Narelle Autio


Narelle Autio, one of Australia’s leading photographers, talks to NETS Victoria about her photographic practice and her new series of work which was commissioned for the touring exhibition, Murray Cod: the biggest fish in the river.

How would you describe your general photography practice from concept to print?

Most of the photography I do is found, rarely do I set out with a plan in mind. I am usually looking for the candid moment and as most of my photography is done out in the public domain, there is really no way to preconceive a photograph. Due to this, most of my work takes a long time to evolve and in general is a very organic process in that it grows and takes shape as I work on it. Once I have the negatives processed I will make a high resolution drum scan. From this I make any exposure/colour corrections needed and then send it to my printer who will proof until we have the final image.

How did your series evolve for Murray Cod: the biggest fish in the river?

I first went down to the Murray to fi nd out what the river itself might give me in the way of photographs. Again, I didn’t have any real plan at this stage. I was waiting to ‘fi nd’ the pictures. I talked to a number of people as I travelled and took photographs as I made my way along the river. When I got back and had a look at all the photographs together I found there was a feeling of mystery and worship of the elusive fish and I decided to pursue this feeling in further shoots.

What is it about the Murray cod that inspired you?

By itself it is a magnificent fish. The mystery of its life and elusiveness to fishermen all adds to the aura surrounding it. The Murray River is such a classic example of the damage past generations have done to a life source. The Murray cod’s plight is symbolic of this and I felt a real need to tell some of this story.