Decided to return to the Ross River Resort (RRR II) because it is a lovely place, and because the people there are so friendly. Spent the late afternoon photographing black cockatoos – damned difficult to catch them flaring and showing those brilliant red tail feathers. Stayed in a bunkhouse – room to myself with heating – and splashed out on dinner. Afterwards, I joined Stef and Adrienne at their campfire. They operate landscape photography tours in Central Australia, in which they explore landscape/country and photography in partnership with Indigenous people (Digital Dreamtime, www.digitaldreamtime.com.au).
Our conversation ranged widely over the two nights, including photography, Indigenous people and their culture, outback travel, and so on. It was clear that many of us come to the Northern Territory and Central Australia with a set of beliefs, prejudices, and often misconceptions about the Indigenous people of Australia. Stef and Adrienne address this through a series of sessions in which their clients are immersed in the culture, and these sessions are arranged by their Indigenous partner. The hope is that the clients will gain a better understanding of Aboriginals and their relationship with the land, and this in turn will reflect in the photographs they take. I was reminded of this central and amazing fact that: Indigenous people lived in Australia, in harmony with their environment, without any major wars, and they did so for 60,000 years. Contrast that with what Europeans have done to Australia and its environment in less than 300 years of “civilization”.