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Marrying photographs from the collection of the National Library of Australia with an evocative and contemplative essay by poet Mark Tredinnick, Australia’s Wild Weather is a lyric field guide to Australian cloudplay and rainfall, wind and light, storm and calm, hail and snow, cyclone and duststorm, drought and flood, and fire. Tredinnick asks us to look at our assumptions about weather. We are a stable people on a stable continent, whose weather is not, in fact, uncommonly wild, and perhaps we tell ourselves stories of meteorological disaster (narrowly and bravely survived) to reassure ourselves we’re real. But Australian identity is without question an adaptation to habitual drought. Drought is in our nature. It’s in the way we speak and in the way we get about our lives —undemonstrative, dry, imperturbable. As if we had three years at best. As if emotion were a scarce resource. As if beauty were always suspect and unreliable…
These are times in which, of course, weather is no longer small talk; it is most of the news. Tredinnick contemplates with quiet urgency what it means to be living at what may be the beginning of the end of the weather we have known.
‘Weather is the oldest story in the world — one we want to keep on telling each other when we meet, as though it were part of who we are, a story that wants to keep on telling itself, and affecting us, whether we like it or not. We breathe it in; we see embodied in it our fears and desires; it falls on our heads. And we’d better take care of it: our lives are in its hands.’ Mark Tredinnick
Here are Australian sky, land, sea, and cityscapes in snow, rain, hail, fire, dust, drought, wind and sunshine by photographers such as Max Dupain, Frank Hurley, Bruce Postle and Mark Strizic accompanied by Tredinnick's sometimes powerful, sometimes playful but always richly evocative prose.
Poet Mark Tredinnick has written imaginative essays about all the elements that beset Australia -- clouds, rain, wind, hail, cyclones, mist, frost, dust storms, snow, floods, fire and drought. Each is illustrated with many evocative photographs from the National Library's collection of 550,000. They are by renowned photographers, for instance Frank Hurley and Harold Cazneaux, and Tasmanians Olegas Truchanas and Peter Dombrovskis.
It seems a strange formula for a book. A poet, writing about weather, in a book of short, lyrical essays punctuated by glorious photographs drawn from the collection of the National Library of Australia.
But sometimes the strangest recipes makes a palatable dish, and Mark Tredinnick's survey of clouds, rain, wind, frost, fires and dust is oddly compelling.
Wild Weather is a thought provoking picture book, honouring the work of great photographers as it ponders our uncertain future in the face of the might and majesty of the weather.