The Photograph Explained: “a technological oasis in an ancient landscape” by Rowan Conroy
Digital C-type photograph.
The title of this work is a quote taken verbatim from the informational video for this industrial installation in the heart of the Burrup peninsula, near Karratha in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. This work is from my series Puratha: the sad place. This series surveyed the landscape of the Burrup peninsula and the precarious place of the precious and ancient indigenous rock art that exists there, which now unfortunately has to co-exist with heavy industry. The series was exhibited at Sydney College of the Arts in October 2007 and at the Coffs Harbour regional Gallery in September, 2008.
At the time I found the combination of shooting large format film and drum scanning to be the most satisfactory way of working. This image is actually two 4 x 5 exposures stitched together in Photoshop to give this aspect ratio and also superior resolution when printed at nearly two metres wide. I continue to shoot large format but have found C41 films to be prohibitive to purchase and process (especially 8 x 10). I continue to love the process of composing images on a ground glass but for financial reasons its black and white only. My colour work these days consists predominantly of digital capture. There is still something exhilarating about composing an image on a 8 x 10 ground glass. I think it’s the fact that there is still something of the magic and wonder of the ancient camera obscura with this format.
Linhof Technica IV, Rodenstock 90mm f4.5 Grandagon. Fujicolour pro 160NS. Drum Scanned at 6000 dpi. Printed with an OCE lightjet printer.
Rowan Conroy in the field with Sinar P 8 x 10. photo: Duncan Bourne.