Andamooka, South Australia

As I have been going through my archives  I realised that my travelling along  the long road to the north did not start with the trip to Lajamanu as I had previously thought. I had actually been to Andamooka twice on roadtrips. The first road  trip to Andamooka was in the 1990s where I had made a few photos. I then returned to Andamooka around 2001 with Suzanne and we  stayed there for several days. I had  more  time to  photograph the landscape.

Linhof Technika 70

Andamooka, South Australia

The above image comes from the earlier trip in the 1990s. This  was on my own–a road trip in the VW  Kombi. It was a basically break from writing the PhD on Heidegger at Flinders University of South Australia.   Judging from the archives only a few photos were made  on the 1990s roadtrip. Continue reading

To Lajamanu: prelude

In mid-2016  after I’d  bought a swag I accepted Judith Crispin’s invitation  to  join  her and her friends to travel to the northern Tanami Desert to see the Warlpiri people’s Milpirri Festival at Lajamanu.  The Festival is held every two years  on the cusp of the rainy season at Lajamanu,  and it is the result of a collaboration between the Lajamanu Community, the Tracks Dance Company and the Lajamanu School.

There were several photographers amongst Judith’s friends–Juno Gemes, Helga Leunig as well as Judith herself, who had published  her book The Lumen Seed. Judith had a keen grasp of Lajamanu as a dynamic place with a history from her previous visits. I only knew Lajamanu from googling photos on the internet. It was just a fixed location situated on a map for me.

Sony  NEX-7
tree, Goyder Highway

I was the novice photographer on this trip. I intended to keep a low profile as I was very ambivalent about being a white photographer taking photos of the Wilpiri people in Lajamanu.

I had previously traveled parts  of  this  country on road trips previously: the Goyder Highway, Port Augusta and then on to the Eyre Peninsula, or to Woomera and Andamooka  in South Australia.  But I’d never driven  up the Stuart Highway to Alice Springs.   Though I’d travelled around Central Australia as a tourist in the 1970s I’d never been to Cooper Pedy, driven on the Tanami Track, or been to Lajamanu. I knew nothing about the Tanami Desert.

Continue reading