Anthony Browell - The Waterfront
Exhibition: 23 May to 23 June, 2001
Sydney's Harbour is easily acknowledged as its heart and prize. A vital part of it, the old working waterfront, is much undervalued and rapidly disappearing. Great tracts of this waterfront are being swept away annually in the name of development. The semi-redundant industrial areas west of the Harbour Bridge, particularly around Pyrmont, White Bay and the remains of the old naval dockyard on Cockatoo Island - are an extraordinary testimony to our recent past. But we can't get rid of them fast enough.
For photographer, Anthony Browell, they are places of great significance and unexpected adventure. The photographs in The Waterfront represent his commitment to documenting and interpreting this disappearing industrial fairyland.
The few buildings that remain - silos, cranes, chimneys and sheds - are massive, purposeful. They demand respect. Very few were finessed in any way, because when these grand visions came to be there was a kind of open slather attitude to industrial waterfront constructions. They are weird, big, brutal and crude. Browell's beautifully graphic and surreal images emphasise the oddity and the oversized strangeness of an environment that will soon be no more.