are sleeping.
Adelaide Industrial: Manton Street, Hindmarsh, Adelaide, South Australia (Sony ILCE-7). Manton Street is a major linking street in the Adelaide suburb of Hindmarsh, running between South Road and the Adelaide Entertainment Centre. This photography is part of an on-going series entitled ‘Adelaide Industrial’.
Adelaide is one of the few major cities in the world that is surrounded by Parklands. The following is a series of ‘Abstracts’ that all reflect in various ways aspects of Adelaide’s ‘Parklands’.Abstracts: Parklands: Cyclists – Rose Park, Adelaide (Sony ILCE-7). The track around Rose Park in the Eastern Parklands just outside the Adelaide CBD is used for a number of sports, including cycling. Abstracts: Parklands Netball Court #1 – Parklands, Adelaide, South Australia (Sony ILCE-7). In the south-east corner of the ‘Parklands’ surrounding the Adelaide CBD there are a number of Netball playing fields. This photo and the one following are two ‘abstracts’ I took at these netball fields. The one above I just cropped and did not ‘Photoshop’ at all; the one below I did work on to reflect the extremely hot day in which these photographs were taken. Abstracts: Parklands Netball Court #2 – Parklands, Adelaide, South Australia (Sony ILCE-7).Abstracts: Parklands – Snake Lights #1 – Rose Park, Adelaide, South Australia (Sony ILCE-7). This photograph and the one below were taken from my sister’s apartment in the Queen Victoria Apartments, Rose Park, which was once a major maternity hospital in Adelaide. Abstracts: Parklands – Snake Lights #2 – Rose Park, Adelaide, South Australia (Sony ILCE-7).
ADELAIDE INDUSTRIAL & ADELAIDE NOIR
The following section contains photographs from two on-going series – Adelaide Industrial and Adelaide Noir.
Adelaide Industrial is a series that examines and records respective ‘Industrial’ sites in and around Adelaide, some of which are no longer functioning. Adelaide Noir is a nod towards film noir, often giving a particular location a mysterious and/or magical feel with the interplay between black and white and in-between.
Adelaide Industrial: ‘Blade Runner’ Night – University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia (Sony ILCE-7). This was taken one night behind the old Adelaide Hospital on the University of Adelaide grounds. It was done with a 30 sec time-lapse. The title came about because it suddenly felt like this could be a location in the dystopian world of Ridley Scott’s film Blade Runner.
Adelaide Industrial: Port Adelaide, South Australia (Sony ILCE-7). This and the following two photographs were taken one still Spring evening at the Dolphin Sanctuary at Port Adelaide, opposite the Gas Works on Torrens Island. In the above photograph, the lights reflected in the water were like flaming pillars, which illuminated the way for the departing ship.
Adelaide Industrial: Torrens Island Power Station – Torrens Island, South Australia (Sony ILCE-7). The Torrens Island Power Station has essentially been in continuous operation since 1967. It was once the largest single power station user of gas in Australia. Now, however, the Torrens Island Power Station is slowly being decommissioned and shut down. This is partly due to advances in alternative power sources, such as wind farms, and a decrease in the use of fossil fuels such as coal. It is expected to be completely closed by 2021.
Adelaide Industrial: The Beacon – Dolphin Sanctuary, Torrens Island, Adelaide, South Australia (Sony ILCE-7). This was taken on a tranquil Spring night. The water was so flat – no dolphins in sight. Due to certain attacks on the Arts in Australia, including the abolishing of a stand-alone federal Arts Department by the current federal Liberal Party Government this photograph took on another meaning. ‘The Light on the Hill’ is a biblical phrase associated with Christ’s ‘Sermon on the Mount’. In American politics, and with the Australian Labor Party it has been modified to ‘the beacon on the hill’, meaning a ‘light of hope’ amongst the darkness.
Adelaide Noir: Lane X – Adelaide CBD, South Australia (Sony ILCE-7). Adelaide is full of lanes, some of which a half pedestrian pathways and half driveways. This is such a lane and is off Weymouth Street in the heart of the Adelaide CBD. The iron bars give it a rather sinister atmosphere.
Adelaide Noir: Footbridge – River Torrens, Adelaide, South Australia (Sony ILCE-7). This photograph was taken one Spring night from the footpath that runs underneath the footbridge that crosses the River Torrens in the Adelaide CBD, linking the Adelaide Festival Centre and central train station with the Adelaide Oval and North Adelaide.
The following three photographs are from a series entitled Glenelg Sunrise. Glenelg and Glenelg Beach are perhaps the most popular and well-known of all of the Adelaide beach suburbs and beaches. Glenelg was established in 1836 and is the oldest European settlement on mainland South Australia. These photographs were taken one cold Spring evening. They are strongly influenced by the work of American artist Edward Hopper.
Glenelg Sunset – Glenelg, Adelaide, South Australia (Sony ILCE-7). This was taken from the Glenelg Jetty looking southward down Holdfast Bay in the Gulf St. Vincent.
Glenelg Sunset: Couple #1 – Glenelg, Adelaide, South Australia (Sony ILCE-7). This and the following photo were taken at the beginning of Glenelg Jetty. This is from the northside and is of two young women who were reading books in the setting sun.
Glenelg Sunset: Couple #2 – Glenelg, Adelaide, South Australia (Sony ILCE-7). This romantic photograph is of a young couple in an embrace as they face the setting sun on the southern side of the Glenelg Jetty.
The following collage of ‘portraits’ exemplifies my endeavours in ‘portraiture’. I have only just begun to take ‘portraits’. So far this has included a couple of students, homeless people, some of Adelaide’s ‘street performers’, as well as two young ‘drummers’ at Port Willunga and a drag Queen in Broken Hill.
The following photographs are from various locations ‘beyond Adelaide’. This includes some from the McClaren Vale region, particularly Port Willunga, as well as Broken Hill, Silverton, Austinmer, and Sydney in New South Wales. Coriole Vinyard – McClaren Vale, South Australia (Sony ILCE-7). This was taken on Spring day when visiting the wonderful Coriole Vineyard for lunch. It captures the majestic sweep characteristic of the region.
Port Willunga is a small coastal town on the Fleurier Peninsula, about 40 minutes drive south of Adelaide. It was once a major port, the remnants of its past life can be found in the old timber posts that stand on the top of the cliffs overlooking the beach, and the ruins of an old jetty on the seashore.
Abstracts: The Fury – Port Willunga, South Australia (Sony ILCE-7). This was taken from inside a car travelling down one of the roads that lead to Port Willunga. It does not reflect a personal mood, but rather the speed we were travelling at that it was actually quite a stormy and overcast day.
Sentinels: Port Willunga, South Australia (Sony ILCE-7).
Barking Rock – Port Willunga, South Australia (Sony ILCE-7). This photograph is part of the on-going ‘Pareidolia’ series. In this case, the section of the cliff face above the ruined jetty looked to me like a dog barking.
Ruined Jetty – Port Willunga, South Australia (Sony ILCE-7). One of the most distinguishing landmarks of Port Willunga is the ruins of the old jetty on the beach.
Sentinels: The Cry – Port Willunga, South Australia (Sony ILCE-7). This is part of the on-going series entitled ‘Sentinels’. In this case, it is one of the old ruined pylons from the jetty at Port Willunga. ‘Pareidolia-like’ it stands like a mournful sentinel, with its mouth wide open as if crying out to the far distant shore.
Abstracts: After Rothko – Port Willunga, South Australia (Sony ILCE-7). The American artist Mark Rothko is a major influence on my photographic work. Many of Rothko’s paintings were designed to encourage meditative contemplation, primarily through the juxtaposition of particular colours. My intention is the same as exemplified by this ‘triptych’ re colours, shapes, and textures from the natural world.
Graveyard – Port Willunga, South Australia (Sony ILCE-7). The old Port Willunga graveyard is right next to the main highway. It is not only full of graves of the early settlers it also is the final resting place for a number of people who lost their lives in the tragic ‘Star of Greece’ ship sinking just off the Port Willunga coastline. With the sun setting, it allowed my friend and I to indulge in some spooky shots.
Broken Hill & Silverton
In early December 2019, I spent a week up in Broken Hill in the remote North-West of New South Wales. Broken Hill was established as a town in 1883 and grew in prosperity and prominence due to the discovery of silver and lead in the region. There are many wonderful things to discover in Broken Hill and the surrounding region, including the small town of Silverton, the Mundi Mundi Lookout, and the Living Desert State Park.
Sunrise – Living Desert State Park, Broken Hill, New South Wales (Sony ILCE-7). About 20kms north of Broken Hill is the Living Desert State Park. I drove up their early one morning and was rewarded with a spectacular sunrise. Dust Storm – Mundi Mundi Lookout, Silverton, New South Wales (Sony ILCE-7). Approximately 30kms west of Broken Hill is the Mundi Mundi Lookout. This lookout offers a wonderful vista of the vast Australian outback. I went to take a photograph of the sunset. However, a huge dust storm suddenly descended, in which I became caught. It was a little scary as the wind was so strong and fierce with stones and dust whirling all around me. The power of Nature. I later learned that dust storms were now a common occurrence in the region – on average two a week. This is largely due to the lack of water and the drought that has ravaged Australia for the past ten years. Dust Storm: Municipal Chambers, Silverton, New South Wales (Sony ILCE-7). From the Mundi Mundi Lookout, I drive very cautiously back through the dust storm to Silverton. The dust storm had abated a little and as I was driving down the main street in Silverton the opportunity arose to take this shot. I stood with the car door opened to protect myself from the wind, stones and dust, and went for this ‘decisive moment’.Through a Window: Ruin – Silverton, New South Wales (Sony ILCE-7). I returned to Silverton the following day and it was clear blue skies – and very hot. There were a number of old ruined houses off the main road. I ventured inside one of them to take this shot. After Rothko: Sunset #1 – Mundi Mundi Lookout, Silverton, New South Wales (Sony ILCE-7). After Rothko: Sunset #2 – Mundi Mundi Lookout, Silverton, New South Wales (Sony ILCE-7). The above two photographs were the ones I wanted from this journey to Mundi Mundi Lookout. They are part of the on-going series entitled After Rothko, inspired by the works of American artist Mark Rothko.
Reflections: ANZAC War Memorial, Hyde Park, Sydney, New South Wales (Sony ILCE-7). In marked contrast to the photographs from Silverton and Broken Hill is this one of the ANZAC War Memorial in Hyde Park Sydney, which I took one December night.
I spent Xmas and saw the New Year (and decade) in at the coastal town of Austinmer, about 90minutes drive south of Sydney on the New South Wales South Coast. Whilst pleasant in many ways, nonetheless, the experience was shadowed by the horrendous fires that were raging throughout New South Wales as well of the rest of the country. There has been significant loss of life and property. So many, too many, mornings the air was filled with smoke and haze, casting a strange and disconcerting orange glow over everything – and it was hot, very hot. I couldn’t help but feel that this new decade was the beginning of a kind of ‘Brave New World’ in which we now must reckon with significant ‘Climate Change’ in order to survive.Brave New World: Thirroul Beach – Thirroul, New South Wales (Sony ILCE-7).
Brave New World: Flying Foxes – Austinmer, New South Wales (Sony ILCE-7). There has been a major loss of Australian native flora and fauna, including flying foxes. These strange mammals that look like bats fly over Austinmer and the surrounding suburbs every evening. Whilst there are quite a number of them in this region sadly there have been massive deaths recorded in other parts of fire-ravaged Australia.
Brave New World: Trees – Sharkey’s Beach – New South Wales (Sony ILCE-7). This was my final photograph for 2019. In many ways, it exemplifies the nightmare that has engulfed Australia this December and is still continuing. Whilst this photograph may look like it has been severely ‘photoshopped’ in actual fact it has been hardly touched. The orange glow, caused by the smoke and haze from the fires to the north, west, and south of Austinmer, is captured in this rather eerie formal Japanese-like-print photograph of trees on the seashore at Sharkey’s Beach near Austinmer.
This challenging time will end and hopefully, we will all enter a new period that is indeed a wonderful ‘Brave New World’.