September, 22 2010
West Coast Hwy (on the way to Cape Preston)
Mollie Hewitt

On Wednesday we ventured to Cape Preston to visit the power plant that is under construction as part of the new magnetite mining project. On the way we paused at a truck stop - perhaps in an attempt to capture the ugly and the uninspiring. It is interesting that in such a relatively young town there can be such a strong sense of desolation and abandonment. Places like these seem to forecast a future full of haunting and dry nothings, while also seeming to be so full of hope, movement and potential - how is this possible?
The natural environment of the Pilbara is harsh and arid, and in so many ways the industry reflects and repeats the land. I have seen this is the aerial photographs that Les took in Port Hedland - where the natural patterns of Cooke Point water ways reflect the industrial developments of the harbour. It is the same here in Karratha; there are so many repeated patterns like the tidal flats mirrored by industrial salt pans. It is all part of the consideration of scale.
Debris and detritus - another repeated vision. The natural formations of the rocks look as though they have been spat out by the deeper earth, or dropped in piles from something way above. There is also so much litter - beer bottles, cigarette packets, plastic wrappers and plenty of tyres.
There is something wonderful about moving through places with photographers, they make you stop and spend time in places that you would never have previously have considered of interest. We non-photographers are able to sit, consider and discuss the intimacies of the places we find ourselves, the smells, the sounds. We are able to be truly present in these places - all of which seem to talk to one another in a dialogue about who and what the Pilbara is.

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