Fairview ArtSpace here in Mudgee recently held an exhibition of photography on Australia’s Tall Ships. As a person who sat camera in hand waiting for the Chilean Navy training ship Esmerelda entering Sydney Harbour, more years ago that I care to count, this was a show I was looking forward to.

The photographs by John Coombes were quite lovely in their own way, but I must confess to being a little disappointed because almost all of them were of the ships themselves sailing in idyllic waters. Where were the raging storms going around Cape Horn? Where were the sailors hanging from the yards in raging seas? Where were the white waves crashing over the bowsprit? Where were the people?

In two words – no drama. I suppose for the sailors on these relics of the past, calm seas and quiet weather is preferable to what I had in mind. However, the photographs are beautifully executed; well printed and in the reminiscent of the great ship artists of the past. Ultimately uninvolving.

Fairview Artspace Mudgee until March 20


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