Photography and Digital Art Prize Finalist 2015
His Secret Garden by Forest Harder
About the artwork
My brother lives in the north of Honshu Island, Japan. This place he brought me to oneday as a surprise. He and I grew up in the searing hot summers of Australia and this spot represented the opposite of where we have come from. It was cold and peaceful. Quiet. This huge deep blue lake sat silently, surrounded by towering mountains on all sides. It was regal. Powerful. We spent a few minutes standing next to this old log cabin. We all looked out over the lake together, the cabin and us. We heard the wind and the birds in the forests nearby. It was a good moment in time.
About the artist
Forest. Yes, that is my real name. I was born in New Zealand but raised in Australia by a Canadian mother and Kiwi father. My father was an ice climber in Jackson Hole (USA), his bestfriend (also a climber) was named Forest, I am named after him. I grew up reading, drawing climbing trees, riding bikes and dreaming. We had no television until I was 13. I did not like it, but now, tonight, I smile about it. Like many boys I wanted nothing more than to be a footballer, Cantona, Baggio, Ronaldo (Brazil), Zidane were my heroes. As time ebbed away, slowly, steadily, life got in the way. I romantiscised about becoming a journalist on the front lines of faraway wars, making a difference, chasing a dream. Adventure. After completing my journalism qualification I found actual journalism not quite like anything exciting at all. Though I worked here in Australia and in Hong Kong for a time, in the journalistic field, instead of being happy, fulfilled I was stressed and anxious. I longed to be removed from the office. My relationship with the office and in turn my girlfriend, ended, I returned from Hong Kong to Australia and made a decision. I took up a landscape gardening apprenticeship and learned what it was to struggle for money, to callous my hands and to laugh again. It was dirty and I was happy. All the while I took photos. My life, my friends, travels, family, my days, my world. It was only a few years ago that I realised that these images gave me a powerful voice. They spoke of what I felt. Today I am a man of 35 years. I have travelled the world and will continue to. I have grey clawing into the roots of my beard, but I am strong and I have hope for the future. I will follow my passion now, to make photos. I will show them to the world, I will not walk the path that others think I should. website: www.forestharderimages.com.au