Organic Landscapes

CompanyMany Hats Pty Ltd
PhotographerKaren Burgess
Entry Description

This is a series of photographs of Sydney basement car parks. The Sydney Basin, extending 380kms along the east coast of NSW, is known for its beautiful sandstone, quarried since European settlement. Now that cars seem to rule, we excavate massive underground car parks, using enormous cutting discs which often leave behind circular patterns in the stone. The stone’s porosity allows moisture to seep through and due to the lack of bleaching sunlight, layers of algae and other microbial elements combined with the rock’s coloured sediments can build up exquisite patterns. These photographs are the actual walls in these basements.

About Photographer

Karen Burgess is an observer, specialising in organic landscapes and catching the essence of everyday life. Photographer Karen Burgess was born in Melbourne in 1959. After graduating from Sydney College of the Arts with a degree in Visual Communications she specialised in corporate design, later honing her eye for detail as a picture editor and researcher for large multinational publishing houses. Karen has an eye for the instant – capturing people in situations that combine with their location to give a snapshot of not just an activity but often a metaphor of human endeavour. Karen also recognises that some activities are not so instant, recently exploring themes of how nature transforms our man made mark, by subtly changing the surfaces over time of our efforts to build mighty shrines to the car and our material world. Karen images the often unnoticed sandstone basement walls of car parks and metal dumpsters where she isolates the natural patterns achieved through years of weathering, focusing too, our eyes on these natural murals. Karen was as an associated artist in the 2015 Head On Photo Festival, where her exhibition of Organic Landscapes was held at the prestigious Australian Museum. In May 2015, Karen was a selected artist in ArtVenice Biennale 3. She is represented in London by Trowbridge Gallery.