'Rough & Cut' | The Surreal Beauty of Australia's Outback
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.
“The surreal beauty and unpredictability of this vivid desert town makes it well worth the trip.”