This is Alex Panelli’s contribution to the FOBIF turns 25 show.
What matters to me about this country is its happening. The way it happens with me, up close and all around – I am immersed in it. There are foreshadowings here, and also absences. This is country that, when we approach it, seems to open up, but also it entangles.
It was in my childhood that I first came, to an empty ancestral place that quietly waited. Much later, in 2009, it drew me again. I came to stay. At first then I took photos mainly of flowers, but there were also the slim trunks of Candlebarks wavering in the glow that comes through fog when the sun is rising. I moved on to tangled bush and, singular trees, still often in fog or deeply shaded frost, with the sun beyond them. I lay on the ground, took photos through grass. There were also photos, taken on summer days, of dancing shadows on the ground, the torsos of dying trees, and of human things discarded. Also, of leaves submerged in water in hollows in the ground, and of the reflections on a pool of water’s surface.
Looking at these things afterwards, I was disappointed. There was a loss. I am not a great photographer but that was not the problem. Slowly and more deeply I came to realise, however consummate a photo may appear, the intense self-presence of a newborn flower, the living poise of a bird, whether resting or in motion, and the decaying, life-giving looming of an ancient tree that waits to fall, each one of these offers more in the occurrence of our meeting with them than any photo can. I would like my photos to acknowledge this.
This is not simple country. It attracts, but also it holds on: the before and the after, the living and the dead. They are present here.
Click on the thumbnail sized photos to enlarge.
As explained in a previous post all contributions to the FOBIF turns 25 exhibition are welcome and will be posted on this site. A selection will be chosen for display in at the Arts Hub, which will run between 25 February to 13 March 2023.