THE TARKINE by Chris Bell Laurel Press, RRP: $ 85, chrisbellphotography.com
HOW do you capture the essence of the Tarkine in a book? This is a question that Chris Bell’s new publication The Tarkine attempts to answer.
Photographing a magical, wild and truly stunning area of Tasmania, of which many have no real understanding, is an endeavour not many photographers would be game to take on.
What is refreshing about Bell’s latest book is that it doesn’t hide in the shadows of Tasmania’s photographic past.
Names like Peter Dombrovskis and Olegas Truchanas have haunted Tasmanian wilderness photographers with an unimaginable yardstick.
Bell has taken a wide variety of approaches to juxtapose different elements of the landscape, creating a complete visual account of the area. Sweeping sand dunes, deep myrtle forests, swirling foam patterns and close- up work with bull kelp all work together to represent the Tarkine’s diversity.
The images of bull kelp are some of Bell’s strongest pieces.
They serenely capture the essence of colour, form and mass of the Tasmanian kelp forests.
Bell’s work with the textural rock formations on the coast are beautifully simple and communicate the drama of the West Coast.
The diversity in approaches, however, creates its own problem and at times the images become incongruous, interrupting the rhythm of the book.
This is a beautiful book and showcases Bell’s photographic talent and while it’s impossible to sum up all the Tarkine is in a single body of work . . . you can inspire the viewer to go out and experience it. To this end, The Tarkine is the best appetiser imaginable.