Cuttings

Driving around the country I have long been fascinated by the diversity of colours and Textures found in roadside cuttings, places man and his machinery have gouged their way across the continent, laying down a network of bitumen and gravel to enable us to traverse the length and breadth of this wide brown land.

Men with D8 Caterpillars and huge traxcavators and blasting powder, and before them with compressor and jackhammer, and before them still with pick and shovel toiled to drive ribbons of roadway, kilometre, after kilometre. A minor consequence of these labours was to expose these wonderful textures and colours to any traveller who cares to offer a lingering sideways glance. As an advertising photographer in the early nineties I was commissioned by a graphic designer to come up with a suite of textured surfaces suitable for use as covers for telephone directories. At that time it was a fairly radical departure for something which occupied a fairly utilitarian place in most Australian households. It was a most enjoyable job, sourcing marble, slate, lichen covered rock, rusting metal, and using light, pigment colour and all my photographic skills to create dynamic and interesting Images. And even though the job afforded the anonymity of the advertising photographer, it was satisfying to know that, for a year, my photography occupied a place in just about every home or business in Australia that had a telephone. Photographing cuttings was a project that was envisioned, but never implemented from the early nineties. My original intent was to shoot on 8 X 10 transparency so as to allow the majesty of the large format to pick up every nuance and capture the finest possible detailed. But unfortunately I could never muster the necessary discipline necessary to work with such a large camera format on location to get the project off the ground, and so the project languished in the backblocks of my memory for over two decades.