Cotswald Farm is a National Trust site, situated in a valley between a set of low mountain ranges (the highest being Mount Dandenong, 633m), roughly 40km south-east of Melbourne, Victoria.
I see the formalisation of the landscape as a reflection of our European heritage. Cezanne’s works were an important influence on my aesthetic development in this series.
My earlier images of Cotswald Farm were all made using negative film, as compared to the transparency film which was more popular for landscape work at the time due to its crisp colour and strong contrast. Negative film was more commonly used for portraits, since it had a greater potential for continuous tone and subtle gradation of colour. I wanted to look at the land as a face, so negative film suited me better. In later visits to the area I explored the newer transparency films, which were much less contrasty, and finally even digital media.
Cotswald Farm, 1982, was made when I was attending classes in photography and was the first photograph I took which inspired me to focus on the Cotswald Farm area as a major point of study. I revisited this valley many times over the next four years, drawn by its complex form and design, and it was the focus of my first exhibition at Realities Gallery, Toorak, in 1986. Examples were published in Studio International magazine (Vol. 199, Number 1015 1986/87) after the show in 1986. It was also woven into a tapestry at the Australian Tapestry Workshop in 1994.
I have continued to revisit this location over the last thirty years.