Civic Melancholy

A photographic exhibition of urban landscapes in regional Australia



I am interested in the idea that photographs have an inherent melancholic quality, and how this is driven by the contextual relationship between the representation, and subsequent interpretation of an image’s content.

This body of creative work explores this concept with particular reference to urban landscape in regional Australia, and employs strategies that blend irony with sadness by juxtaposing the aesthetics and the content of the images. Whilst the compositions are deliberate and aesthetically disciplined, the subject matter is inherently less elegant. Even without people, only places, such images primarily allude to the transience of human life. The consequence is to elicit a sense of the melancholy, rather than the traditional landscape’s more customary mood of sentimentality.

Such imagery blends the urban landscape with social documentary photography. It achieves this by archiving a cultural and social record of people and events, resulting in a kind of social landscape that can be questioning and challenging to the viewer, as well as provoking contemplation and reflection. Ultimately it can empower us, by reminding us that our urban “civic” environment is a consequence of our collective behaviour.

Civic Melancholy was the first exhibition showcasing this body of work. I am currently working towards a major exhibition of new work as a completion to this project, which will be hosted by the Wagga Wagga Art Gallery in 2015.