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Down Under: Whole Serie Enlarge

About the Work

When I wandered into the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery I saw some of the first photographs of Tasmania's aborigines. They were driven to extinction in the 19th century by immigrants from the British Isles. Truganini, was the last of their race. Here she is wearing her traditional shell necklace. I then photographed a modern version.
As I was leaving, I came across a special exhibit devoted to Errol Flynn of all people. I had forgotten nearly everything about this Tasmanian-born star other than that he was a fabulous fuckmeister - the Warren Beatty of his day. Pride of place in this special exhibit was given to a pair of his swimming trunks. Although I was at liberty to photograph anything in the museum, I was instructed not to photograph this particular item as it was privately owned and loaned.

Down Under

In 2009 I went around the world. I had no justification other than accompanying my wife on one of her publisher's business trips. Before we set off, lots of people enquired whether we would be going 'down under'. Yes, we were going to Oz. But at our first port of call, Singapore, as I wandered about aimlessly, my wife away in business meetings, I stumbled across my first down under. I was rather pleased as I now had some additional justification, even a sense of pride in undertaking such an extravagant journey.
Because my wife publishes books in the English language, our trip called at English-speaking countries. Each had evolved, one way or another, from the British Empire. The three things I remember of that organisation is everyone saluting the flag on Empire Day, a big map of the world in the classroom, lots of it coloured red, and my father's Daily Express with its 'EMPIRE and Foreign Desk.'
This trip took me a little below those scanty and superficial memories. Even to this tourist it was clear that there was an underlying and special peculiarity to each of these English-speaking places, established long ago, a long way from their origin in empire.

″I still use the same approach to my work: I get an idea, think of the title and then make the work. So not much has changed since 1964″

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