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The Australian Environment

"The book covers 30 years of consistent landscape / environmental photography. My work attempts to transcend the standard collectible tourist photograph, looking instead at documenting underlying structures and qualities, choosing the vernacular, carefully designed and imaged in sympathetic light. I believe it represents a more subtle way of seeing, understanding and appreciating our environment. The images are in 3 chapters (+ epilogue) each representing a particular approach to the environment. In Search of Essence (ca.1981 ) documents my visual exploration of the benign, Arcadian Australian landscape. Grounded in childhood experiences of a "green and pleasant" Australia, the work centres on rain forests, waterfalls, coastal heath lands and alpine meadows. The work is motivated by a desire to create beautiful, insightful images to understand my adopted homeland and communicate its essential qualities. Who Speaks for this Land? (ca. 2000 ) evolved from my gradually increasing ventures into more marginal landscapes. These images connect with "tortured" fire-ravaged, semi-arid and saline country and are more concerned with the struggle for survival. This work attempts to make deceptively mundane marginal environments such as salt lakes, gibber plains and dunes into extraordinary places: allowing the land to speak for itself. Sorry Business (2007 ) is a work in progress. The self-explanatory title derives from an Indigenous Australian expression for funeral. There is a sense of urgency in this body of work. These photographs show Australian landscapes irrevocably altered by changing climatic conditions and ever-increasing human demand. They chronicle soil erosion, rivers of salt and billabongs of sulphuric acid: collateral environmental damage resulting from our lack of empathy for and understanding of the ancient and complex Australian continent. as planned designs are subject to the random workings of the natural world. Christopher Koller's choice of equipment - a cheap plastic camera - doubles this. The photographer's control of the photograph is in constant play with the unpredictable effects of the camera and its distortions. Koller delights in the camera's 'mistakes': its limited focus, unexpected bursts of colour, and tendency to reveal artefacts of the negative. In Paradeisos, these camera-effects blend with the gardens, and with the tension and play that we find in the combination of careful organisation with unruly nature."
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