at Garden Island

On my last trip to Adelaide I decided to  return to exploring the Port Adelaide region. As I was down that way  to see the chiropet with Kayla,   I decided  to spend some time  scoping  around  Garden Island area.  It has been ages since I have been there,  and I wanted to return to the ship graveyard that I photographed in the 1980s. 

Most of the ships in the graveyard can only be accessed by kayak.  I was  in luck that day as  I was able to  access part of the ship graveyard due to  the low  tide.   It was overcast, which is what I'd wanted for the photos.   

What had changed? Surprisingly, not that much. The Sunbeam was still there, even if its hull was more decayed.  The mangroves  were heavily infested with mosquitos so I didn't hang around trying to see if I could access the other ships from the river bank.   

Interlude: reconnecting with Port Adelaide

The Covid-19 pandemic has meant that my  planned  interstate travel in April 2020 to  photograph old industrial Melbourne  had to  be cancelled. SA's borders are closed and Melbourne still has several outbreak Covid-19 hotspots. The national lockdown  has meant very limited travel--initially staying at home, exercising in one's postcode  and photographing  locally.   Once the restrictions started to ease in South Australia to allow limited travel within the state's  borders,   I wondered if I  could introduce something  new  to keep the drosscape project going--ie., I could build on my  old Port Adelaide  photographs, and then link  them to  those  of industrial Melbourne? 

Would that change the nature of this low key  project? Would it become a project about memory: a project haunted by the past. If it was   possible to  photographed the Port anew, then what would that look like and how would it link to the old? 

I had photographed the industrial landscape of old Port Adelaide in the 1980s. Then the Port was characterised by obsolescence, decline and grime.   What of the present Port Adelaide,  which was in the process of being re-branded through an obliteration of the Port's history and its industrial and maritime working class character? 

 I returned to Port Adelaide after stage 1 of the easing  of restrictions,  and  I wandered around some of the areas where I'd photographed over a decade ago.  Though I made  the odd photo whilst I was there, I was more or less reconnecting with, and picking up the traces of the  photographic past. 

The  picture  below of the Port River estuary is from the archives,  and it was the first  location  that I  returned to and checked out.  Had anything changed? If so,  what?  Were there new photographic possibilities? 

Not really was my response. I needed to move on.  

As I wandered around  I kept wondering whether I could re-connect with this archival body of work that was made whilst I was living in Adelaide's CBD. Could I build on the documentary work that I had been doing then? If so,  what would be the  concept behind the  documentary  photography of this  old industrial area and that of Melbourne? Heritage photography?