It was not until some 60 plus days of waiting across two summers that I achieved what I had come for. And then I got a run of four days in a row with the most incredible light. It was as if the universe was saying to me that we were just waiting to see if you were serious about what you were doing. And having worked out that I was it decided to throw in a few extra bonuses on top.
This most beautiful part of the world will shortly be closed off to us all forever. Courtesy of what some call progress. And others call greed.
That place in the range will forever be incredibly special to me. It’s a place where I spent ten days in a row where the mercury exceeded 45 degrees. It’s a place where I sat out a cyclone. It’s a place where I got to watch a herd of brumbies at close quarters every day and a dingo that came right up to me one afternoon. It’s a place where I stepped over one of the world’s most deadly snakes wearing thongs and shorts one afternoon.
But it’s a place which I had all to my own for around 74 days. Just me and the weather and the beauty and the animals and birds. It…..was……amazing. I still yearn to be out there. And I would happily do it all again. In the end it wasn’t about the photo. It was about being at one with everything around me. The days didn’t matter the longer time went on.
If many of the step shifts in my approach to photography were founded in the East Pilbara, some of the most significant moments of my life were founded in the West.
Anyone who has spent time in the Pilbara will know that mining development in the past 20 years has been extraordinary. A major driver of my work focuses on capturing aspects of our world that are rapidly changing. And ever since I first drove through the Hamersley Range back in April of 1998 the Pilbara has been deeply embedded in my soul.
Following on from my cathartic experience on the sides of The Governor back in the summer of 2012/13 I set my sights on photographing a remote part of the Western Hamersley Range the following summer. It was a place that I’d spent time in during the winter of 2009 but I’d taken beautiful photos but not necessarily important photographs. A ramp up in mining activity and talk that access to the area would be closed because of mining in the coming years added a sense of urgency to my desire to get in there.
I was convinced that persistence would yield string results results if I allowed myself the same amount of time that I had on the Governor in 2012 - 2013. So on Christmas Day of 2013 I began what would become a five week journey. One that tested my mental reserves of patience and endurance.
I left after my five week stay with little to show for my time there. I resolved to return again the following summer.
On Boxing Day of 2014 I returned again, confident that three or so weeks would deliver the results I was hoping for. With nothing after three weeks of waiting I determined that if I failed to succeed that summer then I would return the following summer and the one after that and the one after that and the one after that until I was eventually successful.