Valleyview Bench Seats 1
Valleyview Bench Seats 2
Valleyview Bench Seats 3
More than a passing glance, photography has you stop and see the subject, consider context and best perspective and then expose the image. Editing takes you one further step with the image; you encounter more of what comprises the image and more of what is possible for the image in its rendering. Here, are the Valleyview bench seats again, exposed in the full morning sun of a sunny, Sunday morning. Two weeks on from the exposure, I’m seeing more of the light and shadow-play in the image. I’m coming back to it to see what else it can become. The image reveals someone’s attempt to make the bench seats something more permanent with the anchoring of the base on the right. The image has me consider the weathering of the seats through yet another winter season. And, at the time of exposure I had no idea that I would be tinting the image toward red or blue, or, that I would be working the image through in black and white.
Listening to – Johnny Cash’s rendering of “God’s Going to Cut You Down.”
Quote to Inspire – “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” – Ansel Adams
Seats – Valleyview, Alberta 1
Seats – Valleyview, Alberta 2
Around Alberta, perhaps especially in the north with its longer distances travelled to school, along the highway you’ll discover structures parents have created for their children in which to wait for the school bus. The structure might be a five by five, closed-in shack with windows on the sides to watch for buses; the shack allows students respite from wind and weather while waiting. Here, two bench seats have been pulled from a car or truck to create a place to sit and wait for the school bus; the seats may be also departure point for people waiting for a ride … perhaps when thumbing a ride. I found the pair of seats on the road between Valleyview and Grande Prairie, on my drive home with my son’s effects. He’ll be home from University today, after touring British Columbia with the University of Alberta Mixed Chorus. The colour-work of tinting images reminds of Dan Kameka and his work with farm machinery and farm structures – the Sexsmith grain elevator comes to mind, an eight foot image in Grande Prairie’s Trumpeter Hotel … the first place I encountered Dan’s work.
Listening to – Chris Whitley … ‘Dust Radio’ still captivates my hearing lyrically and in terms of its sound structure; I’ve heard two versions, one unplugged and one from the ‘Living with the Law’ album – liking both … unplugged is what drew my attention.
Quote to Inspire – “Quit trying to find beautiful objects to photograph. Find the ordinary objects so you can transform it by photographing it.” – Morley Baer
47 Ford Among Trucks – Sangudo, Alberta
Chevrolet – Sangudo, Alberta
Fargo – Sangudo, Alberta 2
Fargo – Sangudo, Alberta
Waiting – Looking On, Sangudo, Alberta
MacKenzie Highway trucks recall the scheming of Mack and the boys read about in John Steinbeck’s novel, ‘Cannery Row.’ A Ford truck is borrowed from Lee Chong. With some effort one of the boys with a talent for ‘fixin’ gets the truck going and everyone departs to retrieve frogs for Doc, somewhere up the California coast. In the midst of their travels a carburetor gives out …. Within hours one of the boys with the talent for ‘fixin’ and another for theft has thieved a carburetor from another Ford. Once attached the boys continue on in their adventure heading to an ideal frog gathering spot, a pond of a congress woman and her husband, the husband protects the property as guard. Their conversation, shifts from protector and trespasser to pet owner and vet as Mack doctors the man’s dog, a sickly bitch suffering with a tick embedded in its fur. The bond of friendship grows and the man invites all in for a drink … during prohibition … the happy hour becomes a middle-of-the-night, rollicking, drunken, frog gathering party that leaves the pond owner, congress woman’s husband sleeping on his floor as Mack and the boys get back in the Ford truck and return home. A Ford truck is necessary prop within the narrative (revised after yesterday’s writing in haste …)
Listening to Chris Whitley – ‘Living with the Law,’ ‘Big Sky Country,’ ‘Kick the Stones,’ ‘Make the Dirt Stick’ and ‘Poison Girl.’
Quote to Inspire – “A photograph has picked up a fact of life, and that fact will live forever.” Raghu Rai
1938 Ford Two Ton Cab and Chassis – Sangudo, Alberta
A chain-link fence surrounds Sangudo, Alberta’s MacKenzie Highway Construction Truck Museum, a tribute to people and equipment that built the highway. The museum, its vehicles and equipment sit idle. You can look from the fence in; but, you cannot physically interact with the vehicles within the museum compound. The vehicles that are sixty-years or more old are in good shape; they have been kept well. Last spring I searched for the owner of the museum to see if he’d permit access to the compound and allow me to photograph the vehicles; I will need to do my homework if I am to find his contact information and try again for better images of those trucks. It’s a shame only to see them from the sidelines.
A black and red 1938 two ton cab and chassis sits waiting for further use.
Listening to – The Congregation’s ‘Don’t Pay No Mind,’ Chris Whitley’s ‘Dust Radio’ and the Eagles’ ‘Seven Bridges Road.’ Coldplay’s ‘Yellow’ has been in my hearing this weekend at my daughter’s dance festival; the story behind ‘Yellow’ is a heart-warming, mother-son, story … something to be understood and not to be missed.
Quote to Inspire – “Photography is the only language that can be understood anywhere in the world.” – Bruno Barbey
Rusting Relics – Manning, Alberta
Treasure is a term coined twice this week – in one instance within a John Le Carre novel it is taken to mean the secret that if possessed would turn the tables on your enemy (as in Control’s discussion with Jim Prideaux regarding ‘treasure’ before embarking to Budapest, ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’); in a second instance within Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel, ‘Treasure Island,’ it refers to the ill-gotten gains that in the getting you seem to have a right to – but irony can play disasterously with you, here. Beyond this, treasure, if possessed, puts you to advantage and gives you power. It is taken to mean something that guarantees a future free from want. A second, perhaps more poignant irony is that treasure once in one’s possession requires care so that no one takes it away … work is involved. Here, within this image, the term treasure can be taken to mean the opportunity of possibility, the rusting relic that has potential in its restoration, in its possession and use. As a photographer, the treasure is perhaps in the image and the narrative that surrounds the image. Point of connection – I learned to drive in a 1969 GMC half-ton pick-up (transmission – three-the-tree-standard), similar to the white GMC cab three vehicles from the right of the image and the GMC on the left.
Listening to – Johnny Cash’s ‘Gods Gonna Cut You Down,’ a song first heard on Steve Stockman’s Rhythm and Soul broadcast, as rendered by the Five Blind Boys of Alabama.
Quote to Inspire – “… the most grandiose result of the photographic enterprise is to give us the sense that we hold the whole world in our heads – as an anthology of images.” – Susan Sontag, ‘On Photography’
Edge & Sphere – Sexsmith, Alberta 1
Edge & Sphere – Sexsmith, Alberta 2
Edge & Sphere – Sexsmith, Alberta 3
Edge & Sphere – Sexsmith, Alberta 4
Edge & Sphere – Sexsmith, Alberta 5
Early morning image editing tackles water droplets on top of a creosote covered railroad tie. A stone, one among thousands stabilizing railroad rails, surprises in its jade green colour and its irregular edge provides contrast to droplet spheres. Colour, depth, line and shape result.
Listening to – (and watching the video of) Snow Patrol’s ‘This Isn’t Everything You Are,’ U2’s ‘Vertigo’ and The Killers’ ‘When You Were Young.’
Quote to Inspire – “Photography does not create eternity, as art does; it embalms time, rescuing it simply from its proper corruption.” – Andre Bazin (1918-1958), French Film critic.
Water & Railroad Tie – Sexsmith, Alberta 1
Water & Railroad Tie – Sexsmith, Alberta 2
Water & Railroad Tie – Sexsmith, Alberta 3
Kasia Sokulska, part of the husband and wife duo that comprises MIKSMedia Photography, presents inspired macro images on her Google + profile page, outstanding and beautiful work to view. Her work inspired me to take advantage of railroad ties, made impermeable to water yesterday in Sexsmith, Alberta. With my EOS 60D, a quarter of an inch from the railroad tie, hung upside down from my Manfrotto tripod (also a never-done) I explored water droplets.
On the weekend, Dave Brosha e-mailed to highlight upcoming workshops likely in Calgary and Grande Prairie, Alberta; these would be accessed through his facebook page.
Listening to – Shawn Colvin’s ‘Change Is On The Way.’
Quote to Inspire – “Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph.” – Matt Hardy
Country Road Sunset – Mayerthorpe, Alberta
Farm Silo Silhouette – Mayerthorpe, Alberta
Wednesday’s travel took me from my Calgary, Camera Store stop northward on my return drive to High Level. Around dinner-time, between Mayerthorpe and Whitecourt the cloud-work and evolving sunset on the southwest of the highway were a spectacular sight among a huge and open northern Alberta sky, land less frequently frequented, something quite different from the frenetic congestion of people and land encountered between Edmonton and Calgary, an area still held in grey bleakness of winter. It was good to be traveling home in familiar North Country.
Listening to – Collective Soul and ‘Shine’, and, Sigur Ros and ‘E-bow.’
Quote to Inspire – “While there is perhaps a province in which the photograph can tell us nothing more than what we see with our own eyes, there is another in which it proves to us how little our eyes permit us to see .” – Dorothea Lange
Saskatchewan Drive – Edmonton, Alberta
Edmonton – a cold sunrise, winter lingering on into spring, colours buildings and fog haze in muted and rich tones reminding of Russian narratives.
Bartholomew Scott Blair misses a trade show for book publishers. Boozy Barley Blair, life on a tangent, haphazardly and unwittingly finds himself in possession of serious, sobering prose; the film of this narrative takes you from Lisbon to London to Moscow and to Boris Pasternak’s grave and Dacha in which Dr. Zhivago was written. That world is presented in much the same colours as this Edmonton image. The narrative explores the rambling of Barley’s unanchored heart navigating forward recklessly in hope and unchallenged belief at a time of life when legacy is what should concern him. Barley’s life becomes entangled – verifying story source and author, working within prescribed tradecraft and pursuing relationship. That relationship and possibility change the course of this narrative – hope and promise are honoured.
This Edmonton image looking out to Saskatchewan Drive high above the North Saskatchewan River surprises me in perspective, time of year and colour. These are the familiar tones and colours and climate of my childhood and youth cycling Edmonton city streets or walking and talking with friends. Likewise Moscow’s tones, colour and climate as featured in the film of John Le Carre’s ‘Russia House’ also surprise me because they are so strikingly familiar.
Listening to – Ernest Hemingway’s ‘A Moveable Feast.’
Quote to Inspire – “The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.” ― Dorothea Lange
Butler Grain Bins – Blue Hills, Alberta
Four Butler tin grain bins are placed on the crest of a field near Blue Hills and Tompkins Landing, Alberta, positioned near a range road for ease of access, away from water, able to take advantage of the sun’s heat to dry grain stored within. The bins remind of Egypt and Joseph, a pharaoh’s dream that disturbs and Joseph’s dream reading – seven abundant years followed by seven famine-filled years; at pharaoh’s request, Joseph undertakes and manages Egypt’s grain collection (in grain bins) in the abundant years and oversees grain distribution in Egypt’s lean years. Joseph is a name meaning ‘he who removes my shame,’ a name Rachel gives this first born son of hers following barren years with Jacob (Israel). Joseph is the dreamer whose father, Jacob, gives a coat of many colours. It’s Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams (and to see what’s happening as a visionary) that allows him to serve others throughout his life. Josephs, those who remove shame, feature elsewhere in the Bible story. The Joseph who marries Mary, mother of Jesus is stepfather who extends grace to Mary when she’s found to be pregnant prior to their marriage. The story grows ever-bigger and Mary’s Joseph often guided by dream revelation has a role to play in the lives of Jesus and Mary. Then, there’s the Joseph of Arimathea who provides tomb for Jesus and who removes Jesus’ body from the cross becoming unclean in touching a dead body as the Sabbath begins. Each Joseph removes shame and extends grace into the situation.
Listening to – Chris Whitley’s ‘Dust Radio,’ the Lumineers’ ‘Ho Hey’ and ‘Stubborn Love,’ John Trudell’s ‘Rockin the Res (Live)’ and Congregation’s ‘Don’t Pay No Mind.’
Quote to Inspire – It should be the aim of every photographer to make a single exposure that shows everything about the subject. I have been told that my portrait of Churchill is an example of this. – Yousuf Karsh