Pastoral landscapes

The landscapes were part of a pastoral culture that was seen as the determining force shaping the culture of the continent prior to 1945. The nation became increasingly defined by the values associated with pastoral life with a belief that the nation’s identity was entirely located in the bush.


This was a nationalist culture deeply opposed to industrialization, the city and modernism. Modernism stood for disease and decadence according to both Lionel Lindsay and J.S. MacDonald, director of the National Gallery of Victoria. This was the culture of Australian conservatism and it was determined to suppress the emergence of modern art during the years between the 1918 and 1945.

dead trees + Mt Chambers

It is still difficult to avoid the white culture of pastoral Australia and its pastoral landscapes as it became state culture with the cultural and political conservatives.

Are we able to examine and criticize the content, form and practice of the pastoral landscape to establish a different way of looking at the land? is this what Albert Namatjira achieved with his landscape water colours? To protect the symbolic and metaphysical meaning of that territory, by mimicking Western representational traditions?

Can we be self reflexive about photography’s traditional detached perspective in photographing arid landscapes in South Australia? Can the pastoral landscape tradition be reworked to include an environmental perspective or dimension? photography’s detached perspective

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