Photographer Marie Lochman and writer Liana Joy Christensen’s collaborative book, Unnatural History, is now completed and ready for exhibition at the Art/Text Clearinghouse Project Exhibition. The genesis for the book actually began three years ago with a hand made Christmas card.
Photographers Marie and her husband Jiri have long enjoyed a long and fruitful creative collaboration with Liana, dating back to the early days of Landscope magazine where they first met and worked together. Over the years they have combined their photographic and writing skills to contribute to journals such as Australasian GEO and the Readers’ Digest Encyclopedia of Australian Wildlife.
Already an award-winning photographer, Marie began to explore the possibilities of producing artwork from her images using Photoshop. She sent out one of her earliest works, a transfigured karri tree, as a Christmas card. ‘It intrigued me immediately,’ said Liana. ‘I found the image compelling, but did not act on that immediately. A couple of years later when Lethologica Press announced the Art/Text Clearinghouse Project I suddenly saw the possibilities for an artistic collaboration.’
‘We pretty quickly found we were riding a creative tiger,’ says Marie. ‘It was a dynamic conversation where I would create an image and Liana would write a poem and she would send me poems and it would inspire me to create an image.’
Marie and Liana have been friends and colleagues for a number of years, and share a lifelong passion for wildlife and nature. Although close, it spooked the pair sometimes how closely allied their work became. ‘A couple of times I created images that exactly matched poems that Liana had already written that I did not know existed,’ said Marie. ‘The golden orb weavers on their dew hung nets is a good example.’
Liana agrees that it was remarkable. ‘But the whole experience was remarkable. Both Marie and I found it compelling to have our creative work responded to with a companion piece that captured something beyond the literal. It was truly a creative collaboration,’ she says.