What dictates where and how public life unfolds in our regional urban spaces? During 2020 and into 2021, I toured the Capital region with my camera, observing what makes for a successful and inclusive built public environment in urban and regional towns.
Capital Country is the outcome of a PhotoAccess Emerging Artist Support Scheme Residency, which was awarded in 2019. This publication also received generous funding through an ACT Government Creative Endeavour Grant in 2020.
In Canberra, Goulburn, Yass, Cowra and smaller settlements along the way, I walked and photographed shared spaces, investigating how sets of buildings and street furniture, roads and trees, signs and shops created stages for everyday routines, chance encounters and community connection. I sought to document why some places invited people to pause, stay a while and say hello, while others seemed to encourage visitors – or at least some visitors – to hurry along elsewhere.
This book visualises all these observations of Capital region public spaces in a series of photo-montages, wihch draw our attention to the many ways of seeing and experiencing a place. I hope to underscore the importance of pluralities, of how different people might interact with a public space in different ways. Our built environment must not only accommodate, but be inviting to all.
Capital Country is available for sale now online, and is be available for sale in person from at PhotoAccess in Canberra.
Self published by Kate Matthews, 2021, Canberra
Printed by Carbon8, Sydney
Edition of 70