When Carlo and his older brother purchased some farmland near Margaret River during the 1950s, the Forestry Department had already removed the best trees for timber. As farmers they were required to continue "improving" the land by clearing a percentage of trees from the property each year.
The marri and jarrah trees that are prevalent in this region are hardwoods. Lacking the heavy machinery for clearing trees outright, some farmers resorted to ring-barking the trees, leaving stands of tree skeletons dotting the horizon.
Carlo was fascinated with textures and forms found in nature. He would walk for miles, collecting shells and sponges from nearby Ellen Brook beach. The fallen bark from the ring barked tree near his farmhouse also caught his attention, bringing pieces of interest inside to his kitchen table. Running his gnarled old finger tips across the bark's rough surface he would make some remark or observation.
One of the recurring topics in my conversations with Carlo was his regret of having ring-barked that old tree. Over several visits, sometimes 12 months apart, I made many photographs of Carlo around his tree. After some time, a simple act of recording a moment had morphed into a series.
Carlo, like his tree is gone, only the photographs remain. I am now selecting and editing them into a small folio collection of silver gelatin prints to be made in my darkroom.
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