Lost In Place

Lynn Smith Kreuzberg Bridge

Damien Minton Gallery 2014

Catherine  Cloran Digby  Duncan  Helen Grace  Caroline McLean Foldes  Sally McInerney  Ian Provest Suellen Symons  Chris Round  Lynn Smith  Niobe Syme

Curated by Catherine Cloran and Sandy Edwards

The question, what is place? presents many difficulties. An examination of all the relevant facts seems to lead to difficult conclusions. Moreover, we have inherited nothing from previous thinkers, whether in the way of a statement of difficulties or of a solution.’ Aristotle, Book IV, The Physics

Place is at the heart of the photographic work in this exhibition. To try to define place is to slip and slide from one idea to another, as often our attachment to a particular place can be emotional and subjective. However, ideas about place do typically revolve around notions of time, memory, history, identity, human activity and the interaction of nature and culture. 

Artists are able to non-verbally describe, evoke or create a particular sense of place. They can be inspired in myriad ways, such as by a strongly-felt sense of belonging to a place, by the memory of a dramatic event which may have occurred there, or quite simply by the sudden visual attraction of a place, due perhaps to a certain ambience or quality of light. 

The artists in this exhibition approach the notion of place with a wide range of purpose, conceptual intent and/or intuition, however in almost all cases people are visually absent in the photographs. Their presence is nevertheless strongly evident.

‘...a photograph of a place, because of its apparent lack of human subjects, can perhaps more easily reflect the thoughts, ideas and feelings of both the photographer and the viewer precisely because there is no obvious mediator.’  Judy Annear, Photography & Place: Australian Landscape Photography 1970s Until Now.

In every case the photographers have photographed not generic but specific places. The photographers are not so much concerned with addressing issues of land, home, and national identity but instead reveal themselves to be urban artists/travelers, outward-looking and aware of their position in the global world. However there is a sense of having truly experienced each place in either a close-up, intimate or sensory way. A sort of simultaneous inward/outward viewpoint.

And while not a travelogue, this exhibition takes us on a curious journey from Sydney to New Zealand, India, Russia, Beijing, Britain and back again. We are treated to panoramas, close-up fragments, intimate interior views, shadowy after-dark environs, meditative spaces, overlooked industrial landscapes and in-between spaces. 

Fortunately many thinkers and philosophers have written about place in the centuries since Aristotle, however the concept of place can still be difficult to locate. While we may find ourselves lost in place, one thing is certain - we would be even more lost without it, for place is the site of our memories.

Catherine Cloran 2013