Virginia Woods-Jack is a photographic artist, advocate, curator, and the founder of Women in Photography NZ & AU. This year she’s joined the judging panel of the inaugural Capital Photographer of the Year competition.
She chats to Lucy Wormald about her fiery triptych, Controlled Burn.
Virginia produced her photographic series None of this was done with us in mind while staying on K’gari, a sand island off the east coast of Australia.
While on the island Woods-Jack, who lives in Wellington, found herself torn between being a “visitor” and her desire to connect deeply with the land. This desire, she says, is an essential part of her identity and stems from her rural childhood in England. The tension between these ways of consuming the landscape led her to consider how the land experiences us and what spaces we, especially as tourists, have the right to occupy. “On K’gari my very presence bore home how vulnerable these environments are to the devastation we as humans exact.”
Controlled Burn speaks to this fragility. The triptych captures the wintertime burn-offs that were in progress at the time and considers human control in a “more-than-human world”, a phrase the photographer uses to refers to nature and wildlife.
Virginia talks of the day she captured the central image of the triptych, Controlled Burn #2. "We started to sense a thickening of the air and came across the lick of flames in the bush. We often found small trails of smoke and smoldering undergrowth, but this fire was different – it was larger and more ominous." Controlled Burn #1 was created the same day, as the burn progressed and "created a scene not unlike a fairytale". The final image, Controlled Burn #3, shows "the devastation of a different burn off that had taken its own course".
None of this was done with us in mind will be published in book form by Bad News Books this year. The images will be interspersed with paper negatives and image transfers intended to convey the sensations of interacting with the landscape.
First published ArtZone #85