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.
Travelling in India you can’t help but be struck by the social inequities. The caste system is alive and well. As ‘wealthy’ tourists we are served by many Indian workers, who cannot imagine the lifestyle options that we Westerners enjoy.
Major monuments, old Mughal palaces now open to tourists, are still maintained by an army of low-caste (and minimally paid) labourers, gardeners and construction workers – it resembles modern-day slavery. The roads of Kashmir and Ladakh traverse steep and barren terrain, and road crews camp alongside the roads and perform the necessary maintenance work, in all weathers. What are they thinking when I wave as I ride by?
In these images, taken in Northern India (Delhi, Kashmir and Ladakh), pictures of workers are juxtaposed with local found texts – plaques describing the rich Mughal history, graffitied pavilions and tombs, Buddhist prayer stones and election posters.
I recently found out that an old friend from London died last month. Michael had just turned 60 and I hadn’t seen him for 30 years. He lived in Albuquerque for the last 20, and we exchanged Christmas letters for most of those years.
Michael and Mark, Richmond Park
Michael was a friend of another friend, Mark, whom I met in the Greek islands and then spent time with when I was based for several months in London in late 1983. Mark, Michael and I were the greatest philosophers on earth, or so it seemed as we talked late into those London winter nights.
In philosophic mode
I came home to Sydney in February 1984 and have never met those old friends again …
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 🙂