Portfolio: Maria Fletcher

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Maria Fletcher was born in Manchester and migrated to Tasmania with her family in 1982. In 1996, Maria moved to the rural isolation of Yarlington in the Southern Midlands of Tasmania.

Maria was introduced to photography at primary school, making her first images of old buildings and houses around her home in Stockport, and has continued making prints and imagery ever since.

Her recent work focuses on illuminating marks in the land and seascapes of Tasmania. She is currently working on a photographic exploration of the cultural landscape of the Coal River Valley in Tasmania’s Southern Midlands.

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I am constantly inspired by the unique beauty of Tasmania’s ancient cultural landscape. Living high in the hills of Yarlington in the Southern Midlands, I look out daily at a rural landscape which has been shaped over the past 150 years by a small number of farming families. Alongside the cleared paddocks and tree lined boundaries, the land still retains a sense of its ancient human history.

There are paddock trees over 300 years old and sandstone cliffs with deep caves and natural springs. There is a beauty in the rural landscape of Tasmania that is unique in the world. As a photographer, I love the intense clarity of natural light under the Midlands sky.

In combination with dramatic contrasts of colour the rural landscape provides a constantly shifting myriad of opportunities and subjects. It is a challenge to try to express that range of intensity and focus on detail that conveys a sense of place; deep blue against white stone, yellow wattle against abandoned brick, lengthening shadows across dry fields. It is also a challenge to produce images that remain authentic to the experiences of the people who have been connected to that landscape over time.

But whatever I photograph, I always look for marks in the landscape - a wisp of grass in a parking lot, a ruined mine overrun by gorse, the red berry of a hawthorn hedge. I hope the time is coming when we will be able to appreciate the beauty of the manmade landscape, be it urban or rural, modern or ancient, and in doing so, acknowledge the efforts of the people who have made it. — Maria Fletcher