Geomorphology explores the immense forces of nature that shape the ancient rock formations of the MacDonnell Ranges in Central Australia. This region is part of the traditional lands of the Arrernte people and the indelible legacy of Arrernte artist Albert Namatjira is still evident when walking through this landscape. Thousands of years of intermittent floods have carved canyons through the quartzite, creating waterholes and creeks. Alongside these grow River Red Gums that have adapted over time, taking over dry riverbeds and sending their roots deep underground to find water.
My practice centres on immersing myself within these environments, alongside avenues of scientific, historical and cultural research. Conversations with my geologist father, Allan Wells, have given me a deep understanding of how these natural landscapes formed over thousands of years. Throughout my childhood, I accompanied my father on geological expeditions, camping for long periods in the Central Australian deserts. As an adult, I have returned a number of times, camping in riverbeds and taking photographs of the Larapinta Trail in Tjoritja (West MacDonnell National Park).
The works for Geomorphology continue my experimentation with the materiality of the photographic medium through darkroom and digital photographic printing processes. I have reflected on questions regarding endless time and the role of water in the creation of these landscapes, and used a medium-format Hasselblad camera to distil these compositions. Black-and-white film extracts the essential information and enhances the tension expressed in the rock face and the surrounding landscape, accentuating millions of years of exposure and erosion.