Direct Sunlight

Detail from "Here, an Echo" by Agatha Gothe-Snape, Sydney

Sometimes, it's an accidental discovery.

We spent Easter with friends in the small town of Mudgee, New South Wales - a 4h drive from Sydney, over the Blue Mountains - but it was an artwork I'd stumbled across days before, down a laneway near home, that stuck in my mind while I was there.

DIRECT SUNLIGHT, it read - painted on the street, in an alley so narrow it would hardly ever actually get sun, except the way it did when I was there: bounced off the windows of a building.

But the rest of us do, in this country. You can hardly avoid it.

It defines the place.

It's a force of nature, gradually destroying everything it touches. So much of Australian life is devoted, in small ways, to keeping the sun out - or keeping people out of the sun.

So that's what I kept noticing, in the places we visited: the awnings, the shadows, the dry earth, the peeling paint where the sun had rested for too long, the people shifting from one place to the next, staying out of the sun wherever they could.

The starkness of the lines.

The search for shade, for rest, for water.

The hard, hard light.

Robert Catto

PO Box 806, Darlinghurst, NSW 1300, Australia

I'm a Canadian photographer now living in Sydney Australia, specialising in performing arts, live events, editorial and corporate / commercial work.