Belanglo is the debut book by Melbourne-based photographer Warwick Baker. More than four years in the making, the project is a photographic meditation on sites of trauma and the psychological and historical resonances of landscape and place – whether imbedded, incurred, implied or imagined.
Created within the bounds of the Belanglo State Forest, Baker’s images forge a poignant taxonomy of a landscape that gained notoriety as a result of the so-called ‘backpacker murders’ committed by Ivan Milat in the 1990s. Taking the form of aerial photographs, hand-held medium format images, large-format landscapes and still-life photographs, the body of work is at once forensic, evidentiary and speculative in tenor, and makes use of both traditional documentary techniques and a more lateral and experimental approach befitting the expanded conventions of the ‘new documentary’ movement. While specific in its frame of reference, the book forms a wider allegory for Australian culture’s engagement and eschewal of notions surrounding landscape, place and histories of violence.