Victoria Aguirre has always felt a strong pull toward the visual intrigue of desert landscapes. So when it came time to decide what to photograph for her next photo series, the heart of Australia was an obvious choice. On Desert Time is a body of work that celebrates the arid textures and ochre colours of the Uluru-Kata and Tjoritja National Parks.
Words and Photography by Victoria Aguirre
The photos from On Desert Time are part of a larger project Victoria has been working on with her partner Carl Wilson, named Tracing Maps, which presents original fine art prints captured in various locations around the globe. We chatted to Victoria about why she chose to photograph the Australian desert, and what her creative process was like along the way.
“I was overcome by the sense of a new sort of time zone in the desert, one in which the clock ticks slower, and you are forced to shift your perspective, to see yourself in relation to the land.”
Thanks for chatting with us Vicki. Firstly, why did you choose to shoot Uluru-Kata National Park and Tjoritja National Park for this series?
I’ve been living in Australia for over 8 years now, and I’ve always had the call to travel and see the heart of this beautiful country. Since I have a great love for the desert landscapes of Argentina and beyond, I had wanted to visit the desert in the Northern Territory for quite some time.
My first visit to the red centre involved chasing sunsets, admiring the crunch of red rock beneath our boots and standing in all of its immensity and experiencing many moments of awe. Above all I was overcome by the sense of a new sort of time zone in the desert, one in which the clock ticks slower, and you are forced to shift your perspective, to see yourself in relation to the land, to experience the sensory joy that comes from a recognition of the spatial, the physical environment.
The dance of reds, ochres and burnt orange at sunset. The clear and over-exposed desert light, which in turn exposes us. Time in the desert is a time of retrospect for me, to survey time past. I tend to cry when I visit deserts, but yet feel so alive, the air is so pure. There seemed to me to be so much energy within the bud of a River Red gum. So much emotion in the rich colourways of the landscape, the patterns in rock and sand…
“The Australian desert makes me feel respect and awe.”
And how do you hope these photos will make people feel?
The Australian desert makes me feel respect and awe. In revisiting these images I feel we are reminded of the emotion, beauty and spirit of the desert – the heart of Australia. Hopefully people feel the same way.
Speaking of which, do you think photography can be used as a tool for conservation? If so, how do you view your role in protecting the beautiful world we live in?
I believe that by creating awareness of the beauty of the Earth that we live in through photography, it creates a respect towards it. Small actions in our every day lives can create huge change within the global community and add to the wellbeing of the world.
And what gear did you use to shoot these photos?
A Canon Mark IV, with a 24-70 mm lens from the L series. I’ve also played around with my Urth filters, an ND8 and ND1000 while out there and loved the results.
“I’ve also played around with my Urth filters, an ND8 and ND1000 while out there and loved the results.”
Any advice you’d share with photographers at the start of their creative journey?
Search in your own backyard. For me it was the way I started over 10 years ago. I feel you need to discover yourself first, what resonates, what touches you, what inspires you first, and most probably you will find that to be tied within your roots.
Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?
We can’t say much yet, but we are working on a book that showcases our photographic series, stay tuned!
Images in this Tracing Maps series that have been taken in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National park have been approved by the Anangu people, the traditional owners of Uluru-Kata Tjuta and the land surrounding, via National Parks.
Tracing Maps presents a series of original Fine Art Prints captured in various locations around the globe by photographers and Pampa co-founders, Victoria Aguirre and Carl Wilson.