For a number of years I have been documenting grassy woodlands in NSW and Victoria. Once common, these ecosystems have been reduced to small pockets amongst farmed land, along roadsides, across reserves and in tucked away cemeteries. Responding to ecologists and landholders, I return to the same sites and shoot seasonally. Represented in these two photographs are intact grassy woodlands, and woodlands that have been cleared and fertilised for sheep pasture. Grassy woodlands that have been fertilised will never support the same diversity of native plants again, but left alone and unmanaged, they will support a mass of weeds. Collecting from these landscapes, I aim to reveal something potentially lost in a traditional landscape photograph: the diversity at our feet, in the shrub layer and the trees above. The repetitive still life structure across my photographs highlights the change in biodiversity as land management changes. The images urge viewers to reflect on the past, present and future of these woodlands.
Carolyn Young lives and works in New South Wales. She is a PhD student in Visual Arts at The Australian National University and holds an honours degree in Natural Resources from the University of New England. Young is interested in our relationship with nature; drawing upon the research findings of other disciplines (for example ecologists and land managers) her work examines the interface between art, science and the environment. Young has been the recipient of several grants and awards and her work has been included in a number of national exhibitions. Commissioned works include Collective Memories of Shellharbour for Stockland and A Shared History of Hall: Nature, Farming, Family for the Centenary of Canberra. Her work is held in the collections of The Australian National University, Canberra; Goulburn-Broken Catchment Management Authority, Shepparton; and Murray-Darling Basin Authority, Canberra.
The OUT THERE Billboard Art Program is a Yarra Council initiative in partnership with 7-Eleven.