Exhibited at C3 Gallery, Abbotsford 2011.
“The farm, to me a playland, was to those who lived on it an onerous dead-end. Everything I observed as a marvel, was a back breaking chore to those who had to perform it everyday”
Peter Conrad ‘Down Home, Revisiting Tasmania’
‘I hope you choke’ is a photographic documentary of Tasmanian roadside produce stands and farm gate landscapes. It is a collection of photographs loaded with contradictions. A romanticised social commentary of a dying concept, despite the growing popularity and need for self sustainable living.
These images are faithful and Australian. Even more so these scenes are unique to Tasmania. An offshore island of an offshore continent, regularly omitted from maps of Australia – a lonely and savagely beautiful place, severed from the main land by a rising sea level over 10,000 years ago. Such isolation produces an ache of self doubt, a suspicion of solipsism which has the tendency to evoke an air of unease and underlying tension.
However, with current threats to the Murray Darling Basin, Tasmania has the potential to become Australia’s next food bowl. This threatened agricultural industry could be on the brink of a new dawn. There is an equal chance of these farmers being saved as there is of them being forgotten. Despite either outcome the question remains – will these photographs one day evoke a sense of mourning for our own selfish sentimentality, or for the lives and communities they consumed.
Review in The Age by Penny Modra 08/05/11:
If I see one more "back to basics" magazine spread depicting people eating apple crumble out of a pan with an old spoon while their child plays with a wooden tricycle I will fly into a demonic rage. But these rustic photographs by Lauren Bamford bite back. Documenting rickety produce stands at Tasmanian farm gates, they're portraits of isolation and bitterness. Check out the handwritten threat: "If you choose to steal my produce I hope you choke." An accomplished food photographer, Bamford is in some ways critiquing her own commercial work here, which sharpens the point. Lovely, rustic and murderous.