Scroll through Nick Green’s Instagram feed and you can almost hear the waves crashing against the shore. It’s a heady mix of clear blue barrels on summer days and moody monochrome shots that speak to the cold realities of Tassie surfing. Yet, hidden deep amongst his odes to the sea we can catch a glimpse of another calling: the mountains. Towering columns of dolerite that keep watch over Tasmania’s capital or soft evening light washing over an alpine moorland. It is this world, high above the waterline, that features in Nick Green's first solo exhibition: kunanyi.
Can you tell us a bit about your first solo exhibition, kunanyi?
'kunanyi’ has been something I've been working on, on and off over the past two years now, but It wasn’t until I got more involved / educated about the proposed cable car that I really started to work it into an exhibition. I guess its my attempt at doing my part to help prevent the cable car from happening. Some people are good with words and politics and some people are out there putting themselves on the line, be it protesting or whatever... But photography is my creative outlet to create change, so I decided that I’d put together an exhibition of photographs displaying the beauty of our mountain in a way that other people might not have seen before in a hope it might help the fight.
How would you describe kunanyi/Mt Wellington to someone who has never seen it?
Beautiful, Wild, Raw, Iconic, Important.
You’re primarily known as a surf photographer, what brought you and your lens up the mountains this time?
The ocean is definitely where I'm normally taking photos for sure. But I think that one of the things that has drawn me to kunanyi/Mt Wellington is how close it sits to our city and how much it has to offer within that distance. Its unlike any city in Australia in that regard - where else can you be stuck in traffic one moment and then isolated amongst the wilderness the next? Its been a saving grace for me countless times, when I'm feeling the drag of the ‘rat race’ or whatever and need a second to breathe (the freshest air in the world) then I’ll head up the mountain and go on a walk. I guess the photography came after that; seeing the beauty it held and wanting to capture that and share it with others. The project was a natural progression from spending countless hours up there; exploring the areas that were going to be directly affected by the cable car if it went ahead, I started to feel obliged to do something. The mountain was giving me something (as it does for so many) and I felt like I needed to give it something back.
A lot of us are familiar with the classic shots from the summit of the mountain - the tower, duckboard paths and the city below - but your shots speak of a darker, more moody and silent place. Hostile even. Can you talk about your approach and why you’ve chosen to capture her beauty in this way?
For sure, I think that kind of comes back to what I was just talking about; some of the times I spent photographing up the mountain came from when I was perhaps not feeling the greatest in myself and I guess that kind of comes out in the photos. I've chosen to not show any of the usual man made structures on purpose to represent the wild and untouched beauty of the mountain (keeping in mind Tasmanian Aboriginals have been walking the trails of the mountain for over 20,000 years.) The images are taken in the areas that would be directly affected by the cable car... Some of these views / landscapes would be completely destroyed if it was to go ahead. A lot of people who go up the mountain don't stray too far from the carpark and boardwalks, which is completely fine, but there's a lot more of the mountain than that and a lot of other people would be devastated if those special areas were to be destroyed.
What is it about the cable car that most worries you most?
The thing that worries me most is what’s next? The whole ‘progress for the sake of progress.' Its just such an unnecessary thing that really doesn’t need to happen. The reason that Tasmania is the way it is, is the wild and beautiful landscapes it has. If you build tourist attractions all through those landscapes it no longer becomes wild and beautiful. We need to slow down and enjoy what we have.
Do you think it will ever go ahead?
I really hope not.
When does the exhibition open and where’s it at?
The exhibition opens this Friday the 9th of August at Good Grief Gallery on 62 Argyle Street, 6-9PM. One night only.
For more info head to the Facebook event.