February, 11 2010
Marble Bar Road, away from Marble Bar
Les Walkling

On Landscape: Inherited expectations are reduced to no more than a hindrance against the vast spaces that belittle my concept of time and distance. Work dominates this landscape but doesn’t define it. Vast projects shrink beside the land they try to possess, while everything is overpowered by the magnificent skies. Gold mines, both literal and imagined leave their mark, in both the landscape, and our dealings with it. The lie of the land can be deafening out here.

On Photography: The colour palette I’m working with encompasses the entire visible spectrum: from purple, blue-cyan, green-yellow, to orange-red. A palette as broad and as muted as the land that reflects it. Even the most beautiful lenses fall short of seeing everything there is. How can a single plane of critical focus capture the complexity and sheer majestic presence of the Pilbara? I’m finding I need to combine numerous optical layers to even reach its surface.

On Editing Images: I find myself needing to reduce the dominance of red. This washes clean the magenta-purples of distant ranges, clarifies the yellows in the Spinifex, releases the vastness of the sky, adds vibrance to green foliage, and highlights the orange of the rocks and soil. This simple act shifts the land (orange) and the sky (cyan-blue) onto the colorimetric colour temperature curve. Light then appears to emanate from the land, and the land in turn lights up the sky.

On Weather: A massive dust storm erupted, sucking vast quantities of soil into the sky. Between the lightening flashes and the spot fires they created, the sky had challenged the earth, and inherited the land. Later as the storms raged ahead of us, the storm clouds reflecting the land below shifted to purple. This dialectic between land and sky upstages our pictorial expectations. Yet another welcome surprise in a land full of surprises, both ancient and new.

On Art: What I’m doing here comes from personal necessity. We all collect the richness of human significance in the best ways we know how. I’m no different. I’m just trying to visualise and analyse those ideas that don’t make sense to me, and hopefully this material thinking will be of some delight for others. Its genealogy is what delights me. Though ultimately my opinion is less interesting than what it might mean for someone to hold such an opinion. Like the land, I’m so happy to just be here.

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