The walk was one way… Selina Wallace

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Selina Wallace is currently on the level 2 landscape course.  I wanted to show you her work as an example of photography being used as a creative expression because it is one of those frustrating terms tutors use that could be deemed incomprehensible!

The walk was one way is based on a fictional account of a man who went missing in the Adelaide Parklands (near where Selina lives).  The book opens with an aerial view of the area where the man was supposedly last seen. This beginning  immediately gives the viewer a strong feeling of discomfort paired with the desire to find out more. Good start!

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The images which follow are on the ground, black and white, detailed, as though they were taken by a policeman or a search party. The images and text read like a detective attempting to find and follow clues to piece together a puzzle.   The texts are descriptions of the photograph, or of one specific point in the photograph, and do not give any subjective readings where possible.  The combination of this cold text and the wasteland type imagery come together to bring a sense of mystery and suspense throughout.

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I thought the clue element made an interesting link to photography itself.  Often we see images as clues – trying to figure out their meaning in the wider context, needing to make sense of them and find an answer for their existence.  It’s interesting that, here at least, it’s all a hoax.

What I particularly like about Selina’s approach is that her work is directed by her own creativity. She is not dictated to by an idealistic notion of a picturesque landscape and its expectations (there are no ‘outstanding areas of natural beauty’ here and I don’t think she even used a tripod).  The specific idiosyncrasies of the land in her photographs, although they do very much play into her narrative, do not dictate the story.  In fact the opposite happens – the story dictates the meaning of the landscape we are looking at.  As a viewer we are given a context – a crime fiction – and the pictures feed into that narrative and make us eager to turn the page.  The context sets the scene and the images follow in line almost functioning like little clues and as parts of a greater whole.  I really like this way of using landscape which has been known historically to be used for scene-setting / status-massaging / statement-producing egos.

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In one sense a landscape picture is always submitting to the wider narrative (whether it be social, political, or personal) but Selina’s less dramatic and anti-sublime style of imagery takes the discourse away from monumental landscapes and their attached meanings and more into a personal, creative exploration.  It’s fun, it’s individual and it drew me in.

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Selina is not restricted by the need to portray the land in some sort of truthful way, nor in some sort of polished tourist way, nor is she required to stay true to the golden rules of landscape because she is paving her own way through this well-trodden genre.

Selina’s blog is private but she is very willing to let you in if you ask nicely.

14 Comments

  1. Martin 28 July 2014 at 10:18 am

    Really like the work. It is so interesting to see how we are drawn to the images in search for the not obvious, for the clues, for meaning. Usually we are drawn to take photographs and to paint and to make art with the “already beautiful” which in some way it’s a “finished product”, we are then captured for the beauty but not drawn to the details, we start the sentence saying “how beautiful” and usually thats the extent of our shortest monologue with the image. Whereas I find that in this work it works more as a dialogue. You want the picture to tell you something, you then think something and look again if the picture answers back. It usually does!
    Great work!
    Martin.

    Reply
  2. Stephanie Dh. 28 July 2014 at 12:48 pm

    It is really nice to see Selina’s work here. I have been following her blog since she began Landscape and I find her approach and reflections very inspiring!

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  3. Catherine 28 July 2014 at 4:23 pm

    Such a creative approach to landscape which could have lots of spin-offs as well.

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  4. Selina 28 July 2014 at 5:47 pm

    Thanks for your kind words Sharon (and Stephanie & Catherine).
    Now I just need to continue to keep up the creativity for the rest of my work 🙂

    Reply
  5. Annabel 28 July 2014 at 7:00 pm

    Selina, a wonderful story and I love your creativity.

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  6. Judi bushby 29 July 2014 at 9:03 am

    Wow Selina. Can just imagine next year’s SALA exhibition. Can’t wait.

    Reply
  7. stphotojourney 29 July 2014 at 11:16 am

    Hello Selina. What I great approach. I have just started the Landscape course. Would you mind if I follow your blog?
    All the best
    Susanne in Zurich (earlier in Shanghai)

    Reply
  8. Mirjam 30 July 2014 at 7:46 am

    Great idea! the format reminds me of “the nearest faraway place”….
    May I follow your blog?

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  9. selinawallace 30 July 2014 at 10:03 am

    Thanks all. I will give access to my blog when you request through the blog site. However I can’t access it myself at the moment as I’m in the UK but will do so when I’m back in Australia on the weekend. Thanks for your interest. It’s great sharing here with like minded artists 🙂

    Reply
  10. richard506896 31 July 2014 at 5:30 pm

    It looks like interesting work Selina. I’d be pleased if I could share your blog to study the work more closely. (currently studying Documentary, Landscape will come later). Many thanks.

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  11. Judy Bach 31 July 2014 at 6:00 pm

    Fascinating work Selina , I would like to follow your blog too

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  12. Dave Whenham 4 August 2014 at 5:26 pm

    Fascinating work indeed Selina, I for one would like to see the whole project 🙂 Regards Dave

    Reply

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