When contacted by Fairfield City Council in December 2014 to photograph the memorial erected by the local community to honour the victims of the Lindt Café siege, I was charmed by the vibrancy of the suburb, I offered to document and give my personal vision of a suburb that has struggled with its public image since the 1990s where crime was the predominant image in the media of Cabramatta.
From Luna new year 2015 until Luna New Year 2016 my goal was to simply explore, experience and respond to the cultural and visual particularities of the area, with no preconceived ideas. Over the period of a single year I captured this melting pot of cultures in a distinctive street / documentary photography style with a focus on colour and intense light. The raw, sometimes playful images show the uniquely diverse and human side of Cabramatta, seizing moments of beauty in everyday life.
In this series on the suburb of Cabramatta I have photographed the scents and sounds, vivid shades and intricate patterns, local people lost in thought, subjects looking away or looking directly at the camera with pride. The photographs reveal the enchanting essence of a suburb that rarely divulges itself to the greater Australian populace.
With my mind open to the diverse community and multi-layered urban environment I returned often to the suburb and immersed myself fully within the visual landscape, wandering through the streets again and again, guided by the camera itself, capturing the urban activity before me.
In the photographs of Cabramatta I captured the harshness of the Australian light in its complexity, not only playing with its visual qualities but revealing the impact of light on humans’ behavior within the public space. Heat and light are magnified by the use of strong colours and enhanced by a bold balance between very dark shadows and blinding sun light.
At the heart of this body of work is to focus a lens on this suburb and acknowledge its significant importance within the Australian nation. In a time of global upheaval and intolerance Cabramatta is a glowing example to the global community of the positive value of multiculturalism and the gifts it can bring to all.
— Markus Andersen (Additional writing credit Claire Monneraye & Fiona Upward)
Markus Andersen’ Cabramatta opens at the Fairfield City Museum & Gallery from December 3rd 2016 before travelling nationally with a string of shows presented and curated by the The Australian Centre for Photography.
Cabramatta: A Moment In Time is soon to be released as a book through T&G Publishing, visit www.tgpublishing.com.au for more info.