Juno Gemes





The Language of Oysters
Poems by Robert Adamson, Photographs by Juno Gemes
Craftstman House 1997

The Language of Oysters
brings together the metaphysical lyrics of poet Robert Adamson and the deeply layered photographs of Juno Gemes. The theme is the river, specifically the Hawkesbury. It is a metaphorical work that deals with the essences of place. The metaphors are built out of comparisons, or juxtapositions, made between the myriad elements that give it identity. The mist (the Serpent’s Breath) rises over a black glass river which meanders by an old oyster farmer’s hut. There is continuity, but also change. Things are working for and against each other. Beauty can be found in the toughest images. Gemes and Adamson decode place and its mystery, reinforcing its spirit, giving it language. This work is more than a collaboration, it is a major artistic initiative that sees different artisitc mediums interacting with each other.

~ John Kinsella, excerpted from A Juxtaposition of Essences, in The Language of Oysters

See also
John Kinsella’s extended interview with Juno Gemes in October 1995, discussing the (then) forthcoming book The Language of Oysters.

An extract:

“I don’t ever consider myself a ‘documentary’ photographer – I never have been that. I construct images quite carefully. And I have a sympathy with Richard Avedon who regards all his images as in a sense being autobiographical, because they come after all from his sensibility. A woman photographer, Garcia Iturbide, says, ‘It all goes together: your aesthetics, your politics, your morality, your sexuality.’
“It is exactly the relationships that exist between the landscape – the river – and peoples who live here that I am examining in this body of work – I examine my own relationships as well as many of those I know in this community.”

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