Lowhead Portraits

Low Head Portraits were created using a combination of two 19th century image making techniques – cyanotypes (blue prints) and silhouettes. Each portrait is composed from onion bags and a selection of sea sponges gathered from Low Head at the mouth of the Tamar River. These materials are significant motifs for both sides of my family, as well as for the broader history of Tasmania.

Low Head saw the arrival to the colony of my convict forebears who would later become farmers on the fertile red soil of the Deloraine district. My sea captain great-grandfather regularly sailed up and down the Tamar on his way between Melbourne and Launceston. My mother and I both holidayed at Low Head as children.

These are anonymous portraits: the identity of each friend who assisted me to make them is incidental. More important is the way the edges of the image bleed into the surrounding space, unsettling the subject’s identity. One possible reading is that they speak to the ongoing unsettling impacts of colonisation.

75cm x 56cm