For approximately six months (1993) I had been consulting on a new magazine that was to become ‘Oyster’. My choice of name for it was ‘Frank’ and about one year later the ‘Face’ magazine opened a new title called ‘Frank’ That was my first dissapointment and there were many others. Through my consultation I had advised that the magazine set about including landscape unique to Australia and that would hold appeal to an international audience. It was also my intention to connect with a domestic airline once we had produced the first magazine and negotiate a sponsorship in order for us to continue to travel to remote and unqiue locations throughout Australia.
Fingal Head was a place I had visited numerous times and had huge personal appeal. It was inside the Bundjalung Nation, the Cudgingburra people called Fingal Head "buninybah" meaning "home of the echidna". (it was the lava flow from Mt. Warning / Wulambiny Momoli). The name was "Europeanised" because the headland has an outcrop of columnar-jointed basalt which was named the 'Giant's Causeway' because it looked like a similar natural feature near either Fingal in Northern Ireland or Fingal Cave on the Scottish Island of Staffa. Fingal was a mythological Celtic giant who tried to build a causeway over the ocean.
It was a big commitment to travel there, over 800 km’s in a rental car I had paid for personally..bags of clothes, lighting, a hair and make-up artist, Nick and a young married couple, Baz and Melissa. They had been married for two years, Melissa being 16 when they did. She was a Texan who’s speech reminded me of Faye Dunaway in Bonnie and Clyde and when I explained the journey and my intentions she purred ‘I Just Love Road Trips…’
Getting Baz and Melissa motivated proved difficult, all they were interested in was smoking pot. On the final day when Melissa wore her own t-shirt ‘Marijuana Girl’ I instantly thought she IS ‘Marijuana Girl’. I took pictures of her in it in front of a building known as ‘The Hard Luck Klub’ but started to think about shooting her in it again later that night as a ‘pin up’.
We shot the session in our rented house sometime after dinner. She was actually smoking her homemade bong and would put it out of shot and exhale the smoke.
It proved to be the last picture we took for the entire series.
When the story was published by the Magazine I was upset to see they had spelt the name of Fingal Head incorrectly..thus destroying any hope of approaching a domestic airline for sponsorship as I had intended to do. My financial investment in traveling such a distance wasted.
I had put a lot of research hours into the editiorial before I actually shot the story. Location scouts etc..
What was forever drawing me to the place was the contenment of the locals in their pace and rhythm. I concluded that it felt anti-capitalist without intent.