January 31, 2011
Have you seen the book Shack - In Praise Of An Australian Icon? Photographer Simon Griffiths has scoured the country, trailed the coast and delved into the green, leafy pockets to find artist's abodes, fisherman's sheds and gardener's cottages. Each photograph is printed on thick luscious paper and the font is organic in its line and colour. There are a few pages that make my heart sing: a weary, bearded man sitting in a torn leather armchair, a bowl of hearty vegetable soup, crusty bread, red wine on an old, old table. Nothing is new in these pages. Everything has history, fingerprints, the patina of many hands and many conversations. Some shacks abound in clutter whereas others contain only the necessities; a gas stove, a kettle and a hammock. For the owners of these glorified sheds, simplicity is the essence of their homes. They don't buy new. They reuse, recycle, redo. A good lesson, if ever I read/heard one.