LAND SEA YOU ME is officially off the ground.
G'day folks and welcome to the LAND SEA YOU ME blog. I'll be keeping you updated from my tent, from the saddle, from the clifftops and from the sea surface (just as long as Telstra allows). I look forward to sharing the journey with you, drop me a line if you want to meet me or join me for a day on the road, this is a journey for all of us.
What can I say but wow. To get to this point, let alone be only days away from hitting the road has been a trip in itself. We launched the concept in August 2015, after 6 months of quiet planning behind the scenes between myself and my partner/producer Myf Cadwallader. We had an idea and a timeline and that was it. To look back on how far we've come, and how far we have to go is a healthy mix of pride and fear. So thank you all for helping us to get here and showing us off in style.
Thanks again to our friends and sponsors Atkins Photo Lab for welcoming us into their newly refurbished showroom and gallery and to Old Jarvie and Swell Beer for wetting our whistles (they'll be hanging around at the other end of the journey too crew, see them again at the exhibition or grab a drop from your local in the meantime if you can't wait). Three fantastic South Australian companies supporting this small South Australian adventure.
Thank you also to the speakers on the night, Paul Atkins, Chris Thomas from National Parks and The Honorable Leon Bignell MP. To have the support of such a wide range of our community is humbling and hopefully means I'm on the right track. Below you can find a few words from my speech and the wonderful photography of Alex Kwong. He's great with people (and a camera).
What is LAND SEA YOU ME? This journey will be a unique photographic essay on South Australia in 2016. Unique in its methodology and unique in its imagery and delivery.
I would like to take you back to where it all began. In 2014 I was fortunate become the first photographer to win the Heysen Prize, with a photograph Samudera Satu. In researching Heysen for a talk to sponsors, I discovered he would pack the caravan with his young family and go bush for weeks and months at a time. It was his methodology that inspired me. Spending time immersed in the landscape, you can hear, see, smell and feel your subject, something not otherwise possible. To slow down to the pace of the land was a very appealing prospect, and for me that means the coast. The dynamic, ever changing, undulating and destructive coast.
I'm currently in my 3rd year of professional practice as a commercial photographer, but it is my personal work that feeds my soul and excites my senses. My personal work is heavily influenced by the ocean. I use the camera as a conduit to enter environments in which I may otherwise be uncomfortable, to explore themes I couldn’t otherwise articulate. I try to convey the romance, fear, trepidation, beauty, and power of the sea and coastline and it's relationship to the human psyche. I draw inspiration from the tales of Melville, Cousteau, Winton, the salt encrusted paperbacks found in shacks, seafarers and mariners of shipwrecks, sea monsters and sea shanties. The fear of the unknown which even today is real for so many, yet an environment in which I find comfort and solace and an unreserved respect. Having a camera between the subject and me allows me to put myself in situations in which otherwise I would be uncomfortable. It allows me to explore fleeting moments never to be repeated, lighting events never to be seen again.
My work is composed of modern photographs made with modern equipment, yet are timeless in their subject matter, scenes that have existed for millennia and will continue for millennia more. This journey will be a photographic record of SA in 2016. To explore our sense of place as South Australians, our cultural and natural history and importantly our future. Slowly making my way along our coast will allow me to see the landscape through the eyes of people who have shaped the land and been shaped by our home.
This will be a story beyond a series of photographs. It will be landscapes with a history and a future, seascapes encompassing all our hopes and fears and portraits of a person, place and time. The journey will be the story, the photographs will be storyteller.
LAND SEA YOU ME will be both a photographic and physical journey. It will test me physically, emotionally and artistically. 5000Kms at a minimum by bike. Trailer on the back with all my living equipment, photographic gear and food and water. Camping every night, waking to the light. It will be uncomfortable, cold, wet and at times lonely. I'll spend my time in the saddle, in the sea and on the land. I'll spend my time with the people and strangers who live and love by the ocean. I'll photograph the moments that would be missed if it weren't for slowing down and moving pedal by pedal. The physical journey, the traveling from west to east will be kept as organic as possible. The day-to-day will be determined by the light, the communities and towns I pass through and the people I meet. I'll begin in July and finish in December, but between those times I'll leave my adventure to the whims of the LAND, the SEA, and YOU and ME.
LAND The journey will take place on land, and I will be photographing some of SA's most wondrous landscapes, seen by few. It will be an interaction between adventurer and landscape. It will be a showcase of the raw, unbridled beauty of our country. The misty mornings, the scorching heat of the day and the cold nights. I will explore and learn the relationship of the people and their land, the Indigenous history and our future.
SEA I has a relationship with the ocean strengthened by personal photographic work in the brine. The sea will be shared by the surfers, and the megafauna along the coast, by the farmers, the divers, the fishos and families on holiday. I will capture it all from land and at sea level. It is the whitecaps, the rolling waves and fog, the calm days, the cliffs of the Nullarbor, the sunsets over the ocean, the shipwrecks and salty tales.
YOU This is the people that I will meet along the journey. This is everyone who follows the journey, reads the book, or buys a print. You is the people who will share a meal with me or a roof for the night. You is the friendly folk of South Australia's coast, the workers, the drifters, folks who have made their homes nestled amongst the dunes. You is the sponsors and supporters who make this journey possible.
ME This is the relationship between me, the bike and the road. This is the gruelling kilometres I will put in the saddle. This is my photography and me as the adventurer, surfer, environmentalist, storyteller.
This will be an adventure in three parts. The journey in the saddle, the book and exhibition. The journey will be me on the road on the bike for the next 6 months, the book will be a limited edition hard cover collaboration between myself and Voice design, one of Australia's leading design studios, and the exhibition will be an immersive experience, bringing the coast to you.
Why now? Why the bike and why South Australia? The coast in forever changing and not always for the best. To be able to conduct a photographic essay of a subject in its entirety will be a wonderful opportunity for now and for the future, a visual diary. SA will never be the same again and to tell the story of who we are and our relationship to the land will be a privilege. South Australia is blessed by a remarkable landscape and lifestyle, one that so few get to experience. As surfers, we naturally want to adventure far and wide, opening up and exploring the state's wild spaces, I want to bring what we experience to those who would never dream of it, I want to show SA's world class national and marine parks to those who've only read about them, and I want to show to my grandkids the pristine, unbridled world I grew up in. I want to excite you, to share a yarn with you, bring our story to you, and to get you hungry to experience the world in which we are so fortunate to live. This I believe, is best achieved by bike. Opening up whole new sounds, sights and feelings you miss flying by in a car. By bike you feel the earth beneath your feet, you wake to the rhythm of the country, and you are welcomed by the folk along the route and can engage in their stories and they in yours.
From the first day I announced this project I've been inundated with offers of help, places to stay and people to meet. South Australia has already shown me the warmth and resilience we know its capable of, it just helps to do something a little different to see it.
Finally, I must send my utmost gratitude to my partner Myf. From the moment we conspired to make this journey a reality, she has been not only supportive, but indeed a constant motivation and inspiration. She will be both my metaphorical and literal support team on the road, while also playing the role of producer and mother to our daughter. While I'm toiling away in the saddle, she will be going on her own challenging adventure. A single woman and toddler alone in the harsh landscapes which I so crave will be an entirely different adventure for her. She will meet me when the land allows and go on her own LAND SEA YOU ME by car, a wholly unique and inspiring adventure in itself. She will have to find her own path for 6 months, whilst making sure I stay on mine. I literally couldn't do what I do without her. All the sponsors in the world couldn't help me out when I'm out of food and water on the Nullarbor, but Myf will, all while juggling a toddler.
This is a journey I'm extremely proud to be undertaking and I can't thank you all enough for the support and encouragement. I'm particularly indebted to the sponsors of the project who have seen the value in LAND SEA YOU ME and helped make it a reality. Businesses from all walks of life, Old Jarvie, National Parks, Swell Beer, Atkins, Bombtrack, Treadly Bike shop, POLER, Yeo Haus, Got Any Stickers, Creux, Benro, Otis and Arts SA.
As you can see a project of this magnitude has taken substantial backing, and not the least of who are here tonight. We are also indebted to the 64 individuals, businesses and families who contributed to our Pozible campaign, this journey is about the generosity and resilience of South Australians, and you have once again proven that true. For so many of you to put your faith and support behind our team is unimaginable and we are honestly overwhelmed and truly honored. So thank you, I've got a hug ready for you. I hope we do you all proud.