In late November I reluctantly abandoned my convalescing husband, and travelled to Adelaide to visit my Mum and rest of the family in commemoration of my late sister Kate’s 40th birthday. Mum and I enjoyed a long-planned trip to visit the Grampians in Victoria – staying in Mt. Zero, a location where she and Kate had stayed many years ago. In spite of some wild and windy weather we had a poignant time revisiting the places she had been with Kate. Here is a record of the trip, including some images taken in another of Kate’s favourite places, the Belair National Park.
We visited several lakes in the area – Lake Lonsdale, Lake Natimuk, and Taylor’s Lake. The last was the only one with any water, in spite of the promises of tourism websites. The last day of our stay had wild 35º winds and dust storms, and the effect of prolonged drought upon agricultural (wheat cultivation) areas such as the Wimmera was clear. Water management and environmental conservation is a critical issue in Australia, particularly for regional areas, yet it does not often appear in the headlines of our media.
I love to get into rural Australia and get a feeling of the ‘real’ country, away from our comfortable urban fringe. Here’s a gorgeous country store in Dimboola, selling all kinds of crafts, cakes, jams, plants, second-hand books and remaindered stock of toiletries – a school fete all in one shop 🙂
Mum is buying a cake for our dinner; check out the guy in top hat and steampunk goggles 🙂
Inspired by a workshop with the fabulous Shona Wilson, along the way I began to create some ‘ephemeral’ natural art images. Shona completed ephemeral art works one-a-day for a whole year, and I began to realise what a challenge this is. The ephemeral images I created are extremely simple, just rearranging a few items, or occasionally selecting a natural arrangement.
My favourite piece is this floating twig/cloud triptych from the lagoon at Marlo, at the mouth of the Snowy River.
In 2006 I experimented with video using the technique I had already been using to create photographic nature mandalas. Gunyah mandalas videos were shot down at my local beach, and composed in Adobe After Effects. I expect that it’s all much easier now in iMovie etc 😉
This set was exhibited in the Blake Prize in 2006. After all this time I’ve finally put these online, in anticipation of having creative time over this summer to revisit video play 🙂
Here’s the next in a set of portfolios of my photographic work produced over the last ten years. This one, Sacred sites: Exploration, has images composed from photos taken in exploring the Australian outback and bush over the last few years, combined with some song lyrics that have been inspired by my travels. Readings of the history of the settlement and exploration of Australia have influenced these works – this is further explored in my next portfolio, Wounded Country – stay tuned 🙂
All the portfolios can be purchased directly from Momento Shop (search for Belinda Allen).
I have been wanting to try out photobooks for a while, but having looked at a few sites I didn’t like how clunky and inflexible the layout software seemed to be, and was concerned about the production quality. Then I found Momento Pro, which is a service for professional photographers and artists. I can use professional layout software (Adobe InDesign); the prices are higher, but the quality is amazing. So I have started to compile a set of portfolios of my photographic work produced over the last ten years. This one, Sacred sites: Royal National Park, has images composed from photos taken in the national park where I have lived for the last 23 years.
Check out a preview here where it can be purchased directly from Momento Shop 🙂
Compiling another of my portfolios, I’ve been revisiting my series ‘Wounded Country‘, which combines texts relating to the early Christianisation of Australia, with representations of archetypal Australian flora and fauna. In particular it uses the anthropomorphic forms and wounded skin of native angophoras as representative of the violence done to indigenous environment and culture. The images combine: photographs from the Royal National Park and other Sydney locations; texts and artefacts of early settlement; vintage book pages. These works were completed between 2001 and 2009.
Although we visited Tasmania late in 2011, such is life that I have only recently been exploring the photographs taken there. It was a tantalising glimpse of an island with inspiring, changeable and atmospheric landscapes, as well as a brutal history. As a site for both the sacred and profane, it is well represented by the MONA collection of David Walsh. Here are some mandalas from this first visit, I hope to return later and spend longer.