Sense of Place and The Australian Landscape in Poems and Photographs

Home Institution

Colby College

Publication Date

Fall 2015

Program Name

Australia: Sustainability and Environmental Action


This paper discusses the process, finished product and conceptual findings of my creative exploration of sense of place within landscapes in Byron Bay, NSW, Australia. The creative piece yielded by this exploration takes the form of an ebook, titled “The Land that Made Us Human”. The book compiles photographs and original poems that are meant to reflect the natural environment’s intrinsic value. This book is intended to promote sustainability by demonstrating the ways in which the human condition is integrally tied to and shaped by landscape. By highlighting these aspects and capacities of the natural environment through images and poetry, the creative piece expresses an importance for the protection of landscapes.

I engaged with the local landscapes by immersing myself in them and keenly observing natural forms, processes and wildlife. I also observed the interactions of others with the local landscapes. In addition to observation, the works of Australian writers and photographers also informed my creative piece. I used my observations to draft original poems that reference the local ecology and culture to convey sense of place. The other portion of the creative piece is composed of original photographs that I took with a digital SLR Canon Rebel Xsi camera. I used Adobe Photoshop CS6 to edit these images. The finished poems and images were compiled in a software Bookwright that allowed me to upload and publish the book to a website called Blurb. The completed ebook will be available to download from Blurb’s online bookstore.

The images and poems in the book are meant to be collaborative in visually and verbally representing a variety of experiences in a wide range of landscapes. Many of the poems in the book are supported by the images immediately surrounding them in order to demonstrate the desired tone and feeling for the particular landscape. The book addresses both Aboriginal and colonial cultures through the use of allusions and references. The sustainability message of this piece is stated in blatant terms in an introduction preceding the creative work, making it more accessible to readers. Through the process of creating this book, I found the mediums of photography and poetry to be effective communication tools for promoting sustainability, that appeal to subjective and emotional human responses. I also found these mediums offer many further opportunities to promote sustainability. These projects may take the form of more specifically themed electronic or print photography and poetry books, a blog or exhibition.


Arts and Humanities | Nature and Society Relations | Physical and Environmental Geography | Place and Environment

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