Sense And Sensibility In Outback Dusk

My new book Outback Dusk is loosely divided into chapters. Each successive one represents a gear shift in mood and sensibility.

Recently on Instagram I started writing a story to accompany a series of images, each image representing a chapter. By and large this was the story that I had in my head when I was shooting this particular series of shots up on a farm in Nundle, in New South Wales, in 2007, before I published the first Outback book. 

  From   Outback   ( the first book in the series) 2007. Jo and Drue play a prank on a drunken Charles

From Outback ( the first book in the series) 2007. Jo and Drue play a prank on a drunken Charles

I thought it would be of interest to some of you to read what goes on in my mind when I’m planning and executing a shoot. Having a loose narrative is helpful to me, even if that narrative isn't evident to anyone else in publication, because it motivates me in the shoot, and I think it adds authenticity or layering, similar to that of  reportage or documentary photography, while simultaneously entertaining the way that movies or theatre does.

Even if I am shooting authentic farmers or outback men in their own environment, it helps to picture them as a part of a specific drama that is unfolding. And maybe it just amuses and entertains me during a stressful and exhausting shoot, as well as the subjects I shoot, because I let them in on it quite often.

  Alone in the shearers quarters, from a series shot for    Outback Dusk   , 2013

Alone in the shearers quarters, from a series shot for Outback Dusk, 2013

My new book  Outback Dusk is also loosely divided into chapters, with each successive one representing a gear shift in mood and sensibility, as well as story. There is, for instance, greater realism inherent in the camaraderie and outdoor activities in the first chapters. The second moves indoors and, by the fourth and fifth, elements of surrealism enter the equation as body shapes and outback props command the compositions, or the actions of the men become more removed from the everyday, the reality portrayed a little heightened, whether by lighting or by a sprinkling of  theatrics and  comedic larrikin cavorting, . A few of you have noted the breathing spaces between the sections, but I wonder whether any 'story' that I imagine to assist me both in shooting and in laying out a book, is actually evident to anyone else?

 A cropped section from a photograph from the Drover series, shot for Outback Dusk, 2013

A cropped section from a photograph from the Drover series, shot for Outback Dusk, 2013