Peter a sucker for freckles

Artist Peter Hugh Strain with art curator Gary Aitken and a work from Peter’s latest exhibition.
Artist Peter Hugh Strain with art curator Gary Aitken and a work from Peter’s latest exhibition.

He spent time getting the octopus�s garden shot, thinking it was worth it for a general stock photo.

It took a couple of hours to make friends with the octopus, which he named Freckles, so Strain could work close to him.

Freckles eventually left his hole and posed on the outside of his underwater remnant jetty piling among soft corals and sponges.

Next day, Strain had moved on and was photographing a tiny iridescent fish when a movement out of the corner of his eye shook him for a moment.

There, balanced on two legs on the sea floor and peering into the area where Strain�s lens pointed, was the octopus.

�He had travelled about 20 metres to find me and seemed intrigued by what I was looking at for so long,� Strain said.

�He just stayed there without fear and I realised he had made the decision I was not predatory.

�From that point on he would join me every day and hang around as I photographed.

�I learned so much from him.��

Strain, whose latest exhibition In an Octopuses Garden is on in Mandurah, said octopuses always moved to gain eye contact with him and could communicate a sense of trust or annoyance by changing colour.

�Of course, I googled and found out some amazing facts about octopuses,� he said.

�They are clever as a smart dog, with the reasoning ability of a six- year old child.��

Freckles insinuated himself into Strain�s work and ultimately his entire way of seeing the inshore underwater world.

�Now I am convinced octopuses have personality,� he said.

�He showed me things and made me wonder how marine animals see things.

�In some ways this is as much Freckles� exhibition as mine.��

The exhibition includes four high-definition multi-screen projections, complemented by 50 photographic prints.