A Current of Change examines the concept of the Anthropocene through landscape photography of the Crudine Ridge Wind Farm. The photographs represent the relationship between historical and contemporary practice and approach human impact in a supportive capacity to initiate a positive and open dialogue on climate action.
The Crudine Ridge Wind Farm is located in the Central West of New South Wales. It includes 37 wind turbines operating at a maximum capacity of 134 megawatts, expected to power 55 thousand homes and avoid 358 thousand tonnes of emissions (CWP Renewables, 2021). Humans have impacted the environment in irreversible ways through industrialisation, urbanisation, capitalism and more. The effects of human impact reverberate through the biological and geological as well as cultural, social, political and economic facets of an interconnected world (An Anthropocene Primer, n.d.). The Crudine Ridge Wind Farm directly responds to an increased awareness of the importance of sustainable energy sources concerning climate change (Wind Prospect CWP Pty Ltd, 2012, p. 6).
Landscape photography inhabits more than aesthetic characteristics, it reflects and is influenced by cultural, economic, philosophical, political and other collective narratives, which may be visible and invisible within the lens (Bright, 1985). The Australian landscape inherits colonial ideologies of the picturesque and sublime, which assist in the construction of national identity and perpetuate stereotypes of people (Indigenous and non-Indigenous) and place (city and Country) (Giblett, 2011).
The emergence of contemporary practice within the current post-photographic period renders the malleable meanings (Bright, 1985) of imagery in a new cultural moment (Farley & Charles Sturt University, 2021). In a world dominated by information networks, more people are becoming increasingly aware of the human impact. However, while the visual can initiate conversation and awareness, it may cause ‘psychological defence mechanisms’ (Stoknes, 2017), leading to denial. Per Espen Stokness (2017) suggests that in order to invoke an engaged response to global warming, strategies of the New Psychology of Climate Action should apply. By framing the landscape to engage a social and personal story and avoid adverse and triggering reactions, we can reframe and engage in more effective communication.
The photographs created for A Current of Change are part of a journey of developing a personal understanding of an interconnected world in which human cultures and nature coexist within a shared consciousness. The representation of the rural landscape occupies elements of historical practice. However, the scenery is transformed by the presence of the wind turbines into a direct and symbolic reference of universal change.
An Anthropocene Primer. (n.d.). What is the Anthropocene? Retrieved 4 June 2021, from https://anthropoceneprimer.org/index.php/what-is-the-anthropocene-2/
Bright, D. (1985). Of Mother Nature and Marlboro Men: An Inquiry into the Cultural Meanings of Landscape Photography (pp. 333–347). Routledge.
CWP Renewables. (2021). Crudine Ridge Wind Farm, NSW. https://cwprenewables.com/our-projects/crudine-ridge-wind-farm/
Farley, J., & Charles Sturt University. (2021). Landscape Photography in the Anthropocene. [Learning Content]. PHT220. Interact 2. https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_54494_1&content_id=_4209466_1&mode=reset
Giblett, R. (2011). Photography for Earthly Symbiosis. Landscapes: The Journal of the International Centre for Landscape and Language, 4(2), 3.
Stoknes, P. E. (2017). How to transform apocalypse fatigue into action on global warming. https://www.ted.com/talks/per_espen_stoknes_how_to_transform_apocalypse_fatigue_into_action_on_global_warming
Wind Prospect CWP Pty Ltd. (2012). Environmental Assessment (No. 1; Proposed Development of Crudine Ridge Wind Farm Central New South Wales:). Crudine Ridge Wind Farm Pty Ltd; CWP Renewables. https://cwprenewables.com/assets/main/Crudine-Ridge-Wind-Farm/PDF/State%20Environmental%20Assessment%20Documentation/Environmental%20Assessment/Environmental%20Assessment.pdf