Empty Environments


Recently, since my return from the US, I’ve been doing a lot more work on my photos. I used excuses before, but I am starting to see that it is something I have to do, even if just for myself. Of course, the added benefit is that I can share the photos with you as well.

This last week I’ve worked on two photos. They are very different photos, but I think both convey a sense of isolation and emptiness.


I took this image up in the Mallee last week. There are salt pans up in the north of the state of Victoria. The salt up there is a real problem, but they do make great subjects for photos. Not all of them have the dead trees in them and fences, so when you find one that does you make the most of it.

The sky was so blue in this image and it helped to make the decision that it should be a black and white photo. Sometimes stripping an image of colour means the viewer isn’t distracted by the colour. The image is all about the salt on the ground and how it has impacted the environment. I wanted the fence and that main tree to show that. It is a bit brighter in some ways to my usual images, but I think it still has the same meaning, the harshness of our world.


A very different image, but still has that closed, empty feeling. A scene we don’t see a lot in the city. I took this image earlier this year while on a wander along Bourke Street. It was in the business area which would explain why everything was closed.

It isn’t all the time that you get somewhere and find that place is perfect for what you want. I just tried to emphasize the emptiness and give it more of a closed look. I wanted it to look like it had been closed for a while. Obviously there are other things I could have done to it, but I don’t have the right sort of images yet, something I will have to work on.

I did take out quite a bit of the colour, and added textures to the ground in a hope to make it look less maintained. I probably should have added more to other parts, but this is something I am working on. Using textures can be tricky and should be used with care. I like how the image has ended up, but no doubt in a year or two will cringe at it.

I’m looking forward to working on more. I need to remember that I have folders full of photos that I have taken before really and not done anything with. It is time I started searching through the archives again.

You might be interested in …


  1. The Mallee pictures always speak to me! That is a special place and you picture it perfectly, Leanne.

    1. That’s interesting Tiny, I love taking photos up there and think it is a special place too, the biggest problem I have is getting there now. I can never seem to get the car. Thanks.

  2. Hey Leanne .. they both do convey feelings / sense of emptiness / loneliness. The Mallee pic is special, it speaks of desolation

  3. I really like these two shots – so different, so similar. I think you made the right choice to convert the Mallee Salt Flats shot to black and white. Doing so has distilled the photo to its compositional elements. Nice work.

    Leanne, I relate so much to your observations here. I have thousands of photos stored in my portable hard-drive, most of which I’ve only glanced at. I think what happens is that I spot a few ‘special captures’ following a photo shoot and store the rest for later viewing. Recently, due to knee surgery, I’ve been unable to take any new photos, so have started going through my collections only to discover some gems I had previously overlooked. And in a few cases, these lost gems are better than the ones I had previously selected.

    Keep reviewing your archived photos – I’m sure you have many more gems hidden there.

    1. Thank you Don, I thought it was a good choice as well. Sometimes B&W can be so good for that.

      Oh yes, I have thousands and thousands, I think also for me that I was taking photos for my other blog for the weekend posts, so really only did basic processing and didn’t consider other possibilites. It has been nice to go through them again and see what else is there. It is also so nice that the new Windows 10 lets me see the raw files so I can view the photos on my back up first before dragging them onto my computer. Also for the reasons you stated, that is why I rarely delete photos, you never know when you go back, something that you once ordinary might become an extraordinary image.

      You can be sure of that. Thanks again.

  4. I enjoyed reading this post, something I need to work on is the meaning behind my photos instead of just taking pretty photos. Thank you!

    1. I think when you start looking at the meaning behind your work you start to understand what you are doing and why, that in turn informs it. If that makes any sense. I know, or have a fairly good idea of what it is I’m trying to achieve with my work, so I look for images that will do that. That isn’t to say I don’t enjoy just going out sometimes and taking photos, that can be a lot of fun too. Thanks Tamara.

Comments are closed.

Discover more from LEANNE COLE

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading