Diary excerpt, Eyre Highway: There are many things to see. Some seem like stage-sets from a distant era, others stand out in their nonchalant triviality, ready to be seen only by eyes that dare to find significance in things unspectacular and forgotten. There is much to be heard – the trees swooshing by us in a rush, the deepness of silence, the land breathing heavy under the heat. Our thoughts, as wide as the scene unfolding before us, are riper in stillness. In the hungry search for lasting memories and beauty, the question begs: how do we classify one thing above the other, subscribe to it more meaning?

Australia is a vast and expansive land, yet it counts amongst the most urbanized countries in the world, and rural towns have long faced population decline. National economic shifts and their resulting stagnancy, farm adjustment processes and the effects of droughts have all contributed to a steady decay in the local, particularly in the wheat belt.
      During the summer months, when harvest is done, those remaining flock to the ocean for relief from the heat, leaving behind ghost towns scattered along the country's main highways. The Encounters project is a work in progress, documenting regional and remote Australia in a globalised 21st Century, all the while journeying into our complex relationship with the land.

–Katrin Koenning

 

Katrin Koenning  currently lives and works in Melbourne, Australia. Much of her work explores the ordinary and everyday, and is concerned with questions of place and belonging. Her work has been featured in numerous national and international exhibitions, publications and photography festivals. She has won a number of awards and is a former Editor of the Australian PhotoJournalist Magazine.