Beaver and Sunset – Dixonville, Alberta
At sunset, on a lake north from Dixonville, Alberta, on the west side of a highway’s curve, a beaver has swum towards me to determine whether or not I’m animate, part of the setting or active within its setting. When my movement becomes large and noticeable, the beaver slaps its tail on the water and dives, swimming from what had been its present location to another where line of sight on me, the potential predator, can be had.
Listening to – much of Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds’ Live at Radio City Music Hall; the songs standing out this morning have been ‘Bartender’ (as possible prayer), ‘Save Me’ (for its allusion), ‘Crash into Me’ (intimate lovers’ dialogue), ‘Sister’ (I have a sister-in-law) and ‘Lie in Our Graves’ (for its shared fun).
Quote to Inspire – “A photographer is an acrobat treading the high wire of chance, trying to capture shooting stars.” – Guy Le Querrec
Derelict Vessel – Hay River, NWT – 1
Derelict Vessel – Hay River, NWT – 2
Derelict Vessel – Hay River, NWT – 3
A summer’s day in early July finds my son, newly graduated from high school, awaiting word of acceptance to the University of Alberta and the possessor of a day off from his job cooking in a local restaurant. My son and I travel north from High Level to Hay River, Northwest Territories and the Great Slave Lake. My son needs the practice of driving for his driver’s test. He’s at the wheel. For my son, the challenge is not only the technical aspects of driving; for him, the challenge is also that of overcoming learned travelling behaviour – on long drives sleep has become a means to shorten travel’s distance. The float and glide of our 2000 GMC half ton cushions driving’s dips and rises comfortably along our three-hundred kilometre route northward. My son nearly falls asleep at the wheel and I prompt him to direct his attention to his driving.
The journey takes us to Alexandra falls and onward into Hay River’s Great Slave Lake – both become excellent photo-taking opportunities; my son is quite daring in the photography he attempts looking out from 100 foot cliffs. In Hay River, we encounter the boat within this image dragged more than a kilometre from the Great Slave Lake; its location is at that point in Hay River’s municipal jurisdiction where the industrial area ends and its housing development begins – a somewhat quirky location at first glance. This boat is no more than 500 feet from the nearest Hay River home.
Thinking this image through I’m left with several questions.
Ocean-going vessels that become marine salvage are vessels that are taken to locations in the world where they can be retired, places where the vessel can be scuttled while leaving them accessible to teams of people who are able to dismantle the vessel – cutting it apart and finding new uses for each part that had been component of the formerly floating structure that had been moving through water.
Here, in Hay River, on the world’s largest lake what happens? This boat has been pulled from the water and seemingly kept, but for what reason. Does the former sea-worthy vessel have use for parts or perhaps for training? Or is it, that the ‘what-next’ for the vessel needs a good, reasonable next step or perhaps a next step that generates revenue? And, is the vessel towed so far so that it simply resides on company-owned real estate? Questions …. Nonetheless, a full ocean-going, lake-bound vessel among trees does become an interesting image.
Listening to – Peter Gabriel’s ‘Come Talk to Me,’ ‘Steam,’ ‘Across the River,’ ‘Shaking the Tree’ and ‘Blood of Eden.’
Quote to Inspire – “Photography is the only language that can be understood anywhere in the world.” – Bruno Barbey
Mill – High Level, Alberta
Sod Farm – High Level, Alberta
South and east from High Level a wood mill’s burner burns sawdust. North from High Level there’s a sod farm. Both images are summer images shot very close to midnight in early July.
Listening to – my own fretting of Dave Matthew’s ‘Crash into Me.’
Quote to Inspire – “I’m left handed, have a double jointed finger, and almost lost my thumb when I was younger. I resent the fact that cameras are not made for lefties.” – Matt Stuart
Ford F-100 1
Ford F-100 2
Ford F-100 3
Ford F-100 4
Ford F-100 5
Ford F-100 6
Our landscape, just south of Canada’s 60th parallel, grows brighter as sunlight’s intense intensity intensifies, day by day. Today has been our first real glimpse of the spring we are moving into. Graders, snow blowers and huge dump trucks have been hauling snow away each day this past week to limit the water and ice that will be dealt with in spring’s thaw. Today, on February’s last day of 2013, we have a three week wait until spring arrives. The images presented here are a celebration of colour even in when most dismally discovered. Colour is celebrated in each image of the 53 Ford that continues to hold my attention. I might have to drive one one day. At present I have my eye out for a green, Canadian built, 69 Pontiac Parisienne … still window shopping, but one day I’ll find one.
Listening to – Alan Jeffries’ ‘John Hardy’ from the Coffee Til Midnight album.
Quote to Inspire – “I fell in love with taking pictures, with wandering around finding things. To me it feels like a kind of performance. The picture is a document of that performance.” Alec Soth
Ford F-100 – High Level, Ab 1
Ford F-100 – High Level, Ab 2
Ford F-100 – High Level, Ab 3
Ford F-100 – High Level, Ab 4
Ford F-100 – High Level, Ab 5
I’m not sure. But, this image’s perspective looking towards this 1953 Ford F-100 is that which likely is the perspective previous owners would have walking to it, something seen regularly through the Ford’s years of service. The image orients the eye to the driver’s door becoming the glimpse the owner/driver would take as he or she thinks through next actions and destination walking to this F-100. You could almost step into the image, open the driver’s door, start the engine and drive away.
Listening to – Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah,’ played on our Heintzman Grand Piano in vertical form by my daughter.
Quote to Inspire – “The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.” – Oscar Wilde
Chevrolet Corvair 1 – Courtney, BC
Chevrolet Corvair 2 – Courtney, BC
A few years back a film featured Joe Pesci as homeless vagrant haunting the boiler room of a Harvard University library – seen by students a few times, more apparition than real … thought to be the ghost of Walt Whitman. A student, an honours student, loses his prize possession, what he thinks to be a flawless regurgitation of his economics professor’s thinking on the state of the world, to the homeless vagrant. Within the story an economy is established. The vagrant trades portions of the student’s thesis for meals and a place to sleep … and it’s winter. The place to sleep is within a Chevrolet Corvair, what commonly was thought of as the surfer van of the sixties. The first version of the Chevrolet Corvair presented here is a duplicate of the surfer van in which Joe Pesci lays his head down in that Harvard winter in the film ‘With Honours.’
Listening to – The Cult’s ‘She Sells Sanctuary,’ Duran Duran’s ‘Thank You,’ Babble’s ‘Tribe,’ Lyle Lovett performing Irving Berlin’s ‘Blue Skies,’ The Pretenders rendering of ‘Forever Young,’ Lindsey Buckingham’s ‘On the Wrong Side’ and Harry Warren with ‘Muchacha.’
Quote to Inspire – “Anyone can shoot chaos. But the most perceptive photographers can make compelling pictures out of uninteresting moments.” – Alex Tehrani
Walkabout Friday – 30s Sedan
Scott Smith, CMO of Motivation to Move, was the first person to let me and his listeners in on certain rejuvenating aspects of the secret Life of entrepreneurs, the matter of setting aside the occasional Friday for walkabout, times to reconnect with friends and colleagues, times to check-in, play, have a beer; the walkabout Friday would be a day to cruise not too far out of town on your Harley Davidson motorcycle and to arrive and explore … sort of the same way people hit Farmer’s Markets on Saturday mornings.
Not a Harley, but a thirties sedan among other glory-days vehicle – the 64 Mercury Monterey and a 55 Chevrolet Truck (cream coloured behind the sedan). Walkabout Friday is in full swing in Nanaimo, British Columbia. My wife is indoors at the Valhalla Pure buying some Keen shoes.
Listening to – Great Lake Swimmers’ ‘The Great Exhale’ and ‘Cornflower Blue.’
Quote to Inspire – “Photography cannot do much. It provides some level of information, yet it has no pretensions about changing the world.” John Vink
Nose – 1938 Ford One Ton Tow Truck
Ford Grain Truck – Wabamun, Alberta
67 Ford Econoline Van
64 Mercury Monterey 2
64 Mercury Monterey 1
Looking up from my Ford-focused Canon 60D the highway held a semi hauling a flat-deck trailer with a Diversified Bus on it, its roof crushed – a sight as curious as it is disturbing. Diversified runs buses in northeastern Alberta. A passenger bus like this, the kind Greyhound uses, is never something anyone wishes to see in this state – the image implies rollover and injury. Hopefully, the accident was less serious than can be imagined. But, on those long, northern Alberta drives Greyhound buses do slide sideways on ice, occasionally – accidents involving such buses do occur from time to time.
Each image presented, here, has been an editing exercise exploring editing sequences other photographers have utilized to arrive at final image renderings. Ford Motor Company (FOMOCO) provides subject for these images – the nose of the 1938 Ford One Ton Tow Truck, a late sixties Ford One Ton grain truck, a 64 Mercury Monterey and a 67 Ford Econoline van.
Listening to – Gwyneth Paltrow singing ‘Country Song’ and ‘Travis.’
Quote to Inspire – “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson
1938 Ford One Ton Tow Truck
Farm – Nampa, Alberta
Manning Grain Truck 1
Manning Grain Truck 2
McLure Tow Truck 1
McLure Tow Truck 3
McLure Tow Truck 4
Saw Mill – Whitecourt 1
Train Tracks – Kamloops, British Columbia
Good travel from a photographic perspective is something allowing the photographer to look out to the world and to engage visually with the narrative of situation and locale. What is out there? What is happening or has happened? What pulls your eye towards it? What colour is there? What shadow is there? What is the visual impression? The challenge is that travel is often expeditious – you need to arrive at your destination at a certain time or to return home because you have goals on the other end of your travel. The trick is to plan for the opportunity to stop and photograph starting out early enough that you give yourself abundance of time with your camera … and the world. For the same nine hour drive we make between High Level and Edmonton, Alberta, an artist we worked with, Chris Short, observed that there is enough visual information of interest to make it necessary to break the same trip into three days to allow her to sketch, draw and paint … along the way. The photos presented here are those on the return journey home last week. Not knowing the times or vicinities well and with the press of my family and me returning to other goals, my photography was more happenstance than planned or found.
Listening to – The B-52s with the Wild Crowd performing ‘Private Idaho,’ ‘Ultraviolet,’ ‘Roam,’ and ‘Cosmic Thing’.
Quote to Inspire – “Taking an image, freezing a moment, reveals how rich reality truly is.” – Anonymous
Canola Homestead – Fort Vermilion, Alberta
Elektra Water Bomber 1
Elektra Water Bomber 2
Winter Snow 1
Winter Snow 2
At -39C steam hangs in the air almost failing to dissipate, resolving into a fog residue – vehicle exhaust, factory steam, breath from your own mouth. Cold cranking car batteries fail and must be boosted. January into February, in the North we’re rounding the cold portion of the orbital arc, pulling January’s cold with us into February. To look back, to rework and to resurrect in new ways – former photographs become blessing. Blown, compacted, heated and crusted snow is the subject of two images. Summer images include a homestead house within a field of canola as well as the Elektra water bomber from July.
Listening to – Stompin’ Tom Connors’ ‘Sudbury Saturday Night,’ Ray Wylie Hubbard’s ‘Mother Blues,’ Gurf Morlix’s ‘Gasoline’ and Buddy Miller’s ‘Does My Ring Burn Your Finger.’
Quote to Inspire – “I have to shoot three cassettes of film a day, even when not ‘photographing’, in order to keep the eye in practice.” – Josef Koudelka