The body of work depicted a quiet desolation – yet lingering beauty – in rural towns of NSW.
Lo Presti visited a number of towns in the region, including Broken Hill, Wagga Wagga and Silverton.
Her photographs feature domestic interiors characterised by dim lighting and muted colours, alongside evocative depictions of the red-dirt landscape, abandoned mines and faded signs of petrol stations.
Lo Presti has described the spaces shown as “small time capsules holding stories of lives and cultures passed”.
No human is included in the series.
Lo Presti said that the name of the show, ‘From Away’, came from conversations held with locals who used the phrase to describe individuals from out of town.
“In those towns, you’re either ‘from here’ or ‘from away’,” Lo Presti said.
“I think it’s a term rooted in mining culture.
“Broken Hill has a long history of mining of silver, lead and zinc.
“If you were from there you had first preference to work in the mines.
“If you weren’t, you were last to be given the opportunity.”
Although Lo Presti’s photographs contain an uneasy sense of isolation and disuse, she was quick to emphasise that what they depict is the distinct point of view of the outsider.
“I think the history of mining in the town has left a lot of social problems in the area,” she said.
“There are children who develop lead poisoning out there...
“But my show wasn’t to make a judgment or commentary on these things.
“I don’t think I have the capacity.
“It’s the point of view of an outsider, an observer.
“I wasn’t there long enough to understand the community.”
She said that despite that sense of discomfort and degradation present, her photos also contain an unnoticed beauty that she wished to represent.
“I have an admiration and an awe of the beauty in the everyday,” she affirmed.
The show had a particular goal in exploring how identity is expressed through cultural space.
“There’s a beauty in how a community’s morals and identity are realised through domestic and civic architecture,” she said.
“And a big part of that identity is also in the surrounding outback.”
Lo Presti’s series includes a lone living creature, a running emu which was apparently a “lucky shot” taken from inside the car.
“It was important to me to include an aspect of life,” Lo Presti stated.
She identified her own mixed cultural identity as playing a role in her life-long interest to explore how culture is expressed in space.
“My father is half Greek and half Italian,” she said.
“My grandpa is Italian but born and raised in Egypt.
“My mother is half French and half Swiss.
“I feel 100 per cent EVERYTHING!” Lo Presti laughed.
“There’s definitely a sense of in-betweeness.
“I think this cultural difference has played a part in my interest in how identity is realised in space.”
Lo Presti described moving between homes while growing up, from her Greek Yayá’s house to her Anglo, Greek or Vietnamese friends’ houses.
She said that she was always interested in seeing how their homes were different to her own.
“Culture is realised through the walls you live in,” she said.
Gabriella Lo Presti’s photographs can be viewed or purchased through China Heights Gallery’s online shop.