“The build-up”
by Abigail Varney

palm tree before a hurricane

Who is Abigail Varney?

Abigail Varney is a portrait and documentary photographer who is currently based in Melbourne, Australia. Her work is based around her “curiosity and connection to Australia’s land, people and ecologies; to explore untold stories that give light to the diversity of Australian life and its multilayered complexities”

Her work has won numerous awards, commendations, and has even been featured at the national portrait gallery of Canberra in 2014.


Taken from Abigails website

“The term Build up refers to the transitional period between dry and wet seasons in Northern Australia. The coastal city of Darwin is the Capital of the Top End; the crocodiles are the Government-in-Waiting. Darwin’s warm wet tropical climate contrasts with the trademark hotter and drier to its south. Locals also refer to the Build up as Mango Madness. As the sunset fruit ripens Territorians experience emotional lability and mood swings, induced by an inexorable rise in heat and humidity. Global warming has possibly intensified these atmospheric conditions. Dark heavy clouds enhance and reflect the sombre mood; there is pessimism and melancholy towards our shared global future. The festive season carries on through this climactic and emotional flux. In sweaty resignation, the build-up: it comes with the Territory. “

On the surface, Abigail’s work is a beautiful documentation of the changing of seasons in Australia. Underneath, her work examines community mindsets during this time and challenges the environmental pandemic that is global warming.

The sombre yet dramatic sky seen throughout most of the photos is a metaphor that reflects the residents of Darwin’s mood in this time. It shows their changing attitude because of the heat and humidity, but also their pessimism for the future that has clearly been for-shadowed here.

Abigail Varney’s website

Topless man in a car with the window down
Bench in front of the water
Crocodile in a tank
Person crouching in water
Palm leaves in the dark
Seagulls on a rail with a cloudy sky
opened garage
white sheet hanging up
sphere street lamp in the dark
sunset sky in the dark
Shadow behind a curtain
Water with a stone and branch
Woman in grand white costume on stage

Jonny Gleason

Photographer, Magazine owner, Matcha drinker. One of these is definitely the most important, just unsure which...

Instagram: @jonny.gleason

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