Field of Light 3

Uluru – Northern Territory June 2016 (11 photos)

In 1992, whilst journeying to Uluru through the Red Desert in Central Australia, English artist Bruce Munro felt a compelling connection to the energy, heat and brightness of the desert landscape, which he recorded in his ever present sketchbooks. The Field of Light is the embodiment of this experience. Munro recalls β€œI wanted to create an illuminated field of stems that, like the dormant seed in a dry desert, would burst into bloom at dusk with gentle rhythms of light under a blazing blanket of stars”.

Field of Light 1

I isolated the detail in this art installation from up close.

Field of Light 6

Having developed the idea for over a decade, the first Field of Light was created in the field behind Munro’s family home in Wiltshire. The Field of Light has since appeared at sites across the United Kingdom, the United States and Mexico.

Field of Light 7

Naturally enough, Munro was eventually asked to bring his Field of Light back to where it was conceived, Uluru, or Ayer’s Rock as it is still known to some. Of this, Munro said, “I now have the honour and privilege of returning to create an iteration of this artwork for the place that inspired it. A work conceived in the red desert returns to its birthplace springing from the dry ground.”

Field of Light 8

This version of the installation is Munro’s largest ever with more than 50,000 stems crowned with frosted-glass spheres that bloom as darkness falls over Australia’s spiritual heartland. Pathways draw viewers into the installation, which comes to life under the vast outback sky. The colour of the lights regularly change. It is also the first time the installation has been completely solar powered. The exhibition, named ‘Tili Wiru Tjuta Nyakutjaku’ or ‘looking at lots of beautiful lights’ in the local Pitjantjatjara language, is in place for a full year until March 31, 2017.

Field of Light 9

Regular readers will know that I took a holiday just before Vivid ended. It may surprise you to know that I flew out to Uluru to meet up with a professional landscape photographer. In an attempt to broaden my photographic repertoire I undertook some professional tuition, on-location. The best way to learn in reality, and it made for a nice holiday; if you consider getting up well before dawn every morning to get to the best locations for the right light being on holiday.

Field of Light 10

Most of the tours to the Field of Light go at night time, for the lights. However, we had special permission to access the installation from more than 1 hour before dawn. In essence, we had the entire installation to ourselves. Landscape photography is all about the detail and planning and plenty of that was done well beforehand.

Field of Light 15

With the blessing of the local Anangu people, a section of bushland was burnt to allow for building of this light installation. I wonder if anyone thought at the time, “If you build it, they will come.”

Field of Light 16

In reality, Uluru is a fantastic sight in any light. It has a special and spiritual significance to the local Anangu. It embodies the concept of infinity. Long after we have gone the way of the dodo, it will still be there.

Field of Light 14

“If you build it, he will come.”


Speaking of light …

Vivid Songlines 27-5

My yearly review of Vivid is now completed. 137 photos in 8 posts. All of my photography from this year and previous years of VIVID Sydney going back to 2012 can be found here:
VIVID Sydney page

Leica Etcetera, Photography Etcetera

The Field of Light


100 thoughts on “The Field of Light

  1. KG says:

    So, that’s where you were hiding. A big place for a dragon πŸ‰ I should say πŸ˜‰. Such a beautiful landscape and so beautifully captured.

  2. An amazing exhibit in the heart of Australia. What an amazing sight, and what an opportunity to have the space for yourselves before dawn. Very lucky that you got a beautiful sunrise. Brilliant pink sky. Certainly worth the wake up. Well done on that, and of course the photography πŸ™‚

    • Most tourists are in tour groups at Uluru. Their schedules are dictated by the bus companies. It was a key point of this workshop that we would have special access to the National Park because of our official Media designation. And of course, Nature played her part as well. The light was magical. πŸ™‚

  3. maamej says:

    Wow, stunning – and must have been incredible to be there. Thanks for the info about it, lovely to know it was done with agreement of the traditional custodians.

    • This was the second time I have been to Uluru. It is not possible to tire of its beauty and it’s significance. Without the traditional owner’s permission, I doubt this installation would have occurred. They care about and for the land.

    • Thank you very much. As our tutor said, from a landscape photography perspective, blue sky is boring. Those clouds appeared overnight, as if on cue. I’m grateful for that. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you very much. That is saying a lot given there is no water in these photos, but then I remember your love for clouds. I may have some more for you later. πŸ™‚

    • Just saw this on the artist’s website:

      June 3, 2017 to November 5, 2017

      Planned for Summer 2017 Bruce Munro will be presenting his eighth solo garden exhibition in the US at Nicholas Conservatory and Garden, Rockford, Illinois.

      Munro will be exhibiting eight interior and exterior artworks including Water-Towers, Field of Light and Blooms. The exhibition will also include several pieces not shown in the US before including an artwork inspired by the ubiquitous pink flamingo and a monumental sun rising in the glass conservatory.

      I look forward to seeing your report on this. πŸ™‚

  4. Beautiful photography…but a little disturbing. I have heard, although many years ago, that on moonless nights near Uluru it was so dark and the Milky Way so bright as to provide enough light to cast a shadow. Perhaps a myth but it is a little surprising that the local people would allow the lights to intrude. Very beautiful as long as I put those thoughts out of my mind. πŸ™‚

    • The land in this area is almost completely flat. Uluru and 2 other rock formations tower over everything else and they catch the light in spectacular ways. Uluru actually glows. It truly is an spectacular sight.

  5. Fabulous photos. The one of the Sydney Opera House took me back to the early ’70s when I lived with a view of it across the water! But it didn’t look like that in those days. What a great projection design for it.

  6. You are taking photograph to new heights, Dragon! It has to be challenging to photo these lights. It looks awesome on my big monitor. πŸ™‚
    l Can’t imagine how it’s like to be there…

    • Thank you very much, Julie. Uluru is a photographer’s delight and meeting with local aboriginal people talking about the land, one understands their love and attachment for it.

  7. Oh Draco, what a sight! That is simply one of the most beautiful installations working with the landscape that I have seen. So glad you were able to document it from before dawn to show us the changing lights, both natural and art, of Uluru πŸ˜€

    • Thanks so much, Sarah. Uluru is breathtaking enough on it’s own. With the dawn, Uluru started to glow. The clouds caught the red dawn light beautifully. The art complemented it all. Bruce Munro’s vision seemed so clear. That was a magical dawn to experience.

      • And magical looking through your photos!! My mum thinks we should do a similar light installation by one of the Tors on Dartmoor. I don’t think she quite realised the extent of lighting and design involved in the Uluru project πŸ˜‰ I think though that that is in testament to just how beautifully it works within the environment! I would adore to watch the sun rise there even without the added art. The magic of the light catching the rock and making the landscape glow is quite something! You can easily understood why it’s such an important place to the aboriginal people of Australia.

        • This one is Munro’s largest version at about 49000 square metres. But it still pales compared to Uluru 5km away. That particular morning was cloudy which made the dawn photography fantastic. If it had been clear, the stars would have been visible giving it a completely different and equally stunning look. Yes, you’re right. It works beautifully with the environment and the creativity to envision and design this was great. It was a fabulous experience.

  8. How fascinating and beautiful. I prefer them in the soft dawn light – a jewel-like flower bed. And what a backdrop! I hope you are going to share more landscapes with us from your ‘working’ holiday. I have been fortunate to see Uluru and it is a remarkable region,

    And I also love that last photo of the opera house.

    • Thanks very much, Jude. If I had one more night, I would have liked to have seen the display underneath clear skies showing a full view of the Milky Way. But I can’t complain about that red dawn.

      I’m glad you’ve seen Uluru for yourself. It truly is a grand sight. I’m sure I have more shots to show. πŸ™‚ Have a wonderful weekend.

    • Thanks, Lisa. Australia is a big place as you know, so I understand you can’t see everything in a few months, just as I haven’t seen everything in many years. πŸ˜‰ Save it for your next trip maybe? After you get Australian residential status? πŸ™‚

  9. The magnitude of that light installation at Uluru is massive. I bet it was impressive in person. And I’ve always loved how the rock takes on different hues in the changing light.

    • That was a fabulous morning. We weren’t told where we were going when we got in the car at 5:30 am but I had a suspicion. The dawn light caught in the clouds was truly beautiful, to rival Uluru.

  10. Pingback: An Evening at Kata Tjuta | Etcetera Etcetera Etcetera

  11. Just beautiful. By the way, I love the header photo of the older woman lost in thought, hand raised, by a train or bus station mat. It suggests a crossroads to be decided and it is a perfect travelogue header.

  12. Wow, this is so attractive…I want one of these fields of glowing flowers in my backyard too! I’m sure they would go well with the little glowy creatures in the tree!! πŸ˜€ Such a clever idea this multitude of colourful lights!

    • I suppose if your local hardware store sells coloured solar garden lights, you’ve got the beginnings of your own art installation. πŸ™‚
      Bruce Munro is English and has a website which updates his future light installation locations. Keep an eye out for a return local installation one day.

  13. A real spectacle,a glorious artwork Draco!Your phenomenal photography enhanced the beauty of the fields of light.Most inspiring and astonishing work.It’s also interesting for us to know that all lights use solar energy.Thank you for all the commentaries under each photo,”Your Words Have Light too … “.

  14. This amazed me as I’d never heard of this installation. I’m very interested in how the essence of a place can inspire amazing creative art and this is such a perfect example. On such a large scale too, which is very appropriate. I’d have loved to have seen this but thank goodness you took these wonderful photos!

    • This was a fabulous display of Art. I watched it at dawn (by special arrangement). Most visitors go at night.
      Good news from the Internet: “Internationally acclaimed artist Bruce Munro’s immersive installation, Field of Light Uluru has been extended for a further period and will now remain in place until December 31, 2020.The award-winning exhibition, located at Ayers Rock Resort in the spiritual heart of Australia, opened on April 1, 2016 to critical acclaim, and has since exceeded all expectations proving to be a stand-out drawcard to the destination.” Please go if you get the chance.

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