James Farley (Artist)

Research output: Non-textual outputs, including Creative WorksCreative Works - Original - Visual art works


Reciprocity was a PhD exhibition presented at the Wagga Wagga Art Gallery from 13 May - 25 June 2017.

The exhibition explores cameraless photography as a tool for ecological thinking. This exhibition concludes a larger sequence of research projects exploring post-photography and the practice of ecological stewardship, which I have undertaken as a PhD student at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga.

My research is motivated by the rising ecological crisis of anthropocentric climate change and the driving forces of unchecked exploitation from western capitalist cultures. I am particularly interested in the ways traditional landscape photography is implicated in this ongoing culture of exploration through the lingering influence of aesthetic traditions such as the beautiful, the picturesque and the sublime. Such traditions allow landscape photography to be used as a colonial tool for classifying, conquering and commodifying the land, ultimately reinforcing the western narrative of Nature/Culture dualism.

Western cultures have long operated under the assumption that they are separate from, above and thus entitled to exploit all the earth’s natural resources and ecological systems. However, climate science confirms that collective human activities are impacting the wider geophysical and biophysical systems that regulate and support the current community of life on earth. Anthropocentric climate change reveals the belief that human beings are in any way separate to those systems as a dangerous and destructive myth.This fact demands a reconsideration of all tools that have long been used to perpetuate this cultural myth. My project falls in line with a wider movement across the arts, sciences and humanities, that responds to this challenge through ecological thinking.

Ecological thinking is an expanded way of studying, understanding, and living within the earth’s dynamic systems. It embraces radically expanded notions of self and species and accepts that human beings are intricately connected to an all-encompassing web of codependent, interrelated and constantly varying
processes which combine to regulate life on earth. Ecological thinking is committed to exploring and celebrating these connections.

As a recovering landscape photographer, my approach to ecological thinking is grounded in a photographic practice that does not impose a view of mastery over the land. Instead, I have employed the lumen printing process as a means of engaging with the environment, collaborating through a haptic process of exchange and chance to create images that reveal the agency, vibrancy and value of the ecological community. Put most simply, I make photographs with the environment, rather than take photographs of the environment.
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputArtwork
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2017


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