This first part of a new series by Paul Freeman is set far away from Bondi’s shores under a mighty Australian sky on a vast property filled with drovers, farm-hands shearers and cowboys, working and at play.
This extraordinary body of work, set in a variously tough and gorgeously coloured landscape, often evokes Australia’s pioneering past with sepia toning, ageing of images and a carefully controlled color palette of muted burnt yellows and reds reminiscent both of nineteenth century Australian impressionism and of early hand-painted photos. The collection has a ‘boys own adventure’ feel which those annual compendiums of ripping yarns might have had in the 1920’s and ‘30s. The qualities displayed by the men on these pages were as current a hundred years ago as they are now. Even the more obviously contemporary images are nostalgic, shot as they are in and around weathered timber farm buildings and parched fields littered with rusted old vehicles. Everything is worn but staunch and durable complimenting and contrasting the wonderfully varied and astounding array of manhood portrayed.