Disquietude: Landscape and the Australian Imagination

© Murray Fredericks from the series ‘Salt’
45 – 60 minutes plus questions
(90 minutes with sequential translation)
optional PowerPoint
lapel microphone preferred 

Many Australians have an edgy relationship to the land, with two-thirds of the population living in the seven largest cities, all situated by the sea. The continental centre is vast and harsh. It is perhaps because of this disquietude that, while Australia has some of the most dramatic scenery on the planet, landscape is rarely the subject of art photography. At least not directly…

This presentation begins by looking at the few successful contemporary Australian art photographers of the natural landscape before moving into the bustling cities to experience an urban splendour and suburban domesticity that prove nonetheless to be tinged with unease.

Against this background of a troubling reality, the presentation will go on to explore a growing interest among art photographers in annexing landscape to the realm of fantasy and creating whole new worlds of the imagination. The presentation will close by considering ‘the most popular landscape photograph in Australia’ … with revealing results.


“It was hugely refreshing to find in Alasdair Foster a person who could cut through the fog of rhetoric, jargon and posturing that is so abundant in the art world. His clarity is uplifting.”

Shahidul Alam, Founder, Pathshala South Asian Media Academy; Director of Chobi Mela, festival of photography, Bangladesh

“Alasdair Foster’s is a most memorable and invigorating voice; he incites compelling ideas and well-informed debate.”

Maurice Ortega, Director, Queensland Centre for Photography, Brisbane

“Alasdair Foster is an engaging public speaker. His refreshing, innovative and articulate approach makes him a highly effective communicator of challenging ideas.”

Bob Hewitt, Founder and Festival Director, FotoFreo, Perth



Download as PDF


© Murray Fredericks from the series ‘Salt’


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  • The majority of the texts on this site are by Alasdair Foster and represent his opinions. However, in order to facilitate a useful diversity of views, some texts have been invited from artists and colleagues around the world, while others appear as independent comments. These opinions and comments are not necessarily those of Alasdair Foster or Cultural Development Consulting (CDC). All data and information on this site is provided on an as-is basis. While every effort is made to be as thorough as possible, neither Alasdair Foster nor CDC make representations as to accuracy, completeness, currency, suitability or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions or delays in this information or any losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use.