Brad Rimmer: Nature Boy, Dispossession and the Art of Fire

Shares

“The teens of the group had mentioned amongst themselves that Marie Kondo was probably part of the seemingly insidious discussion. Was the dispossession that the man raged about relegated to clutter or to economics? And…why should we/I/You concern ourselves with considerations of obscene boredom when the beds were allegedly burning? Not much fun in this family with a capital NOT MUCH”.

*”Dispossession is coming for you” a rotund and squat sunburnt man in his mid-50’s ranted at his extended family on their big day out near Wallongong. He continued his oratory suggesting that when it came, this dispossession that it would come “in sour meditations with hands fit for casts”. This was but one part of the larger sideshow curriculum on view this summer as the fires raged and the beach goers were finally more afraid of the land than the sharks in the azure waters. Talks of water running low and of joining the Koala Commission to save scorched paws pervaded the conversation. “Have you seen their poor little tongues lapping up water after being picked from the embers”?

 

 

The youth of the group had little inkling as to what the elders were speaking of when they regarded Neville Shute’s literary classic On the Beach as prescient and wished they had taken more time with the performance of their automobiles and its implications for contemporary living. If only they had saved a bit more and fitted out their kit, the real amusement could truly begin. The teens of the group had mentioned amongst themselves that Marie Kondo was probably part of the seemingly insidious discussion. Was the dispossession that the man raged about relegated to clutter or to economics? And…why should we/I/You concern ourselves with considerations of obscene boredom when the beds were allegedly burning? Not much fun in this family with a capital NOT MUCH. The kids were yet another cliché considered still as all right and together they suspected the referenced Shute bible book inhabited the same mental space of lunacy that someone’s idiot uncle was now currently espousing further.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:  Gregory Halpern - Watching Time Pass on Earth in 'East of the Sun, West of the Moon'

 

The man speaking, determined to be considered someone’s lost, not idiot uncle by the very least, continued to run his broken and lost alma mater mouth and continued to tell me/you/us that “the landscape never forgets-its pock-marked and iridescent scars reflect a simple shovel fit to a mouth full of thorn and pebble and yet, we believe, you believe, I believe that though the land may not forget-it is becoming clear that it will also not forgive”. We/I/you looked on somewhat disdainfully if not apathetic in the smoke encrusted breeze-if diamonds had a smell, you were quick to realize that the raging fires likely provided a fair metaphor. This man and his hand to mouth machinations were covering nearly as much ground as the orange haze was covering the sky above-and we/I/you stood waiting for the inevitable if not sardonic wit of Marie Kondo to capitulate her need to organize our lives into a mating call for locusts. And we cannot simply allow him to be a man named uncle much longer. Hereby, let us christen his name, if not his talent as “Captain Beef Stick”.

 

 

The wheat is as much about loss as it is about sustenance just as the locust is as much about its devastation as it is about its renewal of terms. Underneath the canopy of eucalypus trees, there is an ever-present yet undiscoverable taint of petrol scratched into the surface of its flammable bark. In the distance and across a vista of ungovernable and over-used soil stretches a horizon that is nothing if not impenetrable by force of aberrant geologies-rocks lie flat or buried waiting for plough share to ruin and this never-ending calamity of sight, its nothing ness and its consideration for ruin lies a discreet and uncomfortable truth-“time is a flat circle”. The vestigial tail of entertainment reminds Captain Beef Stick, with his dirt-caked nails and soiled Mountain “Do the Dew” T-shirt that everything is useless without a mouth in which to issue great pull quotes.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:  Ursula Schulz-Dornburg: Yerevan 1996/1997

 

“…and this never-ending calamity of sight, its nothing ness and its consideration for ruin lies a discreet and uncomfortable truth-“time is a flat circle”. The vestigial tail of entertainment reminds Captain Beef Stick, with his dirt-caked nails and soiled Mountain “Do the Dew” T-shirt that everything is useless without a mouth in which to issue great pull quotes.”

 

 

Nature Boy is a song popularized by Nat King Cole in 1948 based on a earlier version allegedly penned by Eden Ahbez, who also allegedly spent most of his 40s with his family perched under the “L” of the Hollywood Hills sign living on eastern mysticism and 3 bucks a week. Can you imagine the kind of heroic detail it takes to broker those margins in the new religion of pool parties and drainage works? I am told he was only in it for the cash and the disadvantages of head lice. His genre was certainly exotica.

 

Nature Boy is also a beautiful new book by Brad Rimmer (T&G Publishing). It is a sparse affair in which the considerations of place, namely Western Australia and the effects the land has on its people register with a divisive conjoining of melancholy and bittersweet affection for home. The above text is a slight rumination about what life might be like at the shoulder of prosperity and suffers if anything, an inclination towards a fretful imbalance of projected nostalgia and apocalyptic forewarning. I have been writing this review while watching the Australian wildfires spread with a sick and queasy feeling in the guts.

 

 

Nature Boy is also a beautiful new book by Brad Rimmer (T&G Publishing). It is a sparse affair in which the considerations of place, namely Western Australia and the effects the land has on its people register with a divisive conjoining of melancholy and bittersweet affection for home”.

 

The projection that I have placed on Rimmer and his book are in part from his use of both fire (on the cover) and the sickly orange that pervades his images of burnt landscapes and gnarled and twisted trees that hold the sky like aged arthritic fingers-a feel of desolate pleading or defensive would strategy, it is hard to say. The extensive text in the back also parallels some ideas about locality and inhabitant that I have used to contemplate an alternate version of “his” family. As Rimmer has put in a lot of time in his own text as it is extensive, I hope he allows me this trespass.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:  Erik Kessels: SHIT and Empty Infantilism

 

On the topic of text, I find it interesting that such a long and considered piece of writing has been separated from the images and placed in the back of the book. I am not advocating a critical disposition on the matter. I simply find it a shame that it feels somewhat like a different book in that sense. I guess this is the age-old gamble playing out about how to integrate photographs into text without making them completely illustrative playing out.

 

 

In many ways, the landscape of Australia reminds me of Western America, though the people feel different somehow. The use of portraiture in the book is somehow melancholy and I guess in some ways the images remind me of Gregory Halpern’s ZZYZX. The images feel illuminated by taillights and setting suns and offer a ruminating look at figures set against the vast expanse. There are images that pertain to civil life as well as agriculture and the whole of it feels absolutely prescient in the worst possible way as I watch real-time events unfold. In that regard, and with the beautiful craft of the book itself, I suggest the title based on these merits. Highly Recommended.

 

 

*Soundtrack Algiers: Disposession-There is No Year.

 

Brad Rimmer 

Nature Boy

T&G Publishing

(All Rights Reserved. Text @ Brad Feuerhelm. Images @ Brad Rimmer.)

Posted in Art, Documentary, Galleries, Photobook, Photobook Reviews, Photography, Photojournalism, Politics, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .