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Digital Photograph - 'Ghost in the Clouds', Black Saturday Bushfires, Arthurs Creek, Victoria, 7 Feb 2009 Image Reg. No: MM 114844

Summary:
Anita Norris, local resident and professional wildlife photographer, took this image on her property at Brennans Road East, Arthurs Creek, during the Black Saturday Bushfires at 5.12pm on Saturday 7th February, 2009. While her partner was fighting fires on the day as a CFA volunteer, Anita was at home with her dogs, constantly keeping an eye on their property and surrounds. Anita visually documented the volatile changes she witnessed on Black Saturday, and the impact it had on her neighbourhood in the days following.

Anita offered this photograph, along with another eleven images, for inclusion in the community-led Bushfire Photo Exhibition, which featured thirty-five local photographs, at the Bridges Restaurant/Nursery, Hurstbridge, held between February and March 2010. She was responsible for curating this event and instrumental in making it the success it was. This image was also published in the book 'Footsteps in the Ash' which documents St Andrews' and Strathewen's experiences during Black Saturday. This image is part of the the Victorian Bushfire Collection and is supported by an interview undertaken with Anita Norris.
Description:
Digital photograph.
Statement Of Significance:
The bushfires of Black Saturday, 7 February 2009, caused significant loss of life and damage to personal and community property, and state infrastructure - and became the worst bushfire disaster in Australia's history. The Kilmore East fire swept over Mount Sugarloaf on Black Saturday destroying most of the small settlement of Strathewen and causing the largest loss of life of any community in Victoria. Despite the high death toll and widespread devastation, an astonishing number of creative projects have arisen to give comfort and help in the recovery efforts. This photograph is one of many that were used in a local photographic display and a publication which documented the many stories of loss and survival.

The image captures the dramatic atmospheric and visual changes associated with natural disasters and the surprising beauty found within these moments. It represents how the effects of fire can be experienced via a great distance from the source highlighted by thick smoke and atmospheric changes, The image reveals resident's personal experiences including threats to personal safety and confronting challenges in deciding actions to take under stressful situations. It is an important and rare document of the photographer's personal experience as a local resident during Black Saturday.
Description Of Content:
This colour digital photograph of ghost-like sun behind the clouds was taken at Arthurs Creek, by Anita on Black Saturday, 7th February 2009. She took this image from her property as the smoke from nearby bushfires engulfed the sun and sky. Daylight disappeared, as a large black smoke cloud covered the sun, and darkened to tones of black and sepia.

This image documents the physical effects of bushfire, and also represents the erratic weather and temperature conditions Anita experienced during that day. As a professional photographer, Anita was able to appreciate the artistic and aesthetic qualities that these conditions provided to her as an artist, and quickly captured these with her camera while her environment changed about her.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Ms Anita Norris, 2010
Discipline: History

More information

Tagged with: rural victoria, rural life, fires, photography, natural environment, rural landscapes, photographers, photographic exhibitions, natural disasters, black saturday bushfires 2009, firefighting
Themes this item is part of: Domestic & Community Life Collection, Images & Image Making Collection, Information & Communication Collection, Sustainable Futures Collection, Victorian Bushfires Collection
Primary Classification: SUSTAINABILITY
Secondary Classification: Natural Disasters
Tertiary Classification: bushfires
Format: Digital Still Image: Colour
Place & Date Depicted: Arthurs Creek, Victoria, Australia, 7 Feb 2010
Photographer: Ms Anita Norris, Arthurs Creek, Victoria, Australia, 07 Feb 2009
Place & Date Exhibited: Bridges Restaurant, Hurstbridge, Victoria, Australia, Feb 2010

As part of the Of 'Bushfire Photo Exhibition'. The exhibition catalogue included photograph name, photographer and details of sale price.
Organiser of Event: Ms Anita Norris, Arthurs Creek, Victoria, Australia, Feb 2010

Of 'Bushfire Photo Exhibition'
Author: Mr Jim Usher, St Andrews, Victoria, Australia, 06 Feb 2010

Photograph published in 'Footsteps in the ash: the story of St Andrews and Strathewen in the 2009 bushfires' by Jim Usher and Mac Gudgeon. St Andrews, Vic. 2010.

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