Field Collecting in the Pacific Islands was dramatically different in the pre digital era, when I first went to New Guinea in 1985, I had never owned a Mobile Phone or Computer, they didn’t exist for a 23-year-old with a very modest lifestyle. I think that not being connected constantly to everything was blessing. When I was with people in villages, it was just me & them connecting in way the way that people connected over thousands of years, over food, shelter, interests in each other. I could have never imagined being connect to the rest of the world via a small plastic phone. I wrote letters to fiends over 6 months that were 20 pages long that were sent when I arrived back in Australia.
Field collecting artworks was not my first interest in New Guinea, at first, I was just amazed & happy to be around by the people & their very interesting lives. I did see & buy some artworks the first time I went but it was my second trip that I started to collect in more focused way but it was always the people the kept my attention & a place in my heart.
I always brought two cameras & my most important gear was the film & batteries needed to shoot normal 35 mm film, this meant I was generally ready to photograph people, ceremonies & artworks. I left my cameras out & let people play with them because it meant when I did take photos there were totally used to my cameras, I was extremely luck to be in the right place at the right time to see extraordinary events & ceremonies. I took 9000 field photos over the 40-50 field collecting trips I made.
I will start to post some of those amazing photos here.
I never let not finding artworks make me too despondent and I always thought I have come all of this way let me try my best to make it a positive experience for them & for myself, that meant being part of village & staying with a family for a few days. I like to think that I was successful in making ever visit with people a positive experience for them and myself. I had the opportunity to give of myself, my time & money.