Contemporary Landscapes in Photography Awards

– by David Charlesworth

From July 19 to August 17, the Perth Centre for Photography is home to the annual Contemporary Landscapes in Photography Award or CLIP.

From around the world and across Australia, 34 photographers tested the bounds of contemporary landscape.

Artists from Argentina, Cuba, France, the United States, and the United Kingdom submitted their work.

Judges viewed the photos on the basis of their ability to challenge traditional landscape conventions as well as technical skill.

Australian photographer Emma Leslie won first prize for Gesture Study #2, while the student prize was awarded to Gwenaël Velge for Inhabited #1.

A judge’s commendation was awarded to Cyclorama by Graham Miller and Harrison Reid Sadler was highly commended for Study of a Partially Frozen Waterfall.

Photography was originally thought of as simply a snapshot of reality but even that is subject to the style and skill of the photographer.

Frozen Waterfall by Harrison Reid Sadler
Frozen Waterfall by Harrison Reid Sadler

These photographers further pushed landscape often times into the realm of the abstract, showing the versatility of the medium.

While there were many beautiful and interesting photographs in the exhibition, there wasn’t much for someone off the street to understand the more abstract ones. The only information of the photos was in the booklet and even then it was only name of the piece and the photographer.

There was no hint as to the ideas behind the works.

A major example was The Overlook by Dan McCabe, a photograph printed on Lycra and hanging limply, bunched on a white pine frame.

The actual photo wasn’t visible due to the bunching so to me it looked like they hadn’t finished hanging it, which was a great pity because there wasn’t anything to tell me otherwise besides its photo in the booklet.

The photographer had gone to lengths to prove a point but I have no idea what it was.

With the winner it was a photograph of orange, and the paper it was on had been wrinkled at the bottom, intentionally as I learned from its photo in the booklet.

Obviously the judges saw its artistic merit but there was no way for me to know why.

A quote by William Blake in the gallery’s booklet was quite apt for the exhibition.

“The tree which moves some to tears of joy, is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way.”

Had someone explained the tree, others might be able to share the joy.


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