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Tracings - a photographic investigation into being in the land

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Berg , C (2003) Tracings - a photographic investigation into being in the land. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

My primary motivation for this project has been to find a photographic
language that communicates the experience of being in the land.
The conventions of landscape photography are largely based on the concept of
looking at the landscape rather than being in the land. These conventions rely
on the monocular lens of the camera, linear perspective and, by implication,
produce a distancing, totalising view.
My investigation led me to abandon the use of the photographic camera and
find methods and techniques that required my physical engagement with the
environment and a touch-dependant manner for making images. I combined
the old technology of the photogram and the relatively new technology of the
digital scanner. Both image making processes rely on the physical contact of
an object with the surface that produces the image. In both cases, the resulting
image represents a trace of the object and a fragment or detail from the larger
environment. The added component of text, also refers to experienced time
and place.
I chose Maria Island, off the East Coast of Tasmania, as the exclusive location
for my project and conducted extended field trips there. Remnants of flora
and fauna and journal notes collected on the island became the source
material for the making of my photograrns, digital prints and text.
Searching for an appropriate format of presentation resulted in the
development of the frieze as an open visual device. The frieze invites physical
movement and imagining beyond the material borders of the images.
The theoretical context of my project is based on a comparison between a
Cartesian perspectival representation of landscape, and a phenomenological
approach to communicating experience.
The visual field I have identified for my project comprises works by artists
Richard Long, Hamish Fulton, David Stephenson, Tokihiro Sato, Nikolaus
Lang, John Wolseley, Karl Blossfeldt, Harry Nankin and Susan Derges as well
as a reference to drawings from the Baudin expedition. I have discussed the
works in regard to issues that are relevant for my own project; how they deal
with land, fragment and detail, the awareness of being in time, the trace and
the format of the frieze.
My original contribution to the field consists in how I have employed the two
seemingly disparate technologies of the photogram and the digital image to
materially engage with the land and to transfer this into a coherent expressive
body of work. My investigation has resulted in an interpretation of the
environment of Maria Island that resonates with my experience of being in the
land and provides one model for a viable phenomenological approach to
landscape representation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:

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Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2010 05:24
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2016 05:54
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