The eternal connection to country of three generations of Ngarrindjeri women, as seen through the eyes of Adelaide-based photographer and award-winning film director Christopher Houghton of POP Pictures, is the subject of Time & Place – a powerful exhibition of large format black & white photographs opening at Goolwa’s Signal Point Gallery on June 1.
Creating a positive message that celebrates the rich symbology of Hindmarsh Island (Kumarangk) within Ngarrindjeri culture, Time & Place comprises three portraits and a series of evocative landscape photographs taken on Ngarrindjeri lands across South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula. Several of the works reflect elements of the creation story and a 4 metre long photograph of Kumarangk forms the centrepiece to the exhibition.
With its underlying message of respect for the story and tradition in Ngarrindjeri culture, the seed for Time & Place was sown in 2011 when Christopher first met the women in his three portraits – Rita Lindsay Snr, her daughter Audrey and grand-daughter Rita Jnr.
“I happened to be working in Goolwa about ten years after the Hindmarsh Island bridge had been built, when I witnessed a reconciliation ceremony initiated by the Ngarrindjeri,” says Christopher. “It was the first time I’d been personally exposed to the Hindmarsh Bridge affair and after being introduced to the Lindsay’s I was incredibly moved by the stories they shared with me. Over time, they became interested in being involved in a project which transcends the politics around this tragedy and instead pays homage to, and celebrates their intensely personal connection to country.”
To honour the historic traditions of the landscape and the Lindsay women, Christopher dusted off his wooden 5×4 field camera to capture the photographs.
“Using a traditional approach slows the whole process down. It requires you to commit completely to each photograph,” says Christopher. “Compared with digital photography it takes significantly more time to set up and capture a photograph. It’s a tempered and organic process and after a while that practice becomes meditative – you have to become immersed in the landscape and be truly present in the moment, which is when the best ‘art’ tends to happen.”
Born in Brisbane, Christopher Houghton has lived and worked in Adelaide since 2005 – co-founding POP Pictures with producer & journalist Louise Pascale in 2009. An accomplished writer and award-winning film director – including the Best Short Film (Audience Award) at the 2007 Adelaide Film Festival for Swing – photography was Christopher’s first passion and his early works featured in multiple solo and group exhibitions in Qld through the late ‘90s. Time & Place will be Christopher’s second solo photography exhibition in South Australia following his successful Sons & Mothers showing at the Packer Gallery in 2012.
The exhibition is presented by Country Arts SA and the Alexandrina Council.
Time and Place: A Photography Exhibition
When: 1 June – 21 July 2013
Where: Signal Point Gallery, The Wharf, Goolwa
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 11am – 4pm; Sat, Sun & Public Holidays 10am – 4pm