Following on from this observation introduces us to the real life countermeasure - Arnald Olsen. A seasoned panther hunter originally hailing from the high plains of the Norwegian Fordland, in the heart of a life detached from common society. Where we possess the everyday luxuries of central heating, supermarkets, NBN and television; Arnald opts for a life of silence & tranquillity. In place of both television and heat, he has a fire. Rather than frequenting a supermarket, he hunts and forages. Instead of a phone, he has his axe. As for the internet, an unobstructed view of the night sky and the crisp, yet delicate sounds of a neighbouring creek provides an ample source of comfort and distraction at the end of the day – a luxury we’re all so quick to dismiss as cold or inconvenient. There is, however, one monumental flaw in a life dedicated to the hunt of a mythical beast with the desire to remain undetected in the wilderness of Gippsland, Australia – self exclusion from the other like minded panther hunters.
For the past 12 months, Arnald’s search has sent him far & wide to each corner of the region, following limited but distinguishable traces of this four-legged animal, always one step behind that of the predator. Olsen’s pedigree of wild game hunting dates back to his early ancestors of Viking times, with the man’s sensory sharpness surpassed only by that of the blade on his axe. Yet something is amiss. Recent news reports showed blurry footage captured by a resident of Yinnar outlining what is unmistakably the large, black cat that has been set in the Norwegian’s crosshairs since his arrival in Australia.
What has caused our hunter to miss the signs and be led astray into wild lands hundreds of kilometres away? How has a man whose skill set is as old as time itself missed the signs of the whereabouts of his prey, and instead been outsmarted by something that is technically foreign to our lands? Australia hails different geography to that of the north, and a change in hemisphere can drastically affect the techniques used by a Scandinavian stalker of the night.
Yet, to look at where his search has taken him through the course of time, and the clues he’s found along his journey – perhaps it is not the intelligence of the hunter that is holding him back, but instead, the intelligence of his prey…
Series shot on Kodak Tri-X 400 B&W film on a Nikon FM2.
As seen in Gippslandia Issue 05.
Help Arnald find the panther, and email your sightings to email@example.com