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Nature’s Restorative Power

 

Hasselblad X-PAN camera and Hasselblad X-PAN 30mm f5.6 lens with Kodak Ektachrome Elite 100 Extra Color film

Hasselblad X-PAN camera and Hasselblad X-PAN 30mm f5.6 lens with Kodak Ektachrome Elite 100 Extra Color film

The devastation caused by bush fires in my home state of Victoria on Saturday, February 7th continues. The latest count is 130 confirmed deaths and 740 homes lost.

Soon many of the affected areas will be deemed safe for visitors. When that’s the case I will make a point of visiting some of them. Although many communities that survive will be in need of the tourist dollar, my intention is not that of the tourist, but of the documentary photographer. I believe that it’s important that all aspects of the human condition, whether positive or negative, be explored. As long as your intentions are pure, and permission is granted, your images can make a real difference to the community in question and to the world at large.

There is also great merit in photographing ravaged landscape. A few weeks after fire, new life will emerge. It’s a wonderful metaphor that can provide a sense of hope to many folks experiencing hardship.

A photographer’s images have the potential to raise money for those that have lost their homes and/or livelihood in the fire. There’s also the notion of the time capsule. Images can become important historical documents that illustrate the awesome power of nature, the courage of the individual, the determination of a community and the resilience of the human spirit. Much has been lost, but much also will be found. For it is in our darkest hour when our true nature is often revealed.

Like many others I ask myself what can I do for those that are suffering, those that have died and for those that will build new lives in these currently devastated areas. Some things I’ll do privately, but others I can commit to here. In the short term I’ll work hard to make evocative images of some of the affected areas. I will share those images, and the experiences making them, with you over coming weeks. In the medium term I’ll run several photography workshops, on location, to help bring people and money back into the local communities. Some of the profits from the workshop will go directly back to the communities in question. Longer term I need to commit myself to photographing many of the most beautiful remaining sites in my state and sharing the images with the wider community.

It will likely be a week or two before I can begin this project. In the meantime I’ll be posting a series of more pristine landscapes, mainly as a reminder to us all of nature’s restorative powers. 

The above image was made at Melba Gully, Great Otway National Park, in Victoria, Australia. Just off the Great Ocean Road a lovely 30-minute walking track winds through cool, temperate rainforest comprising mostly myrtle beeches, blackwoods and tree ferns. Glow worms are visible along the side of the track in the evenings. The Big Tree, the bottom of which forms the dominant element in this picture, is a 300-year old Otway Messmate with a circumference of 27 metres. Given white settlement in this country is less than 240 years, I feel this tree provides a little perspective on the manic pace with which we tend to live our lives.   

Melba Gully is a gorgeous place along one of the worlds great drives. Do what you can to visit such wonderful places. Tomorrow the opportunity may no longer exist.

© Copyright All Rights Reserved

Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

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