Current Issue #477

Che Chorley's Bicycle Diaries

Che Chorley's Bicycle Diaries

Photographer Che Chorley set out on an ambitious photographic journey in July 2016: to cycle along the entire South Australian coastline, solo. The Adelaide Review speaks with him as his journey is coming to an end; he just finished a few days at Deep Creek Conservation Park and is en route to Blow Hole Beach.

Chorley began his journey in Eucla, 15 kilometers into Western Australia on the Nullarbor Plain. He was inspired to take on this amazing journey after winning the Heysen Prize in 2015 – he was the first photographer to do so.

“In researching Heysen I discovered that he would go bush with his family for months at a time to paint,” Chorley says. “That really inspired me to get out there and do the same – not necessarily his work but his methodology.”

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In order to immerse himself in the landscape a la Heysen, Chorley decided on six months on a bike from Western Australia to Victoria creating a visual narrative of South Australia.

Titled Land Sea You and Me the project includes landscapes, seascapes, portraits of people he met (You) and a written narrative (Me). Having completed the project Chorley will put together a book and an exhibition which he hopes to complete by April 2017. He intends to tour the exhibition to a couple of the regional towns in South Australia that he passed through.

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Chorley wants to show a different perspective of South Australia, one that isn’t shown in traditional tourist brochures. You won’t see typical blue skies and white sandy beaches; instead he’s interested in the interplay between the land and the sea.

“My inspiration comes from that interaction between the land and sea,” he says. “The vibrant landscape where you get the clashing of humanity on land and Mother Nature from the ocean.”

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Chorley is also interested in the people who are attracted to this environment, for example the surfers, abalone divers and artists. “I want to show the land, the sea and the people who shape the sea and who are shaped by the ocean.”

Highlights of his journey so far include Memory Cove in Port Lincoln National Park, Innes National Park and Pearson Island. “Weather has been a highlight or a lowlight depending on how you want to look at it,” he says. “It has been such a terrible winter and I have copped that night after night in my tent alone.”

For Chorley, the journey has been about pushing himself physically and artistically. “I have pushed myself into a new area artistically. I’m recording audio and interviews. It’s a
whole new aspect of trying to tell a story with audio to match my images.”

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Physically, Chorley didn’t think he was going to be able to ride his bike for six months and while he knew there would be tough times he wasn’t prepared for the challenge of staying motivated after long days of cycling.

“You wake up with sore legs and you have had a horrible sleep, and the last thing you want to do is make art,” he says. “I didn’t think I would be able to do it and I proved myself wrong which I am stoked about.”

chechorley.com

Photography: Che Chorley

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