INTO THE APY LANDS

Since mid last year I have had a burning desire to get up into the lands and speak with the communities about what life is like encompassing the challenges of living so remotely and the rewards of beings close to country and the spirit of the land.

Being based in Coober Pedy this is ultimately made a lot easier shaving 1000km’s from the journey. The initial meeting time was 4pm to 5pm on the Friday in the town of Marla (243km). After four hours of waiting it became apparent that my contact wasn’t going to show.

The decision to head back to the studio had to be made however travelling in this area after dark presents a series of road hazard challenges such as wandering bullocks, kangaroos and emus so I ended up ghosting a three trailer road train for the entire journey making it safely back at around 11pm.
Wasn’t such a bad drive I have purposely left early so I could stop along the way and capture anything that caught my attention. This is a practice that I have found really mentally freeing as well as giving me time to stop and enjoy the country whilst still being on time for meetings and production shoots. I do feel for the truck drivers that flew past the shoot of the bloated cow.
Early start leaving Coober Pedy once again Saturday morning to head back to Marla for a second attempt at meeting up with my contact. Have to admit it was a strange experience being tired and sore without really even shooting a frame it’s a similar feeling I have after my assisting work.

This time my contact, Rueben Burton, did show up and quickly explained that a fibre cable had been cut somewhere in the lands leaving the entire APY without phones, internet, banking, food or fuel. This obviously caused some communication and logistical challenges. We drove for six hours into the lands passing communities along the way including Indulkana, Mimili, Freegon and finally Amata.

The sun sets as we reach the great mountains of the APY lands and pull into Amata to load in the equipment and hit sleep.

The next port of call was the community shop which was an eye opener with a common coles cake fetching $68 and malu wipu (tail) rounding out at $30 each. I could completely appreciate the struggles and challenges of the community living so remotely and paying such high prices for everything ranging from food, limited clothing and diesel sitting firmly at $2.20 a litre.

This trip was filled with firsts including wild donkeys, camels and boars walking the streets looking for vulnerable bins.

I would have to say the most disconcerting part of the stay would have been the 24 hour church service that is broadcasted throughout the town at quite an impressive sound pressure level. Think it was the duration of the broadcast coupled with the yelling and signal distortion.

Will be back for sure it’s just a matter of time. Big thanks to Rueben and his family for taking me into their lives even if for three days.

HOMELAND \ The Importance of Place
National Portrait Prize 2015

Australian Geographic Commission

My prefered workflow is a calm, intent based, highly detail orientated process. Often times...

On living remotely

Among the backroads and unmarked trails of South Australia, tuck away, there is a...

TENAFEATE CREEK WINES

A One Tree Hill residence back in the 1800’s called the Homestead – “Tenafeate”,...

A PHOTOGRAPHIC EXPLORATION SCREENS ON NITV

The film, commissioned by NITV, was produced by Wankangurru / Adnyamathanha woman Lavene McKenzie...

NO BLACK SEAS Launched at ACE OPEN

No Black Seas is a specially commissioned exhibition of new works by artists from...

VOICE TREATY TRUTH

First Peoples sovereignty has never been ceded – not in 1788, not in 1967,...

NATIONAL PORTRAIT PRIZE 2019

I’m a big fan of one thing doing two things or even three things....

Fremantle International Portrait Prize 2019

The timing of this worked out perfectly being in Perth for the Exposure Mentoring...

REVEALED

One of the best parts of being a photographer is sharing that passion with...

UNDERGROUND COAL SEAM GAS AT COPLEY

Earlier in the year we were in Copley creating the TWO WAYS Series and...

YURTU ARDLA PROJECT OPENS AT SAM

After two years of bush trips, wood collecting, workshops, museum visits and site specific...

NATIONAL PORTRAIT PRIZE 2018

It’s been a very busy year and not much of that has been personal...

PETER ‘STONEY’ STONE

Meeting Stoney up at his shack at Blanche Harbour was meant to be. Over...

LIMITLESS FIRST NATIONS PHOTOGRAPHIC EXHIBITION

Two years in the making the mentoring was a way of empowering community on...

NAIDOC THEME RESONATES WITH THE NATION

As leaders, trailblazers, politicians, activists and social change advocates, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander...

CityMag Editorial Commission

Culture is not always conscious. It is not just what is seen or heard....

GOVERNOR GENERAL SIR PETER COSGROVE VISITS DAVENPORT COMMUNITY

On his tour of South Australia Sir Peter Cosgrove, Governor General of Australia, stopped...

FOOTSTEPS \ The Road to Recovery

Photographed over four days on the west side of Port Augusta was a really...

BARNGARLA ‘SONGS’ PROJECT UNDERWAY

The project is being broken down into three stages: – Documentation and Collection of...

AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS

Great to finish the year with a bang. HOPE, a work derived from the...

PHOTOGRAPHIC MENTORING IN DAVENPORT COMMUNITY

Since August 2016 the mentoring project has been running within the Davenport Community in...

Dusty Feet Mob \ THE IMPOSITION OF COLONISATION

I first met these guys in the sandhills of Davenport Community and it quickly...

SPIRIT FESTIVAL

This was my second time as Official Photographer so it was great meeting new...

Language Films in the West

Being mobile is a huge advantage to my project work so when I was...

SOUTH AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINAL SPORTS FESTIVAL PORT AUGUSTA

Always a huge honour to be asked to travel around country to facilitate community....

Fremantle International Portrait Prize

Got a call from the head steward who asked me to clean up my...

SA ABORIGINAL WOMENS FOOTBALL

A lot of my work around Australia is classified as pro bono.This gives me...

COLLABORATION FOR ABC

Being still in one place for an extended period of time is not the...

COOBER PEDY SAINTS

Being a part of a small community has its benefits and offers many ways...

1 2