Bowness Photography Prize 2018 / by Emma Conroy

Rowan Conroy Kiln #1 from the Series The Poetics of Detritus 2008- 2019 (ongoing). Piezography print on cotton rag. Finalist in the 2018 Bowness Photography Prize.

The above work is a finalist in the 2018 William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize. Here is the artist statement I submitted with the work:

Since 2005, my work has focused on the use of photographic technologies to address the beauty and discord, detailed richness and absence within landscape in Australia, the Middle East, Greece and China. This work Kiln #1, depicting an asbestos lined brick kiln, is part of a decade-long series The Poetics of Detritus which explores abandoned or overlooked sites in the built environment. These sites endure within the environment as witness to past human desires and motivations. The past echoes into the present through visual traces and artefacts. The disinterested eye of the camera renders these details, whether beautiful or unsightly, within the same frame. The earth is an expansive palimpsest, with many overlaid histories and mythologies written across its surface. Many of the places pictured in this series no longer exist.

Ruin thought can extend from the sites and fragments of deep antiquity to the sites of the recent past. Invoking this sort of  contemplation creates a continuum with other types of ruins, and is a methodology for seeing both the value of present conditions as well as recognizing the fragility and transitory nature of seemingly monolithic and stable systems and structures.

Rowan Conroy 2018