They say things happen for a reason.
I'm not sure of the reasons but sometimes you've just got to trust that the universe has your back. As hard as that can be sometimes.
In early August when I was headed out to a friends place early one morning, and I unavoidably hit a kangaroo, there was no option to swerve, no option to pullover and check the roo, and I had to amble my car a few KMs down the road to find a safe place to stop, in that moment, this was not one where I thought the universe had my back.
Yet, as I sat waiting in a safe space for the tow truck to arrive to pickup my car that was so clearly undrivable, I couldn't help but notice the marks on the road.
It wasn't the first time I've noticed these. On the way to several locations over the years I've noted several impromptu burnout pads, tucked away in regional places, away from the reach of local police, on wide roads with several turnoffs in one area. On serveral occasions I'd made the mental note to come back and take a picture, but invariably the light was never right by the time I'd returned.
In this moment as I sat at at a bustop, next to my damaged car, the light was right.
I'd made a habit of carrying a camera with me, as the quality of phone photos isn't fantastic when blown up large.
So I took a picture, or two, in the few hours I had to wait for the towie to arrive. I feel like it calmed me down in those moments of shock after the annoyance of the accident. Most of the photos that I took are a blurry mess, except a few.
About a week later, the Galah Regional Photography Prize was closing and it called for Contemporary photographic images. I've personally found Contemporary as a subject or style to be one of the hardest to master. Indeed I'm still struggling against taking a photo that means something in a documentary or photojournalist style, and not necessarily, but sometimes, not a pretty photo. For my understanding of this subject ive nicknamed it "weird" photography because it seems to break all the rules that we know.
Composition? Nah, forget it.
Focused? Nah, not necessarily
Something you'd hang on the wall? I guess there's a niche for everything, but not always...
So I put 3 photos into the Galah Regional Photography Prize.
One was an image I took of my neighbours fallen TV antenna through the window, I called it "Drowning" because it looked like someone struggling to stay afloat.
One from Tasmania of the harsh contrast in the morning light at Ronny Creek, I called this one "Transpire" because of the quick changes of the scene in the morning light.
And the one from this morning with the kangaroo.
1 was selected.
I was stoked, over the moon, I'd scored myself a finalist place with an image that is so-not what I normally shoot, for a genre I'd been trying to understand.
The one selected, was the one I took because I was stranded, and waiting for the tow truck. In this moment I wondered what the heck the universe was doing to me.
I called this image "The Bogan's Ballet"
In my head, the burnout marks are the remnants of a dance performed in darkness, the squealing, the burning rubber, the flickering headlights, the cheers. Like dancers with elegant moves, so too is tyre on bitumen, the dance of the bogan, at the Bogan's Ballet.
You could look at a mates ute tyres and go "Oh Kev's got some baldies again, he's probably been performing out at the Bogan's Ballet."
Everyone's got a Bogan's Ballet near them.
The winners are annouced next Friday, 10 November 2023.
Celebrate contemporary photography from regional Australia at the opening night party for the Galah Regional Photography Prize on Friday 10 November, 2023, at the M|Arts Precinct in Murwillumbah.
Preview the exhibition of 51 finalists and make a toast as we announce the winners of the $27,500 prizes.
There'll be dancing and the best of food and drinks. All we need is you to help us grow this event into a prestigious annual prize that can have a big impact on the careers of photographers living in regional Australia.
Food Bistro Livi
Drinks Husk Distillery and Tyrrells Wine
Music The Versace Boys
Charity Partner Country Education Foundation
Venue host M|Arts Precinct