Issue 15
Monday, 11 September 2017
Charles Darwin University
PhD candidate Lee Harrop. Inset: “Welcome to Western Australia”
PhD candidate Lee Harrop. Inset: “Welcome to Western Australia”

Gold mine photo in running for rich prize

By Patrick Nelson

Visual arts PhD candidate Lee Harrop’s evocative image of an abandoned open cut gold mine has been short listed for a prestigious national photography prize.

Lee said she was delighted to learn that her work “Welcome to Western Australia” was among the finalists in the $25,000 Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award.

“Just to have been included is a big deal for me,” said Lee, who took the vaguely haunting image during the six years she lived in Kalgoorlie.

“The photo depicts an inflatable gold swan floating past a partly submerged head frame in a disused mine pit that has back-filled with water,” she said.

“At one level it represents the Western Australian gold mining industry, but more broadly it poses questions about the global ramifications of mining. It draws attention to the phenomenal quantities of water used in mining processes and comments that we can do a better job at cleaning up after ourselves.”

Lee said the image was produced wholly within the camera.

“There’s no post-production involved. An in-camera filter allowed me to render the colours to achieve a slightly toxic effect. 

“I wanted to create an image where viewers were drawn in by its beauty, but to then realise that it was also disturbing.”

The Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award showcases a variety of established and emerging talent, and is regarded among the most important surveys of contemporary Australian photographic practice.

The winner will be announced at The Arts Centre Gold Coast in the second week of September.