February 9, 2023
Meg Hewitt: Mendooran is a small town on the Castlereigh River in New South Wales, Australia. It has a population of 559 and is one hour’s drive from any other town. Many of the buildings are now empty. My grandmother’s old general store lies abandoned at the entrance to town; the largest structure is a water tower, which glistens in the afternoon sun. The pub is still open… just.
Once a year the rodeo is held in Mendooran. Bushmen’s Carnivals, the Australian equivalent of American rodeos, originated in Northern New South Wales in the 1920s and were well established by the 1930s.
Who are the protagonists and how did you connect with them?
Three generations of my family were born in Mendooran. They were convicts originally, and moved through the Hunter Valley towards free farmland in the Central West. Over the last ten years most of the family has died or moved away. When I made these pictures, only my second cousin and her son were left. Her boyfriend was a coal miner with a tattoo of a six pack on his stomach.
Did you have a certain approach to taking your photos? What did you want to show primarily?
Photography is my diary. I want pictures to record something beyond just that which I see; in the same way that sentences mean more than words.
How does the M6 benefit your type of photography?
The M6 is the ultimate film camera. The simplicity makes the camera feel like an extension of your body. The weight of the camera allows you to stabilise for long shutter speeds; and the dials and controls are perfectly positioned, robust and smooth. The rangefinder allows you to view outside the scene and still remain connected to the action. Finally, paired with a 35mm Summicron I know the angle of view before I raise it to my eye.
After completing her studies in Visual Arts, Meg Hewitt spent twelve years running her own restaurant in Sydney before turning to photography. Nowadays, she works on her projects, assists a master printer and runs workshops. Her photo book, Tokyo is Yours, received a number of international awards. In 2019, the photographer had her first solo exhibition in Europe at the Anne Clergue Gallery in Arles. More