Sep 162012

These are the shots that started it all.

I found the langscape (speaking land) elegant, simple and quite poetic. These two photographs set the tone for the entire project. The first version of these were made in 2005 while I was vacationing in Burgeo. In passing, a stay in Burgeo and Ramea in highly recommended, it is a beautiful area. The shots were initially taken using a medium format camera with black and white film. The images had an dynamic conversation with each other that created a great narrative but the optical perspective was much more dramatic than necessary and gave this great narrative too much of a “at-the-bottom-looking-up” perspective. I knew I would have to revisit this place with my large format camera; a large format camera would allow me to correct perspective issues since its lens and picture planes are adjustable. I also knew that there was a project here, and I began to develop a methodology and an “ethic” for the work.

Then the opportunity to engage in the CURRA came up and I was able to develop a strategy and set to work on the project. Such projects take a long time, first there is the travelling and shooting, making initial prints and sequences; then returning to the sites to see what I missed, hopefully catch better light and re-photograph details that I felt I could better represent in order to remain true to the “ethic” of the work. Then there is the slow process of editing, the selection of images is where the real work lies; it asks for the ability to turn one’s back on images that are much liked but that skew the balance wanted in the completed work. Then it is the job of printing consistently to make sure to carry tone throughout the work.

Burgeo, Looking Out

Burgeo, Looking Out – Burgeo NL, 2007-2009

Burgeo, Looking In

Burgeo, Looking In – Burgeo NL, 2007-2009

There it is. The door is the same in both photographs. We know we are looking at the same structure. In one image we see a suggestion of a community through the open door; the other presents us with a harbour and a wild looking landscape. We see that the door is in-between two places; it is limnal, transitional. The structure is industrial, its function unclear but very evidently industrial. The mind connects these two images and even on the most superficial level sees a relationship between industry, culture (community) and resources.

It is here that I want to project to operate; it is evident that the work deals with fish plants and communities in Western Newfoundland but contextualising it as discourse around industry and community speaks to sustainable development in a broader more global manner. This discourse is taking place everywhere that economies rely on natural resources.

Sep 142012

These didn’t make it to the final cut either; but they are images that I quite like and will eventually use in another project sometime. Why wouldn’t an image I like not make the cut? Usually because something formal in the image makes it contrast with others, or loads a sequence with a type of emotional impact that could be considered manipulative in the context of the work I am making here.
The extreme symmetry making the eye tunnel into bits and pieces of boats, continually chopped up by the architectural object in the foreground. As much as the photograph pleases a certain appetite for symmetry; it presents it with a boldness and deliberateness that contrasts with the kind of rational distance I want to maintain in order to remain true to the “new topographic” aesthetic.

Trout River NL, 2009

Trout River NL, 2009

Making engaging photographs in the absence of light is a favourite challenge of many photographers. The ability to play with exposure and slowly, gently; light becoming a thick fluid that you allow to come into contact with the light sensitive surface. It is seductive, but ultimately quite dramatic in a very superficial way. I could not see how these could be at home with the body of work that has become “Plant”.

Steel I - Isle Aux Morts NL, 2009

Steel I – Isle Aux Morts NL, 2009

Steel II - Isle Aux Morts NL, 2009

Steel II – Isle Aux Morts NL, 2009

Steel III - Isle Aux Morts NL, 2009

Steel III – Isle Aux Morts NL, 2009

Steel IV - Isle Aux Morts NL, 2009

Steel IV – Isle Aux Morts NL, 2009

Sep 022012

The CURRA symposium is coming soon and so is the Fishing for the Future Film Festival, both in Norris Point. It will also be the premiere of my fish plant work. I have finally come up with a title, simple but somehow evocative: “Plant”. It suggests growth at first glance. Below, a few outtakes. I was quite amused with the sight of cod drying on a cod pot in Trout river. I did the shot in colour (digital) too, but somehow I like the pathos in this one more since it is more subdued.


Cod on Crab Pot - Trout River NL, 2010

Cod on Crab Pot – Trout River NL, 2010

I am quite excited at finally getting to see the work up. I am hoping to show it in multiple sites in the community of Norris Point. It is really only when we see the work up on its own and being handed over to a public that we get any sense of how well the work went. We are always sure of our methodologies, skill sets and creative instincts; but it is only when the work enters into a dialogue that the work actually gains a sense of conclusion.

Burnt Islands NL, 2009

Burnt Islands NL, 2009

Trout River NL, 2010

Trout River NL, 2010

Feb 182012

Amazingly efficient objects for transporting raw product, not as efficient though as transporting processed, value added product in terms of cost versus return. But they are beautiful objects and I am attracted to how they are personalized and identified as belonging to a specific fish plant.

In 2005, I was helping my Father in Law do some volunteer work in preparation for the Klondyke Festival concert in Bay Roberts. Our objective was to get enough ice to supply the bars who in turn would supply 20 000 people with libations. Of course we went to the Daily Brothers Plant in Port de Grave, borrowed a bunch of fish vats and filled them with ice shavings from the plant’s ice making machine.

The great Canadian band, B.T.O. was reuniting for this event.