Murrumbidgee Photo Exhibition – 26 Days

A new exhibition opened on Thursday last week (1st September 2016) at the Tuggeranong Arts Centre. Entitled Murrumbidgee River – 26 Days, the exhibition marks 26 days of photographing the Murrumbidgee River and its environs. The photos were taken by two Canberra teachers, Alan Lee and Jonquil Mackey, who chose to capture the river as it travels through widely varying landscapes and communities.

Jonquil and Alan talk about their inspiration and the work involved in putting the exhibition together here:

“Our interest [in rivers] started early in primary school, where the importance of rivers to the opening up of arid Australian lands to European settlers was emphasised. However, for those of us who dwell mostly in the city, such lessons are easily forgotten. This project has enabled us to rediscover some of the truths about our waterways and their present day manifestation.

The Murrumbidgee River has a beauty of its own. It supplies water to a great deal of flora and fauna and has been significant to indigenous people for thousands of years. It has also been tamed and turned to generate electricity and irrigate cropland. Our regular expeditions to the river have given us a greater appreciation of the tensions caused by these different roles.

The inspiration for the project was the discovery that it takes a drop of water an average of twenty six days to travel from the headwaters of the Murrumbidgee in the Snowy Mountains of NSW to where it joins the Murray River in Victoria. The time taken overall varies according to the path taken and whether it gets held back or diverted along the way. This parallels our photographic journey; the twenty-six days of photographing were non-consecutive and spread over 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

The Murrumbidgee project deviates from our usual practice in terms of scope, length and subject matter. Whilst we worked closely together on this project we often took different approaches. Alan leaned towards the documentary, and often strayed into the hinterlands. Jonquil was drawn to the abstractions where water and land met.

The project is not over ; photographic projects rarely are. Twenty-six days isn’t long enough to know the Murrumbidgee. However, we hope our images further your interest in this river and the issues facing this and all our water courses.”

We think that these beautiful images are a fabulous way to help us to create a connection and better understanding of our river, and, as Alan and Jonquil say, help to provide insight into the issues that face our rivers. We really encourage you to go along and see these beautiful photos that reflect the rivers if you have a chance before the exhibition closes on the 1st of October.

Featured image by Jonquil Mackey. More information about the exhibition is available here.