Cockatoo Island is an old defunct shipping yard on an island in Sydney Harbour. The first buildings on the island served as a convict gaol and it's had many reincarnations since 1839, including workshops and service for the Navy, a Girls industrial school, and the building of Australia's first steel warships in the dockyard to name a few. The spaces are high and wide to make way for all the industrial work and a dream for shooting.
The island has so many layers of history. Like so many other historical locations, these layers stop in time at one point - but here they continue. It is now used as a location for art fairs, dirt bike tracks, film festivals, movies, residential rentals, camping, parties and so much more. Remnants are left of their presence to be embraced, celebrated & added to its appeal.
After last year's bienniale I thought this would be a perfect location for part of my new book Gypsy, the companion to Nomad. After travelling to 5 new countries, I use the inspiration to concept interiors that draw on what I have seen, experienced & loved from patterns, colours, shapes, activities, people, architecture, markets, seasons and rituals.
We borrowed & looted from The Society inc. & fav shops out & about in Sydney, all the props, furniture, flowers, rigging & the rest, loaded it into a ute, then into a 4 tonne truck & hired a barge to deposit us on the island for the week.
An old warehouse was our holding space & we shot in over 15 locations throughout the island (with the kind use of golf carts & smaller trucks). I always shoot a large portion of my books in January, and this year the temperature reached new heights, an all time 100 year heat record! I worked with a core team of my brother/photographer Chris, right hand Hannah, truckdriver/rigger extraordinaire Jim & the hardworking assistants, Georgie & Nicky and here are some sneak peak behind the scene pics from our time there.
I love that I am now too, a part of Cockatoo Island's history. Thank you to Karly, Alex, Eliza & Sally of Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, Anthony & the rangers on Cockatoo Island, and all the shopowners/artists/florists that lent me their fab products.