Abigail Varney ( b. 1986) is a documentary photographer based in Melbourne, Australia. Her work predominately evolves from her connection to mood, colour and scape. After graduating from Photography Studies College in Melbourne 2013, she completed an internship with the late, truly great Mary Ellen Mark in New York City. In 2014, her series of up-and-coming artists featured in the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra. Her long term project in Coober Pedy 2014 – 2017, was displayed at Sydney’s Parliament House, featured at Head On Photo Festival Sydney and announced Landscape Winner at the Centre for Contemporary Photography in Melbourne.
Rough & Cut
Rough & Cut offers a vivid perspective on the opal mining town Coober Pedy and its desert surroundings. Infamous for its under ground 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. Rough & Cut is a stage for engaging our imagination of the unsettling surreal beauty and unpredictability of the Australian outback.
To view more of Abigail Varney’s work please visit her website.