Musings on the Top End.
Where has the last decade gone? It was a time lived in sweat, prickly heat and air conditioning, along with the unavoidable seasonal smoke, dust and insidious mould. Relief was found in rolling rainstorms and the few serene days of gentle breezes once a year. A place of contradictions.
It is still the Wild West town that I experienced in 1976. A town on the make, then still recovering from Cyclone Tracy. The civic buildings are now higher and some have a tropical feel, no longer mimicking the Canberra Public building look of the post cyclone construction period.
The air is different, the sky is big, killer jellyfish and crocodiles lurk in murky waters. The people are mixed, loud and vital. Darwin faces and embraces Asia in everyday life. Darwin has something for everyone.
I sift through my photos and notebooks looking for patterns and a narrative structure to spur on the making of a third pictorial chronicle of Northern Australia? Disappointingly, the photos taken over the years are mainly of broken buildings, eroded landscapes peopled by shadows. No apparent joy there, unless that’s where my story lies.
Then there are the collages and doodles offering obscure glimpses of my time in Darwin since 2008. The recent images convey the impression of a loner living in hotels, finding solace in sunsets and reflection in water. Can I find the start of my tale in this lot or will the weight of doubt drain the energy before I even start?