AUSTRALIAN SUMMER BY JOSHUA BENTLEY AND BIANCA FARMAKIS
PHOTOGRAPHER: Joshua Bentley
DIGI: Shan Stewart
1ST ASSISTANT: Thomas Wimmer
STYLIST: Freddie Fredericks
HAIR STYLIST: Kyye
WORDS: Bianca Farmakis
DESIGNER: Francesca Nwokeocha
Few places are as universally recognisable by a single season as Australia is for its summer.
It’s memorialised as a sunburnt country, popularised as a must-go tourist destination and consumed each year with fondness – lick of ocean sprayed lips, the cooling sensation of aloe vera on warmed skin, the pinch of bindis hidden in the grass on the soles of bare feet.
Perhaps it’s because our sun burns twice as bright as the rest of the world’s, that our season feels twice as long. There are more colours tinting the memories of the season, and more moments felt physically in the mix of elements.
Last week, I was in a beach cave watching dawn break apart the night sky into a pool of pinks and oranges, while the early morning swell splashed onto the rocks, staining them in ocean spray and a creamy sea foam. Azure puddles breathed new life into the day, washing crimson crabs into rockpools glimmering under the midday sun.
The inferno that reflected between the air of still skies and white hot sand vanished when I broke into the shore, weightless and hugged by the surrounding water. Then, a wave, that dunks you under when you least expect it leaves complete strangers and witnesses with a knowing smile on their face.
Still damp from the dip, a stroll up a grassy knoll towelled off the last of the sand stuck between my toes, and cradled my body when I sat down. One shoulder was beaming with the threat of sunburn, the other was dotted with delicate, swollen bumps from the bites of insects lurking in the shrubs.
Normally, the rain would stop all the activity of the season, but when your hair’s already wet, there’s not much of a rush to get inside.
In the past few months Australian summer has been accustomed to regular rainfall – in some parts, devastating the natural land with floods, in others, cutting short a day spent outdoors.
The rain, categorised as a “once in a century” phenomenon, led to shortages of the elements typically associated with our season; less fruits ripe for the picking during the hotter months no longer appeared on picnic plates at sunset and more sentiments of longing for the staple summer we all know.
But just as the ocean, the sun and the warm grass heals us annually, so too do the clouds eventually part, and change the sky into a technicoloured palette. Earth scorched by the summer fire’s past regains its leafy greens, and flowers fruitfully. Soil dried out by the blanket heat of droughts before becomes quenched.
The last bit of the sun streams again with a rose-tinted light that reminds you of the beauty of the season. And how much it’s enduringly adored.
SIDE-NOTE acknowledges the Eora people as the traditional custodians of the land on which this project was produced. We pay our respects to Elders past and present. We extend that respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples reading this.