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LA FOCUS // MICHELLE POWELL

 
 
 

QCP is taking books of sixteen Australian photo-media artists to PhotoBook Independent (1 – 3 May 2015). This series of focus interviews gives an insight into the selected artists.

How did you get into photography?
I worked part-time in a film based photographic lab during high school and uni as I completed a Bachelor of Science (Psychology).  The access to inexpensive processing allowed me to experiment with techniques. My passion for photography continued throughout my career in the public welfare sector. After a move to Tasmania I decided to study a Diploma of Photo-Imaging at TAFE as a creative outlet and to expand my digital photography skills. At this point I realised I was serious about pursuing photography full-time. I went on to complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts and this year I am enrolled in the Honours Research program at UTAS.

How did you arrive at the decision to create a photo book, and how is working with a book different from working on an exhibition?
The series from the moon to the mountain was a yearlong project created for a group exhibition. The work documents my journey along a water course from its endpoint to its source. As the work progressed, I decided that the photobook format was the best way to create a narrative of the rivulet’s vast terrain. By fixing the images in sequence and using blank pages as spacing to change the rhythm of how they are viewed, the format expresses both the continuity of the rivulet and our fractured access to its journey. The book format also fits in with my aim for the work to be viewed both as personal memoir and document, exploring contemporary landscape photography’s transition away from literal depictions of place into more metaphorical terrain.

Tell us a bit about your book featured at PhotoBook Independent.
from the moon to the mountain was designed as an one-off artwork for exhibition. After moving from the Western Australian wheatbelt to the Hobart suburb of Lutana, I felt a disconnection between my fantasies of the Tasmanian wilderness and my new suburban locale. Lutana (an aboriginal word for ‘moon’) was an ironic choice for a ‘tree change’; it is also the site of the Nyrstar Zincworks.

I decided to walk the New Town Rivulet from its endpoint in the Derwent River near my home to its source on kunyani/Mt Wellington. In photographing this waterway in sequence, I was seeking a connection to the place in which I live that transcended the artificiality of maps, and was inclusive of cultural and historical contexts.  The photobook documents my personal journey and explores our cultural engagement with corridors of nature within urban environments.

For more information about Michelle Powell, please visit her website.

Banner image: from the moon to the mountain cover

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