Bill Heimerman: photographer and director of The Photographers’ Gallery…
Collodion tintype portraits of people who saw Lake Pedder in southwest Tasmania before this jewel in the wilderness was flooded for hydroelectricity almost half a century ago.
Gazed Upon Lake Pedder is an artistic homage to the lake and those who saw it.
“Lake Pedder was internationally recognised as an environmental treasure and it is considered to be the birthplace of the Australian conservation movement. My portraits will prompt people to contemplate what was lost and to focus on an important and uniquely Tasmanian story which continues to resonate today.
I never saw the original lake and its inundation has always haunted me because of the enormity of the loss and the human folly and carelessness it exemplifies.
For those of us who did not see this magical place my portraits will connect us to the past via the eyes of those that did. This connection is even more direct than with conventional photographs because collodion tintypes are comprised of silver grains made by the very light rays that bounced off the subject in front of the camera. They are not prints from an intermediate negative or digital file. And these eyes experienced the light of Lake Pedder. The collodion tintype portraits in this exhibition will thereby embody only two degrees of separation between us and the lost Lake Pedder.” Phillip England.
Salamanca Arts Cenre. Hobart until 30 June 2019
Image above: Melva Truchanas (2019). Collodion tintype photograph by Phillip England