B-side images, ones that haven’t made the first cut reveal in their review how often I am impressed with technology’s artistry that comprises what becomes a vehicle. A veritable used car lot, these images display resurrected lives of vehicles, being breathed into new Life through the artistry of a would-be car crafter. Winter grain stocks hold interest in their various settings.
Listening to – Aqualung’s Strange and Beautiful (I’ll Put A Spell On You), the Volkswagen Beetle tune from a few years back.
Quote to Inspire (or draw one toward reality) – “Photography cannot do much. It provides some level of information, yet it has no pretensions about changing the world.”John Vink
The back forty is a farming phrase taken to mean the untended area of a farm, land not in public view, land not regularly or productively used by its farmer. The back forty may be difficult to navigate with farm machinery. It may contain a slough or the water table may be high enough making the work of land use unprofitable. Such land, untamed, untrammeled and unused is often best used as a place for storing farming machinery that you might need for parts in future days. North from Peace River, Alberta, this Massey-Harris sits on the steeper slope of a field, an area of land that its farmer has found difficult to use, part of what might described as the back forty.
Listening to – Snow Patrol’s Those Distant Bells, Matthew Perryman Jones’ Keep It On The Inside, Murray McLaughlin’s Hard Rock Town, Liz Longley’s Unraveling and Shawn Colvin’s All Fall Down.
Quote to Inspire – “My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe, and my camera is my passport.” – Steve McCurry
December – colder temperatures, cooling the core of you; shortened days, days of the long nights; snow blankets the landscape and falling veils the atmosphere looked through diluting colour into the distance until only the grander forms can be made out. Arriving home for supper, I stumble into Mr. Keating and his students within the latter acts of Dead Poets Society – it’s winter, there, too. At the point where I pick up the story, a student challenges parents’ wishes and takes on the role of Puck within a production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Neil, as Puck, opens and closes this first performance famously, an outcome that’s would surely catalyze future interest and movement within and toward drama as solid and chosen Life endeavor. His parent’s plan, though, is what it is. There is no room for deviation. Life, moving forward, is their way or not at all. To live-out the parent’s plan, dreams must die. And, dead dreams are no more than that – dead. Neil recognizes that he has known the rapture of bringing the journey of a drama from a good beginning to successful conclusion. Neil takes his Life. Much of what the movie deals with is shaping judgment and pursuing truth – uncovering the core reality of Life. And, the movie shows costs associated with such noble pursuit – ‘O’ Captain, My Captain’. A friend and colleague pointed out that Mona Lisa Smile is the inverse to this film, Dead Poets Society.
While not a December photo, the vehicle within the image is one that was certainly around during the time in which Dead Poets Society was set. In the last third of the distance from Fox Creek and Valleyview, Alberta, this vehicle resides on the north side of the highway, in a farmer’s field. The sanding and the front right quarter panel that needs to be reattached reveal the car to be a project vehicle, a vehicle that someone has had an interest in restoring … and then didn’t. Set within view of the highway, it is certain to draw the attention of another would-be car crafter. For me, I enjoy the shape and look found in this vehicle from a former time. While editing this photo today, I realized that in total I may only have ridden in a handful of these fifties vehicles, maybe only one or two … despite having photographed them so often.
Listening to – Sigur Ros’ Glosoli.
Quote to Inspire in Dead Poets Society terms – “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8 – University of Alberta’s motto
Quote to Inspire – “I fell in love with the process of 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
A February photo, one of the first few shots with a Canon 70-200 mm – f/2.8 IS lens, looks northwest toward Onoway, Alberta … perhaps twenty minutes away. Rolling hills of a farmer’s field add relief to landscape reminding of larger furrows found in an unmade blanketed bed. A well-tended fence running four strands of barbed wire limits livestock straying onto this range road.
Listening to – Coldplay’s Clocks, Fix You and Every Teardrop is a Waterfall.
Quote to Inspire – “I don’t believe a person has a style. What people have is a way of photographing what is inside them. What is there comes out.” – Sebastiao Salgado
Late on a November Saturday afternoon, wraith-like, wisps of wood smoke drift over winter’s fallow field near Fort Vermilion. A homestead’s woodstove produces an intense dry heat, welcome warmth in the midst of a cold, Alberta winter. The day, a first opportunity to work with a new prime lens, a Canon 50mm – f/1.4 lens; my wife has encouraged me to begin my work with it. The image is one of the first images with the lens.
Listening to – Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto, In My Place, Major Minusand Yellow.
Quote to Inspire – “The photograph is completely abstracted from life, yet it looks like life. That is what has always excited me about photography.” – Richard Kalvar
At night, light and shadow reveal girder and rivet patterning along the High Level Bridge, a bridge that connects the north bank high above the North Saskatchewan River at the Alberta Legislature ground site to the south bank – an area that becomes entrance to the University of Alberta and Edmonton’s Old Strathcona community. The scene within this image contains the light trails of two cars moving across the bridge while emphasizing perspective with foreground, middle ground and back ground elements – the riveted girders and bridge deck (near), the girder and walkway (opposite – middle ground) and the steam of the petrochemical plants along Edmonton’s baseline road in the distance. The bridge is a landmark within Edmonton and a piece of architecture I have cycled over and under most days during summer’s break between winter and spring sessions at the University of Alberta. At night, the bridge becomes vista from which to survey much of Edmonton – northeast to the legislature, east to the Muttart Conservatory and refinery row, south and southeast to the skyline of Saskatchewan Drive, southwest to the University of Alberta, northwest to a skyline that follows Jasper Avenue west and west toward Glenora’s community. On both sides, the North Saskatchewan River snakes through Edmonton – winding west, past Emily Murphy park and onto Hawrelak park; east past the Rossdale power plant, past the Edmonton Queen sternwheeler and onto Rundle park. At all times of the day and night, the bridge is active conveying people from one side of the river to the other – by foot, jogging, cycling, by truck, bus or car. Within this image, texture and sense of space attract me as do memories of former times.
Listening to – U2’s One, Walk On, Where the Streets Have No Name, Moment of Surrender and With or Without You.
Quote to Inspire – “I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.” – Diane Arbus
Lingering, those photos remain, the ones I would not at first glance think of returning to – the scouting eye’s first glimpse and first understanding of subject, the first impression of subject captured through the camera lens by my eye. Editing’s go-round exposes each photo’s possibility, the ‘where’ of where the story is within the image. Editing is about exposing the story held within the visual narrative of the image. If a photograph is akin to description, editing is about drawing emphasis to that narrative. Remaining photos, those receiving their second and third glance, have yielded the treasure of narrative through editing.South from Nampa, Alberta, a June summer’s day finds this dormant grain truck now sporting an advertisement for Mike’s Sandblasting and Painting.
Listening to Klaus Schulze’s Captivity on the Magnetik album, ambient schtuff (double plus good).
Quote to Inspire – “It’s not how a photographer looks at the world that is important. It’s their intimate relationship with it.”– Antoine D’Agata