Central’s ‘isolated landscapes’ explored

SHARE
The ‘‘light, lines and designs in nature’’ are presented in warm detail through photographer Eric Schusser’s latest exhibition, which explores Central Otago’s solitary, isolated landscapes.
‘ These landscapes
are at their most perfect in the soft early morning light or in the subtle late afternoon. That is when the light, lines and designs in nature are revealed to perfection, when the light brings hope to the inherent sadness in the
landscape. ‘
The Alexandra photographer has taken his lens to the Bannockburn Sluicings and Dansey’s Pass areas in ‘‘Recent Landscapes’’, showing at Cromwell’s Hullabaloo collective, of which Schusser is a member.
Schusser described the‘‘warm tone, black and white photographic images’’ as featuring his trademark style of ‘‘minimal human presence and struggling landscapes, with a strong emphasis on developing northwest weather fronts and accompanying cloud formations that complement the dramatic landscape vistas’’.
He said Central Otago was laced with ‘‘solitary, desolate and often isolated landscapes’’, and during his 35 years of living in the region he had often been drawn to the Bannockburn Sluicings, the hills near Cromwell and the Dansey’s Pass area.
‘‘There is something elemental and vast about them. . .These landscapes are at their most perfect in the soft early morning light or in the subtle late afternoon. That is when the light, lines and designs in nature are revealed to perfection, when the light brings hope to the inherent sadness in the landscape.’’
Schusser, who left his role as long-time head of outdoor education at Dunstan High School last year to pursue his photography fulltime, said he had several other projects under way.
He will have work included in two upcoming Hullabaloo exhibitions; has various personal projects on the go, including one called ‘‘Southern Topographics’’, which focuses on southern rural towns such as Heriot and Milton; he recently attended a course on photogravure (printing digital images on to a polymer coated plate and then rolling inks on to the plate and printing an image through a printing press) at Wanaka’s Autumn Arts Festival; and he has been working on some recent commissions.
The opportunity to work fulltime on his photography was a privilege, Schusser said.
‘‘I have the luxury now of chasing the weather to dramatic places and places with a minimal human presence . . . I’m loving every minute of it.
‘‘I still do some outdoor education relief work and adventure safety systems advising and some crosscountry ski instruction in winter, and really I’m still working full time with far too many photo projects on the go at once. It’s a nice place to be.’’
He was also thrilled with recent awards he had won, last year winning the Central Otago award at the Arts Gold Awards for the second time in a row, and last month gaining a merit award at the Arrowtown Arts Festival.
‘‘It’s motivated me and given me the confidence to enter my photography into competitions at a national level more often.
‘‘It’s also got me much more interested in photography as contemporary art, which often means looking at things from a non landscape perspective, so you never stop learning, and I’m doing a lot of research around contemporary photography around the world.’’ – ‘‘Recent Landscapes’’ is at Hullabaloo until June 4.