The majority of my time in Australia was spent staying in the city of New Castle. The city located about a two hours drive north of Sydney on the eastern coast. When I looked out over the ocean around New Castle, the first thing I noticed were the cargo ships that dotted the horizon. No matter where I was in the city or miles around it, I always saw cargo ships. Soon after my attention was caught by the ships, I was informed that New Castle has an enormous port and is famous for its coal exports. According to the Port of New Castle 2014 Annual Trade Report, the port shipped out over 159 million metric tons of coal (roughly 175,000,000 American tons). When you run the numbers against the other materials that leave the port, coal accounts for 99% of the exports from New Castle. To start, I had no idea coal was a big resource in Australia. My second thought was “What do people think of this?”. There would always be ships on the horizon awaiting the call to dock, load up, and exit the port. The reason why this question came to mind was back home in New England it is rare to see anything like this when you look out over the ocean. I always enjoy photographing the sea because it is usually a vast expanse of open water. I like to capture this open space because it gives me some perspective in terms of scale. It makes me feel very small standing in front of this immense body of water. I remember a few years ago during the proposal that wind farms be built off of the coast, a portion of the negative criticism was centered on how it would change the look of the sea. I got the sense that it disturbed folks if they did not look outside and see only lobster buoys or the occasional sail boat. The whole debate made me sensitive to objects on the horizon, which is why I think the ships caught my attention. While in New Castle, I did not get a sense that folks were displeased with the cargo ships. The port has been active for over 200 years, so I imagine it is just part of the landscape. This difference in perspective towards the aesthetic of one’s local horizon set in motion a few things in my mind. The residents of New Castle have lived with the port their whole lives. It drives their economy and provides work for the area. I feel that the sight of ships on the horizon is out weighed by the benefits the port provides. With this framework in mind, I feel there will come a time where we will revisit the possibility of developing alternative energy in New England. One day, it might not be so bad to have a wind farm out at sea off the coast of New England. Yes, we will not have the perfectly level space of blue sea to gaze at but hopefully the value of having electricity will outweigh any negativity towards the project.
Horizon no. 1 – Catherine Hill Bay
Horizon no. 2 – Catherine Hill Bay
Horizon no. 3 – Tasman Sea
Horizon no. 4 – Tasman Sea
Horizon no. 5 – Tasman Sea
Horizon no. 6 – Tasman Sea