A New Sublime Dialectic: Tension and Nostalgia in Contemporary Australian Landscape Photography.

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review


This paper that was presented at the Conference of Unnatural Futures at the University of Tasmania, Hobart Campus, on the Thursday the 3rd of July. The paper addresses the growing trend of resorting to Romantic language (both visual and written) in contemporary Australian landscape photography. Artists reference the concepts of the sublime and wilderness as recurring themes, yet the cultural systems that shaped our understanding of these terms have shifted greatly since their formation. It is therefore necessary to re-evaluate the language that gives meaning to these images. The prolific creation and distribution of photographic representations of nature highlights certain trends that cannot be explained by traditional romantic values placed on landscape. Rather than highlighting the awesome power that natural world possess over humanity, the contemporary trend is more concerned with alleviating the tension felt for the unknown future. This is achieved through nostalgically recreating the present, sharing its likeness and thus solidifying its timeless value. As the power play between man and nature continues to unwind, photographers (in the most democratic sense of the word) are focused on simultaneously consuming and sharing the natural world through photographs - thus assimilating it into a cultural system in which we are in control.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnnatural Futures
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventThe Conference of Unnatural Futures - University of Tasmania - Hobart Campus, Australia
Duration: 03 Jul 201404 Jul 2014


ConferenceThe Conference of Unnatural Futures


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