Photography with/in a Broader Humanity



In 2010, I was commissioned to create a portrait of Ngarrindjeri artist, Rita Lindsay Jnr for Country Arts SA (South Australia). We met at a healing ceremony at the coastal town of Goolwa in Ngarrindjeri Country. The aim of the ceremony was to attend the trauma caused by the building of the Hindmarsh Island Bridge; an action by developers that instigated South Australia’s most tragic land rights battle. Becoming familiar with the story of Kumarangk and the bridge became a catalyst for a two-year conversation with Rita, her mother and grandmother. What followed was an invitation to use the medium of photography to explore the metaphysical relationship between Country and its human kin. What began as a single exhibition of works in 2013 has now prospectively become a life’s work. To date this has spanned three exhibitions, an Honours project and a PhD, all of which aim to articulate a practice of relational photography over one that objectifies its subjects. Acknowledging the ontological divide between Indigenous and non-Indigenous knowledge production, my aim is to talk about the notion of relational photography through the idea of kin-making across cultural knowledges and thinking. This paper is an introduction to a practice-based research project I have enacted over the last decade that troubles landscape photography and is motivated by the desire to decolonise my own thinking. By decolonisation, I mean the disinvestment in colonial hierarchies, binary thinking and practices of anthropocentrism.

Author Biography

Christopher Houghton, Contemporary Artist/Filmmaker/Independent Researcher

Christopher Houghton is a multi-award winning filmmaker and artist. His current work with photography advocates toward decolonised states of being in a discreetly Australian context. Approaching the practice as a form of embodiment, his photographs embrace the sentience of place, and live as an expression of relationship within culture, nature and time.

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