Exhibition shows snaps from skies

Countryman

For the past 30 years, Netherlands-born photographer Richard Woldendorp has been depicting the Australian landscape from a unique perspective - the sky.

As a veteran of many flights and with 20 books, numerous group exhibitions and 30 solo shows in Australia and overseas, Woldendorp is acknowledged as a giant of Australian photography.

It is not only the natural landscape and its extraordinary features to have caught Woldendorp's eye.

He also captures the man-made aspects of the landscape such as farming, crops, mining and construction.

He uses the camera alone to achieve his remarkable images and believes in the truth it can communicate.

Not a fan of manipulating images using computer software, Woldenporp instead prefers, in his words, "to retain the optical reality of what is there".

Abstract Earth is not just landscape - it is the landscape photographed by Woldendorp, a trained commercial artist and painter who still views the world through a painter's eye.

Although each photograph in the exhibition is a precise record of a landscape seen from the air, these scenes have the power and presence of large abstract paintings.

Like a painter, he sees himself principally as a practitioner influenced by the subject, using his creative spirit to produce aesthetically inspiring images.

This exhibition, initially co-curated by R Ian Lloyd and John McDonald, is retrospective of Woldendorp's work over the period from 1980 to 2007. The idea for the exhibition was built around the realisation that Woldendorp's work was at once documentary and interpretive - aerial photographs on one level and abstractions on another.

The exhibition comprises a total of 60 images, the majority taken in WA, and the rest in NSW, Queensland, Northern Territory, South Australia and Victoria.

They are all aerial photographs, very diverse in terms of the kinds of landscapes photographed and the resulting nature of the images.

As such, Abstract Earth is a unique and important body of work that challenges how we experience and understand our place within the Australian landscape.

Abstract Earth: Photography by Richard Woldendorp is on now at Lake Grace Regional Artspace, Stubbs Street Lake Grace.

The exhibition runs until Friday, November 8.

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