The Tarkine

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE - Richard Jupe

THE TARKINE by Chris Bell Lau­rel Press, RRP: $ 85, chris­bellpho­tog­ra­

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.

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