Exploring the urban landscape

For Stephen Marton, studying photography allows him to explore both the world around him and his own past. In his final year of a Bachelor of Visual Arts at the Bendigo Campus, Stephen focuses on three aspects of Australian life – the mundane, rural Victoria and the urban landscape.

One theme he's particularly interested in is the phenomenon of abandoned industrial areas and what they represent. "These structures cost a lot of money to build [and] at one point supplied a community need. Times change, public tastes change and so as time marches on things are left behind," he says.

More than a technical exercise

Stephen enjoys the buildings as a "fantastic opportunity" for a photographer, but highlighting the transformation of these scenes also resonates on a personal level. He notes that these derelict, vandalised spaces regularly take on a new and temporary use for "the homeless and disaffected."

"I've been homeless myself, I lived on the road travelling from town to town for a number of years, a long time ago now, and in light of this fact, it is possible that I am exploring something from my own past using this current fortuitous vantage point of a fine art photographer."

Chris Atkins, Visual Arts Lecturer in Photography, explains Stephen's approach is two-fold. Technically, he is interested in assessing and capturing the "formal visual quality" of derelict spaces, but Stephen is also drawn to the idea of what's left behind. Chris praises Stephen's art as "almost an archaeological experiment."