June 1, 2022
Growing up in temperate suburbia, the very concept of snow is one of distant amazement. 5 hours for a Melbournian. From the very first winding ascent of a mountain the wonderment remains eternal. No matter the season, a connection with the mountains does not end when the winter wonderland melts. These ancient gargantuan appear to be breathing, have a pulse & moods throughout the seasons. They attempt to hide their fragility. Being drawn to something so incredibly beautiful, also brings you closer to extremes that could realistically expose you to harm. This is the fascination.
In the presence of nature in its most powerful state, the respect of life is only heightened. I try to capture this in my images. Solitude in the mountains as a form of learning. Ironically after unending lockdowns & isolation, nothing calls louder than to be alone in the snow. I simply cannot wait to be wandering with camera.
There are types of isolation of course, the recent version that came with 5km travel limit & curfew is not conducive to a landscape photographer stuck in Melbourne.
Let’s not dwell, so back to where it began. A commercial photographer for 15 years, in 2015 something was missing. Photography in a commercial sense felt in a rush, the balance of commercial assignments had overtaken personal work. I needed a new project.
In August 2015 I drove to Falls Creek in Victoria. I’ve been asked many times, “Why Falls Creek?”. At the time I didn’t have a concrete plan, I had skied before but not necessarily a skier (it had been 10 years). Some of my training was in Car photography & numerous assignments were to Hotham & Falls, so certainly had an affinity with the mountains. I loved minimalism. Falls Creek seemed like an obvious choice, to photograph structures like Chair lifts & snow poles as minimalist intersections in the snow-covered landscape.
I travelled through the 2016 winter to the alpine regions of Australia & would eventually exhibit a collection in November of that year as “The Fall”. I had inadvertently begun an addiction with the mountains. I had not just started a project I had changed my lifestyle.
Eager to continue the momentum, in a Southern hemisphere context, I would need to wait a year to proceed in winter. It evolved my thinking to the transient nature & tiny window in which winter imagery existed, to seasonal change & metamorphosis. In one of those inexplicable timings in life, I had become aware of an Artists residency at Falls Creek. I was extremely honored to be an inaugural recipient with my proposal of “The Fall” becoming a year-long study of seasonal change. Based in Melbourne, I committed to monthly visits to Falls. There would be no greater story than that of the seasons & immersing myself in a location for a year.
I travelled further into the high plains, my pretext to contain man made infrastructure no longer a sole focus. I sought graphical compositions in the mountains & the glorious alpine light.
I got out of my comfort zone, hiked, Skied, camped amongst the snow – all pursuits I had previously little or no experience. I needed a spike in the learning curve to reach the locations I wanted to photograph. Entering this new world, you quickly gravitate to a like-minded passionate alpine community, eager to assist any project that champions the mountains, sustainability & protection of the winter environment. Enter amazing people like Cam Walker and the Victorian Backcountry festival – 3 days of education by passionate volunteers. (Definitely look it up (backcountry-festival.com). Enter amazing support from Falls Creek Resort management & the Falls Creek Arts & Culture Committee.
My confidence on the mountain grew & my work evolved with it.
I did not come from an alpine sports background, mountaineering or commercial background. I utilize Photography to document the landscape and communicate a story or sensory experience.
The results of that year were exhibited three times in 2018: Melbourne, Canberra & back where it was created, Falls Creek. I continue with the body of work to this day, minus the unmentionable two-year hiatus. Of course, fascination leads to higher mountains & faraway places, however this is the story of my own backyard.
Production is underway of an exhibition in near future, with further exploration in the NSW Main Range.
David Rosendale is an exhibiting & commercial Photographer