Smalltown is a view of the Australia we politely ignore.
In this rich and austere collaboration, photographer Marin Mischkulnig has joined writer Tim Winton to produce a meditation on the peculiar collision of beauty and ugliness that characterises our far-flung towns.
Without pulling any punches, this is an affectionate, exasperated take on 'ugliness and the smalltown shambolic' where both photographer and writer create a stark beauty, despite the sad conviction that 'there is nothing so bleak and forbidding in country Australia as the places humans have built there'.
By showing us the bizarre and funny and sometimes stubborn hope of people who live in desolate circumstances, they invite us to wonder about what we build and how it affects our communities. What does it say about us that we build places 'just' to live or work in? Is beauty a luxury we don't believe we can afford? Is hardiness enough to sustain people, or does it finally limit the imagination?