Around 85% of Australia’s population lives within 50km of the coastline making it one of the most urbanised nations in the world. Every year tourists flock to the Gold Coast and take photographs of its iconic beaches and landmarks. But with ‘Concrete Poetry’, I aim to document the quiet and manufactured microcosm within the growing city.
As well as being my own exploration into the basics of composition, colour and light, ‘Concrete Poetry’ is an ode to localism—to the sign makers and mechanics, the ones building the Gold Coast. Their buildings aren’t flashy like the high-rises along the esplanade, but there’s a certain and simple beauty that attests to the humility of their business. They demand no attention. They stand there on the fringes, out of sight, but go about as always, creating the foundations for the city.
Tourism on the Gold Coast is impossible to deny and without it, the city perhaps wouldn’t survive. Tourism however, can impart a state of confusion for citizens like myself. I grew up on the Gold Coast and feel a sense of patriotism toward it. But this patriotism is imbued with concern. What does being a Gold Coaster really mean? It’s a difficult question to answer as the city’s identity is built around the identity of others. By photographing the city’s urban landscapes, I endeavour to address the question of Gold Coast identity by representing the fundamental, often-unseen environment around us.
Aaron Chapman is a photographer and writer based on the Gold Coast of Australia. He graduated from Griffith University with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and Literature.
His work achieves a balance between calm and chaos. Referencing Jeffrey Smart, Jeff Wall and Grant Mudford as inspiration, Chapman attempts to make the ordinary extraordinary by finding allegorical elements in his surrounding urban landscapes. Though the photographs burst with colour, his work often alludes to political, social and environmental change. This careful consideration when framing an image allows a unique sense of place through themes of development and reinvention.
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