About the Photographer
Australian, b. 1975
In 1989, when Odette England was fourteen, her parents were forced to sell her childhood home, a dairy stud farm in Australia, due to falling milk prices. Twenty-two years later, in 2010, England returned to the property with her parents, and gave them color negatives she had previously taken of places on the farm where her parents had photographed her as a child. She asked them to affix the negatives to the soles of their shoes and meander through the homestead. As they walked throughout the farm, the negatives became torn, damaged, and imprinted with dirt and debris. England then took the fragile negatives and printed pictures from them. As she poetically describes, the project is “a movement of reclamation and transcription. Since I cannot work the land with my hands, I work it through the lens, and allow it to work the lens, too, in a sense, through the tread of my parents.” England makes work inflected with the notion of the Australian “walkabout,” in common usage meaning the Aboriginal custom of a man leaving his daily routine and setting off alone and into the wilderness on foot on a spiritual quest. Here, England directs her parents in her own version of the walkabout, where a ritualistic journey provides battered, yet beautiful, physical evidence that suggests a sacred and emotional attachment to place.