I remember that photographing this rock formation at Kings Head, Waitpinga with a large format camera (5x4) was a disconcerting experience. It was probably 6 years ago, just after we had shifted to living on the coast of the southern Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia, and I was photographing in my local area.
It started me thinking about the landscape tradition. Though I'd studied this rock formation a number of times before deciding to photograph it, the photographic act was not as simple as pointing the camera at an object in front of the camera and taking a photo. There was the time and effort involved in carrying the equipment to the location, then the time and effort making the photo. The latter was over an hour as I waited for the sun to go off the rock. Slowly I became aware of being in nature rather than outside it. In the time that it took to make the photo I became aware of nature changing around me, as well as noticing the weathering marks on the rocks.
Slowly the large format photographic event became about the experience of being in nature: that is becoming aware of the wind, sea spray, the sounds of the waves and the gulls, the heat reflected from the rocks onto the human body, the clouds covering and uncovering the sun, and the ever changing light; rather than being the photographer standing as an outside observer gazing upon the form of the coastal rock formation.
So what to make of this embodied experience of large format photographing? What did it mean in terms of the history of the landscape tradition in Australia? Did it mean anything, given that this was, and is, the traditional land of the Ngarrindjeri people? This is where the sealers and whalers stationed on Kangaroo Island prior to 1836 grabbed and made off with the women from the Ngarrindgeri people.
What would it be like to photograph this country from the perspective of the Ngarrindgeri people after land rights I wondered?