Photography’s Rules & Rebellion

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Cattails - Watt Mountain 1

Cattails – Watt Mountain 1

Cattails - Watt Mountain 2

Cattails – Watt Mountain 2

Afternoon Sun - Watt Mountain 1

Afternoon Sun – Watt Mountain 1

Afternoon Sun - Watt Mountain 2

Afternoon Sun – Watt Mountain 2

Watt Mountain Roads 1

Watt Mountain Roads 1

Watt Mountain Roads 2

Watt Mountain Roads 2

I have been listening to an interview with Parker Palmer and Courtney Martin, this morning. The interview is presented as a podcast by Krista Tippett in her ‘On Being’ podcast/broadcast and is entitled ‘The Inner Life of Rebellion.’ The extrapolation as it relates to photography is to consider how photography is an act of rebellion … likely such a question has been fodder for Susan Sontag in her book, ‘On Photography.’ Susan Sontag’s book and this ‘On Being’ podcast are both worth attention.

Images – A Sunday afternoon’s photos in January, toward Watt Mountain.

Listening to: Hang Massive’s ‘Once Again;’ the week has also brought some time travel in terms of music – ‘At the River’ by Groove Armada, ‘Friday I’m in Love’ by The Cure and ‘Push the Button’ by the Sugababes. I’ve also had a go at Zoe Keating’s ‘Into the Trees’ album – ‘Seven League Boots’ often adds transition in ‘On Being’ podcasts.

Quote to Consider – “Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase.” – Percy W. Harris; “I am not interested in rules or conventions. Photography is not a sport.” – Bill Brandt

Watt Mountain Story Holder

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Watt Mountain, Hutch Lake, Alberta

Watt Mountain, Hutch Lake, Alberta

On a spring day eighteen years ago, good friends had taken my son, my wife and I out exploring north from High Level; it was the spring of our first year in High Level and they had taken us to Hutch Lake for a Sunday afternoon picnic. We had done some hiking. Then, being at the base of Watt Mountain we decided to see if we could ascend the mountain’s mucky, dirt road through the twelve kilometre climb in our four-door, red Nissan Sentra. Higher and higher we climbed, the nimble, front wheel drive Nissan never losing traction.

First, we got to a lookout vista partway up Watt Mountain; we stopped, there, to view the world we had just travelled through. At that point, we opted to make the rest of climb to the crest of Watt Mountain where the local Alberta Fire Service fire tower is located. There, we met the wildfire lookout observer. We asked and received permission to climb the tower and to survey the world from there – my wife, my friend’s wife and my son stayed below.

What an experience making the climb! And what a view, something giving us a sense for the terrain comprising the Mackenzie Municipal District. The climb is one that I’ve made only that once – a never-done experience, one in which the opportunity of the moment was seized and paid dividends. That day, a photo was taken of my son, my wife and I along one of the Hutch Lake hiking trails. It has remained on our piano since that time. Besides the reminiscence of family and friends, that photo is a story holder of all that comprised that day.

Here, within this image, the same Watt Mountain fire tower is dormant, residing in winter’s weather.

Listening to – Haydn Symphony #76 in E Flat, H 1/76 – 2 Adagio, Ma Non Troppo.

Quote to Consider – “Strictly speaking, one never understands anything from a photograph … [only] that which narrates can make us understand.” – Susan Sontag, ‘On Photography’

Song from My Youth

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Fire Tower, Watt Mountain - High Level, Alberta 1

Fire Tower, Watt Mountain – High Level, Alberta 1

Fire Tower, Watt Mountain - High Level, Alberta 2

Fire Tower, Watt Mountain – High Level, Alberta 2

Fire Tower, Watt Mountain - High Level, Alberta 3

Fire Tower, Watt Mountain – High Level, Alberta 3

Watt Mountain 2 - High Level, Alberta 1

Watt Mountain 2 – High Level, Alberta 1

Watt Mountain Ice - High Level, Alberta 1

Watt Mountain Ice – High Level, Alberta 1

Watt Mountain Ice - High Level, Alberta 2

Watt Mountain Ice – High Level, Alberta 2

A quiet Saturday, one spent mostly at home comes to a close. The Ozark Mountain Daredevils play from my iTunes account through computer speakers, ‘If You Wanna Get To Heaven’ – muted strings on a guitar are percussive, a harmonica brings in melody and other instruments, the sound preceding lyrics that consider getting to heaven – song and lyrics attract my ear, a song from my youth. The evening has involved editing images from Watt Mountain.

Listening to – Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Highway Patrolman,’ ‘One Step Up,’ and ‘Last to Die.’ There’s been ‘Rumble’ by Link Wray and the Wraymen. The Who have played ‘Boris the Spider,’ ‘I Can See for Miles’ and ‘Magic Bus.’ The Kingsmen have played ‘Louie Louie.’ Green Day have played ‘East Jesus Nowhere.’ The playlist has rounded out with Bruce Springsteen singing Pete Seeger’s Civil Rights anthem, ‘We Shall Overcome.’

Quote to Consider – “Picture-taking has been interpreted in two entirely different ways: either as a lucid and precise act of knowing, of conscious intelligence or as a pre-intellectual, intuitive mode of encounter.” – Susan Sontag, ‘On Photography’

Remembering on Watt Mountain

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Watt Mountain - High Level, Alberta 1

Watt Mountain – High Level, Alberta 1

Watt Mountain - High Level, Alberta 2

Watt Mountain – High Level, Alberta 2

Watt Mountain - High Level, Alberta 3

Watt Mountain – High Level, Alberta 3

Watt Mountain - High Level, Alberta 4

Watt Mountain – High Level, Alberta 4

Watt Mountain - High Level, Alberta 5

Watt Mountain – High Level, Alberta 5

Watt Mountain - High Level, Alberta 6

Watt Mountain – High Level, Alberta 6

For Bobby, a cousin and Canadian veteran, who passed away last Wednesday and whose funeral occurs today in Grande Prairie, Alberta. Thank you for the friend you’ve always been to my wife and me. Thank you for the family you’ve been a part of. Thank you for your service to Canada – wounded, but accomplishing what very few others could have. Very well done!

Listening to – ‘William’s Lullaby,’ ‘The Gairlock and Loch Duich’ and ‘Amazing Grace’ offered by the Canadian Scottish Regiment Pipes and Drums.

Quote to Consider – “‘A photograph is not an accident – it is a concept.’ To take a good photograph, runs the common claim, one must already see it. That is, the image must exist in the photographer’s mind at or just before [it is taken].” Susan Sontag (working with an Ansel Adams quote and taking it further) in ‘On Photography.’