Rory Gardiner


The pandemic offered me a brief therapeutic reconnection with the country I’ve ignored for so long and is a reminder of my agency in how I structure my ‘busy’ life and what is lost in name of efficiency.

Over the past few years I’ve regularly flown the 713 kilometres between Sydney and Melbourne in about an hour and a half to photograph commissioned projects, often just for the day. I was moving at speed in every way, able to observe only what was required of me in that mode.

Before the most recent lockdown, I was able to make the same journey to Sydney for a commission, but this time I drove. The drive – like many other changes brought about in my life by COVID – forced me to slow down and opened up space and time, both literally and figuratively, to be curious about the country that lies in between the metropolises. In my stop-overs in motels off the Hume I found time to wander aimlessly through the backstreets with my camera at a pace that was as unfamiliar as the streets themselves.

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