In 1922 ‘Station Height Estate’ was renamed Merlynston and dubbed the ‘Toorak of North’, an exurb, a prosperous area beyond the city’s suburbia. Captain Donald Stuart Bain named the new suburb after his daughter Merlyn and insisted on a minimum quality of housing and strove to make each one distinctive.
Wedged between Faulkner Cemetery in the north and Coburg North industrial park to the south, Merlynston is undergoing drastic transformation. Merlynston Creek once travelled through the heart of Merlynston, now forgotten diverted underground into pipes. Shopping centers are popping up nearby, houses make way for apartments and young families make Merlynston their home.
My photographs reference notions of the great Australian dream, house ownership, belonging and impact of built environments on communities. The photographs are cinematic, staged; the lighting quality influenced by photographer Geoff Crewdson, depicting a dream-like surreal quality. I see the houses as sculptures, shape and form, three-dimensional, negative and positive space. I use light to describe my stories, the light crafting, shaping and forming narrative.
My images can be defined as a conceptual documentary, constructing narratives from real settings, my subjects are from the local community. The people in the community are of diverse backgrounds with diverse aspirations, all bound together by a cluster of houses that form a neighbourhood. ‘The neighbourhood offers a source of identity and connection, a place where basic needs may be met and predictable encounters occur’ (Sullivan, H 2005 and Taylor L 2003).
My Suburbia investigates facts and fiction of childhood memories. Whether you’re memories of your childhood are reality, half truths of fabrications they are real in our memories. This body of images explores the spaces between the gaps.
SSPIRIT OF THE GAMES
The Queen’s Baton arrived at its 71st and final destination, Australia, on 24 January 2006. It visited more than 71 countries, 500 Australian communities, and was carried more than 21,500 kilometres by 3,500 relay runners. Spirit of the Games documents this amazing journey.
AA WANDERING LIFE: JOURNEY WITH NOMADS
Post-1990 independence photographers flocked to Mongolia to experience and document its rich culture, nomadic lifestyle, and its visual dynamism. In 2001 I was one of many tourists, camera in hand, visiting Mongolia during its first significant wave of post-independence tourism.
A Wandering Life explores the essence of nomadic and tribal life. It is a study of people who move from place to place and understand the spirit of the land. This documentary is a study about then, Mongolia’s one million nomadic herders and their struggle to survive. Despite pressure to settle, the country is rich in cultural tradition and horseracing and wrestling events are still very popular.
Nomadic people live in their traditional ‘Ger’ homes, and food, language and religious beliefs remain largely in tact. My portrait study documents and celebrates the noble and proud spirit of Mongolia’s nomadic herders.
As one of those foreign lenses, my current enquiry scrutinizes my own processes in A Wandering Life – Journeys with Nomads, the series I photographed in Mongolia in 2001. Revisiting the original research material will enable me to better understand my motivations then and my current goals.