National Museum of Australia

Home > Audio on demand > ‘The Compleat Archaeologist’: Mike Smith, desert archaeology and museums > Photographs by Peter Eve > transcript

Photographs by Peter Eve

Peter Eve, 8 February 2013

PETER STANLEY: We’ve had a poet and two painters, and now we have a photographer. Please take the podium, Peter [Eve]. Peter is a well-known and acclaimed photographer who has worked with Mike in the desert and has worked all over the north of Australia. He will say a few words but his images will be even more eloquent. Peter, thank you very much.

PETER EVE: Thank you, Peter. I just want to say thank you to everyone. It’s a pleasure to be here in such esteemed company. I think what you’ve given me is the pith and what goes around the segments that make the whole. It’s a pleasure to be here with Mike as well, so thank you very much. It’s been great.

I had a very brief encounter with Mike, and it’s touched my life very deeply. There were a few other people on the trip. It was on one of these camel expeditions. Most of what I’d like to say is encapsulated in the pictures, and hopefully you’ve got a few minutes to have a look. The biggest thing - and you guys have been doing it all day today - is sharing and I think that’s what Mike Smith’s one of his strongest traits has been.

Every night - as I lay down in my swag with a glow coming from the stars and the long-gone sun, I saw the heads of the camels swaying above that horizon line and the stars started to shimmer and move as I started to drift off into my exhausted sleep from running across dunes all day chasing these guys.

His stories and his education of the tools, the artefacts and the other extraordinary things that we found in a week of traipsing across the desert really came to life. All of those buried landscapes and buried humanities that we were walking over just came to life and brought my soul to life as well. Thank you very much, Mike Smith. [applause]

Date published: 15 March 2013