'Rough & Cut' | The Surreal Beauty of Australia's Outback

Words and images ©  ABIGAIL VARNEY

Words and images © ABIGAIL VARNEY

Melbourne-based photographer Abigail Varney explores the opal mining town of Coober Pedy and surrounding desert in her series 'Rough & Cut,' Where she highlights both the bleak isolation of the landscape and resilient spirit of its inhabitants.

'Rough & Cut' offers a vivid perspective of Australia’s opal mining town of Coober Pedy and its desert surroundings. Infamous for its underground dug-outs and rolling hills shaped by the opal trade. The town’s isolation is palpable throughout the photographs, which is suffused with a strange dreamlike quality. Residential signifiers are less apparent; the landscape of rocky outcrops and quarries replaces the suburban skyline familiar to city people.

These quiet chaotic scenes are of apparent bleak desolation, but underneath inhabitants enjoy a cohesive, idiosyncratic spirit. The remaining resilient miners still carry hope of anyones fortune but the trade is slow and the rich history and thriving global community is now but a toured story for traveling guests. This series presents a stage for engaging our imagination of the unsettling surreal beauty and unpredictability of the Australian outback. 

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“The surreal beauty and unpredictability of this vivid desert town makes it well worth the trip.”

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