Fstoppers Interviews Rob Walwyn on His Upcoming Photograph Exhibition ‘Karrikins’

Australian photographer Rob Walwyn is internet hosting the primary exhibition of his challenge ‘Karrikins’ as a part of Sydney’s Head On Photo Festival. Karrikins paperwork the aftermath of the bushfires that devastated Australia’s east coast in late 2019 and early 2020. What makes Walwyn’s photographs much more gorgeous is his use of Kodak’s discontinued false-color infrared movie Aerochrome. 

Apocalyptic scenes of the 2019-2020 bushfire season made information world wide as huge swathes of the east coast of Australia burned. The bushfires claimed greater than 72,000 sq. miles of land, destroyed over 5,900 buildings, and most tragically, 34 individuals misplaced their lives. The devastation was not confined to human lives both — it’s been estimated that the bushfires killed greater than three billion dwelling creatures. Sure, that’s proper, three billion. 

Within the aftermath of the bushfires, Sydney movie photographer Rob Walwyn headed to completely different elements of New South Wales to seize the devastation and the regrowth that occurred quickly after the bushfires. He determined to {photograph} what he noticed utilizing one of many few rolls of Kodak’s Aerochrome movie he owned on the time. 

I’d be mendacity if I mentioned that the choice to shoot that first roll of Aerochrome on the bushfire regrowth was something however an aesthetic alternative. I hoped that brilliant inexperienced new regrowth snaking up the bushes would look stunning on Aerochrome. It was solely after I obtained the primary rollback and acquired some suggestions on the photographs that I believed this might make a extremely particular challenge.

Kodak Aerochrome movie is a false-color infrared movie developed by Kodak in tandem with the US Navy throughout World Conflict Two. Initially, it was designed for aerial images with forestry, cartography, and industrial and army functions, corresponding to detecting enemy camouflage. With Walwyn’s Karrikins challenge, Kodak Aerochrome has been used with gorgeous outcomes to doc post-bushfire regrowth. 

“Aerochrome captures the infrared gentle reflecting off the regrowth in lurid shades of pink and purple, contrasting in opposition to the burnt and blackened bushes, evoking photographs of the flickering flames that crept up these bushes solely months earlier,” explains Walwyn. 

On his first roll, he captured what he believes to be the long-lasting picture of the sequence: Karrikins #1. The picture exhibits the blackened trunks of bushes, which contrasts completely with the intense pink regrowth of recent leaves. Buoyed by this picture and the encouraging outcomes of this primary roll, the Karrikins challenge was born. 

The title of the challenge is a nod to the bushfire regrowth Walwyn documented by means of his images:

I studied Chemistry at Uni and once I got here to learn in regards to the household of molecules generally known as karrikins (with etymology deriving from an Aboriginal phrase for smoke), which can be produced throughout bushfires and may result in the germination of dormant seeds of a wide range of completely different plant species. I knew I had discovered the right title for my sequence.

Since that first roll of Aerochrome, Walwyn has documented the regrowth of the bush on greater than 20 rolls of valuable infrared movie. Taking pictures each 120 and 35mm movie, his cameras of alternative have been the Pentax 67II, Mamiya 645, and Fuji TX-2 (Xpan). Throughout my dialogue with Walwyn, he talked me by means of a few of his favourite photographs beneath. 

Karrikins #1 

Karrikins #1 was from his first-ever roll of Aerochrome taken in Bilpin within the Blue Mountains in March 2020. It was the primary picture he posted on social media shot on Aerochrome. 

The response and suggestions was unimaginable, not simply by way of the variety of likes and feedback this picture obtained, which had been orders of magnitude greater than a mean submit, but in addition the variety of individuals I had messaging me asking about prints and to search out out extra about this movie. The truth that I took this picture, which is the archetypal picture of this sequence, on my first roll, makes it much more particular to me. This picture is taken on the facet of Bells Line of Street, an space that was significantly devastated by the 2019-20 bushfires.

Karrikins #8 

Karrikins #8 was shot within the Blue Mountains in January 2021. At first look, this picture could not look particular, pictured is a particularly uncommon pink flannel flower (Actinotus forsythii). The pink flannel flower can solely be present in scattered elements of jap Australia, from the Blue Mountains to northeastern Victoria. 

This flower shouldn’t be endangered as a species; nonetheless, they seem so sometimes that many bushwalkers have by no means seen them. The flowers favor heath and open forest areas at altitudes.

The seeds can lay dormant for years on finish, ready for a particular confluence of occasions forming the suitable situations for his or her emergence – a 12 months or so after bushfire adopted by rainfall, which is strictly what the flower’s residence turf skilled final 12 months. After I noticed photos of those uncommon flowers popping up on social media, I knew it will be an ideal topic to shoot on Aerochrome for my sequence.

Karrikins #14 

Karrikins #14 is one other of Rob’s favourite photographs of the sequence to this point. 

This picture was taken in September 2020 in Yaouk within the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales. Solely seconds after I took the picture, the sunshine lastly broke by means of this in any other case cloudy and wet day and completely illuminated the scene with stunning gentle and a pleasant rainbow as nicely – after all, I missed these stunning lighting situations as this was the final shot on the roll, however maybe the cows wouldn’t have been lined up and staring on the digital camera moments later, so perhaps all of it labored out for the perfect anyway.

Karrikins #12

Lastly, I requested Walwyn to inform me about my favourite picture of the sequence. It exhibits a gaggle of younger individuals taking selfies and having enjoyable in a swimming pool, whereas the haunting pink regrowth and blackened bushes loom giant behind them.  

That is additionally from the Snowy Mountains, from the identical journey because the cow shot. The swimming pool is thermal – naturally 26 levels all 12 months spherical. It should be fairly good to go to the pool in winter when it is freezing. I noticed a picture of this pool on social media and the truth that it had these stunning bushes within the background and the mountains had been ravaged by bushfires, contrasting with individuals frolicking within the pool and having enjoyable, that is what made this picture particular for me.

Go to the Karrikins Exhibition

These are simply a number of the lots of of gorgeous infrared photographs Walwyn has taken utilizing Aerochrome for the Karrikins challenge. He has meticulously whittled down the photographs to only 17 for his first exhibition ‘Karrikins’ happening from November 24-28 on the Barometer Gallery in Paddington, Sydney. The exhibition is a part of Sydney’s Head On Photo Festival, which is happening at dozens of galleries and out of doors areas throughout the Emerald Metropolis till November 28. The competition additionally options workshops and panel discussions. 

Photos used with permission of Rob Walwyn.

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