For the North American and European readers, the term “bogan” describes your popular mental picture of Australians. It is not at all accurate for most of us but there is always a rime of it on the outer suburbs of any city – the suburbs just before you get to the expensive properties that house the horses of the inner-city rich. Think urban hillbillies or newfies.
You would not normally connect this with photography – I mean what besides tobacco, beer, and lotto tickets would a bogan buy with their dole cheque? What use would they have for photographs?
A great number of uses, as it turns out. I found this out by observing the things they brought in locked into their digital cameras. They sometimes needed to have them transferred to other media and sometimes to have the cameras reset. Sometimes they needed exorcism.
The horse pictures were fine. Bogans like to go to the races and take pictures of the horses – some of them were actually good shots. Likewise some bogans know people who have horses on their property and the take oddly composed shots of them.
Weddings were another theme. Bogans did take wedding pictures and sometimes they were professionally composed, if a trifle odd in exposure or focus. This is because the bogan stepped in front of the professional photographer at the wedding when the pro had organised the group or couple pose and snapped up a freebie. There were also photos of drunken people later on in the evening and, if we were lucky, fights.
Cars featured largely in some of the photos. Cars up on cinder blocks in the front yard, cars up on cinder blocks in the backyard, and cars up on cinder blocks in the bedrooms. Cars drifting sideways on country roads or blowing smoke from the tyres on city streets. Cars wrapped around trees. They were never small cars.
Bali featured largely in the photos of the more up-market bogans. Kuta beach, the nightclubs, people being ill on the road, or in the hotel rooms, or on the beach. Bogans have large stomachs but they appear to be delicate. I suppose it was bad prawns…
The more adventurous of the bogans occasionally ventured into art. Art as in sneak shots in the striptease club or more leisurely shots taken in the bedroom. Things seen cannot be unseen.