Thick photography

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Across remote Aboriginal Australia, phone and tablet photographic technologies are giving rise to vibrant new forms of visual culture. Greenscreen software, montage and .gif effects enable the creation of layered images that literally pulse with meaning and affect. Akin to bark painting – yet deliberately different – such images reveal the spectral depth of Yolngu worlds. At a time when families across Arnhem Land face relentless loss and social stress, the making, sharing and viewing of elaborated family photographs reaffirm, reconstitute, and thicken a world of vitality, resonance and ancestral significance. Through deliberately posed and often highly postproduced photography Yolngu can creatively participate in a profoundly synaesthetic and sentient world, a world enlivened by uncanny encounter, a world that requires the ongoing affirmation and renewal of relationships through imagistic practice. This is a world of sensuous force and inside meanings, a world that far exceeds the registers of what the eye can see, the camera can capture, or, indeed, what the anthropologist will ever know.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-132
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Material Culture
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Thick photography'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this