For her latest exhibition, Melbourne-based lawyer-turned-photographer Kate Ballis explores the exotic scenes and unbridled energy of the Galapagos Islands, the land that sparked Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Rather than over-intellectualising, ‘Spectrums of the Galapagos’ aims to transmit what a place feels like through emotionally charged, colourful visuals. Ballis cites Oscar Wilde as inspiration, in that “Mere colour, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways.”

Ballis plays into the prehistoric mystery of the Galapagos Islands, known for its clutch of strange, rare wildlife thanks to the pure, largely untouched land protected by conservation laws. Rather than letting lines and physical form dictate her compositions, Ballis leans into abstraction, relying on bold colours to form the basis for interpretation and connection.

Working with a digital SLR, Ballis used reflective acetate pilfered from a fashion Atelier in New York to cover her lense, creating prismatic rainbows when moved against the light. Beyond the rainbow effect, the acetate refracts light and abstracts the setting, resulting in her surreal series of eight images. Ballis immersed herself in the colours and mood of the Galapagos, capturing the raw sensations of refractions of light on water, and belting sun against rocks, rather than the conventional local history and tours.

Using water as a backdrop, Ballis created scenes reminiscent of a nighttime sky, encouraging viewers to let go of preconceptions and focus on the stream of raw consciousness we get from light, colour, and movement. The visceral images don’t show any specific scene or detail, instead aiming to elicit a familiar sense of feeling something without having seen it.

Kate Ballis’ Spectrum of the Galapagos series is sold exclusively via Jardan, both in stores and online.


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[Images © Kate Ballis.]


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