The first of my panoramas. It all started here, in 1978, when I used to spend weekends with friends who lived on an island in the Wollomba River, out of Foster. I’d drive up from the city on Fridays and park the car and paddle across the river in time for dinner. I spent days on the river pottering around in that canoe, and thought ‘How do I capture the sensation of sitting in this canoe?’
Orthodox cameras simply didn’t capture the sensation of being in the boat, so I hired a Widelux from PICS and took that with me next time, and the 140 degree sweep of the lens captured the sensation of being in the boat because it covered the angle of human vision. The picture puts you in the boat. From here on panoramas were my thing, and eventually I shot little else, for the format suited photographing he Australian landscape perfectly. You got that sense of space.
Canoe on the Wollomba River NSW
Catfish Creek, Kakadu - AUD$1500
“I was camped for six months up at East Alligator River in Kakadu, working with the traditional owner of that country, Old Man Bill Neidjie, who had a story he wanted to tell and have recorded. So while I was there I got to know Old Man’s country really well, mainly by walking it. Catfish Creek is a tributary of the East Alligator River near Cahill’s Crossing.
A woman was taken by a crocodile at the entrance to this creek, so I was always on the lookout for crocs, being out there on my own. The smoke is from the fires that the Rangers light each year to burn down the speargrass that could burn out of control later in the Wet Season when the early lightning storms of The Wet set fire to the country.
Catfish Creek, Kakadu
Cow and Figtree, Norfolk Island - AUD$1500
I was shooting Norfolk Island for Ansett Airlines and spent a week covering the island. There’s a place called ‘Bloody Bridge’ where convicts killed their overseer and buried his body in the foundations of the bridge they were building. However blood started seeping out of the stonework and their fate was sealed; they were all hanged. It’s a spooky place.
Above the bridge is this huge figtree, I had to crawl through an electric fence to get to it. My tripod brushed the wire and I got the lot. So by the time I climbed the hill I was feeling pretty sparky.
Cow and Figtree, Norfolk Island
Creek in The Devils Marbles, NT - AUD$1500
Driving back home from two years in Kakadu the last of the Wet Season storms had just moved through this country. It had been raining all night in The Devil’s Marbles, and in the morning the creeks were up and running.
It seemed appropriate to contrast the moving water against the stillness of those lovely rocks and those gums leaning over with the force of the water.
Creek in The Devils Marbles, NT
Cross Hatching Gallery, Ubirr, Kakadu, NT - AUD$1500
You’re not normally allowed here, but I had a Ranger who was a keen shooter with me, and we wanted to capture the early storms of The Wet as they moved through the country. The rain is pelting down, the wind coming right at us.
Aboriginal people would have sheltered here through the storms and watched a scene such as this. Their paintings of the local wildlife cover the entire ceiling.
Cross Hatching Gallery, Ubirr, Kakadu, NT
Ephemeral Lake, Simpson Desert, SA - AUD$1500
After four days crossing the Simpson the two of us were down to six litres of water from the sixty we took in with us. We were the first people to cross the desert after four months and this is one of the last sandhills to cross before you reach the bogs of the salt lakes. All in all, it’s character-building country.
Ephemeral Lake, Simpson Desert, SA
Dip Falls, Tasmania - AUD$1500
I found myself fascinated by that figure in the stone at the base of the falls, like a seated king on his throne, and the deluge that falls upon him, and the light and the dark aspects of the picture too. A picture about Fate, and Falling Empires.
Dip Falls, Tasmania
Fenceline Beaudesert, Queensland - AUD$1500
It was one of those country birthday parties that last all night. No point in going to bed, you might as well have another beer and boogie on into the dawn. Just down the road from the party was this lovely old fence, irresistable in the early fog. A couple of rolls, and then off to a bleary-eyed breakfast.
Fenceline Beaudesert, Queensland
Forest detail, Weldborough, Tasmania - AUD$1500
I’d fallen in with some local conservationists who were protesting the clear-felling of their valley’s old-growth myrtle forests by the woodchipping companies. They had taken me to shoot the scenes of utter destruction the loggers left behind them, and I needed a shot of the original forest before the chainsaws arrived. A long walk into the bush brought me here. It’s no longer there. They lost. We lost.
Forest detail, Weldborough, Tasmania
Ghostgum, Chichester Range, WA - AUD$1500
There’s a lovely road that creeps through the Chichester Range – ‘the chocolate tops’ the locals call them. Each outcrop is crowned with dark rocks, like chocolate. Very old rocks. This lovely gum was leaning out into the late afternoon sun, just a tippytoe through the spinifex to get to her.