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Pilbara through the photographer's lens

THE unlikely combination of art and mining has found a unique fusion in an exhibition of Richard Woldendorp's photography.

The well-known photographer, who has shot many graphic pictures for Hamersley Iron, has produced a collection of startling images of the Pilbara landscape for the Perth International Arts Festival.

Mr Woldendorp and his camera have captured one of the oldest landscapes in the world through a series of startling and vivid images.

In 1998, Hamersley Iron commissioned Mr Woldendorp to visually document the Pilbara landscape around its newest site, the Yandicoogina mine.

This exhibition combines a series of magnificent images of the Pilbara and other pieces from Mr Woldendorp's personal collection.

The combination of images provides a contrast between a documented record of the landscape and the more surreal and abstract images, including aerial photo-graphy that captures the huge scale of the Pilbara landscape.

Hamersley Iron has a long history of working with artists in WA.

"In opening new mines, Hamersley Iron has sought emerging artists to produce work," Hamersley Iron principal adviser external affairs Louise Stephens said.

"In 1991, Elizabeth Durack was commissioned to produce a collection for the opening of the Marandoo mine.

"Part of the collection will never have been seen before as it is drawn from Hamersley Iron's private collection.

"We like to think that commiss-ioning artists is our corporate contribution to help artists in WA, it's also a way to show the Pilbara to other Western Australians"

Mr Woldendorp suggested the idea of an exhibition to Ted Snell at the John Curtin University.

As the official festival photo-grapher, Mr Woldendorp proposed a collection of Hamersley Iron's images that he had shot in the Pilbara, and some pieces from his own collection.

The pieces Mr Woldendorp has chosen from the Hamersley Iron collection are not all from the Yandicoogina project.

His association with Hamersley Iron dates back to 1965 when he was first commissioned to record the development of the giant Tom Price Iron ore mine.

Now 35 years later, the mine is still central to the region's development and Mr Woldendorp is still recording the landscapes.

Richard Woldendorp's images of the Pilbara introduce one of the world's most ancient landscapes, as seen through his unique eye and the camera lens.

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