WHERE THE SACRED FISH
THE LANGUAGE OF
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 Serpents
Breath) rises over a black glass river which meanders by an old oyster farmers
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 Kinsellas extended
interview with Juno Gemes in October 1995, discussing the (then) forthcoming
book The Language of Oysters.
I dont 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
For more information on The Language of Oysters, see | PUBLICATIONS