January 4, 2017
The Tiger Hills Arts Association will be hosting an exhibition of 25 of my large format prints from January 17 to February 24, 2017. The prints range in size from 20x16" to 40x30". The gallery is located at the McFeetors Centre in Holland, Manitoba. If you happen to be driving on Highway 2 west of Winnipeg, I invite you to come on in and have a look!
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION - NATURAL REFLECTIONS
I have focused my lens exclusively on this great country Canada and the images in NATURAL REFLECTIONS represent but a cross section of my work. The images capture the wide, open spaces of the ‘grand landscape’ but, more often than not, I am drawn to the quiet, intimate views that many seem to pass by. While some images are more representative in style, others are more abstract in nature, allowing for a more personal interpretation, a chance to discover.
I feel very fortunate to have been born in Canada, as I firmly believe that I live in the best country in the world—bar none. What I love most about this country is its sheer beauty and diversity; Canada’s vastness truly boggles the mind. Photography has allowed me to explore the subtleties of the natural world in a way that complements the academic knowledge I gathered during my formative years. By walking a little slower, waiting a little longer, looking a little closer or deeper, I have been rewarded with the discovery of so many nuances of color, line, form, texture, and pattern that can be so easily missed. Photography is the vehicle through which I was able to discover this great country. As a result of looking through my camera’s viewfinder, I have become much more aware of my surroundings. Photography has literally heightened my ability to see and feel.
Trees, water and, more recently, skies have been important elements in my work. Trees beautify our surroundings, purify our air, act as sound barriers and manufacture precious oxygen. They affect our climate by moderating the effects of the sun, wind and rain, they provide shelter for wildlife and, last but not least, they act as a carbon sink by removing carbon dioxide from the air and storing it as cellulose in their trunks, branches, and roots. They, however, offer much more than practical benefits. Trees have inspired countless artists in their art and are fascinating subjects in themselves. Whether they are depicted as individual objects or as part of a forest scene, they offer the viewer limitless variations. There is a tree for all seasons!
Water, on the other hand, provides the Earth with the capacity to support life. Water covers 70% of earth’s surface but only 2.5% of that is freshwater. Three quarters of our freshwater is contained in ice sheets and glaciers. However, most of it (97%) is not considered as a water resource as it is inaccessible, located in the Antarctic, Arctic and Greenland ice sheets. Water is one of our greatest resources but we often take it for granted.
Light is important in many ways. Without ‘life sustaining light’, we would not be here. Light is responsible for life, as we know it, from our very own existence to that of the natural world that we spend so much time photographing as subjects of our passion and art. Without light there would also be no photography either! You need light not only to illuminate the subject but also to allow the image to be formed, whether on film or digitally.
The light that falls upon a scene often transforms a rather ordinary looking landscape into an exquisite vista. While I often seek and wait for the “sweet light”—that time of day in the morning and evening around the rising and setting of the sun when the light is warm and inviting—I photograph frequently during other times of the day too. By keeping an open mind, I am able to continually discover creative opportunities nearly anywhere I may find myself.
Light’s equal partner in photography is time. While light is almost always considered the most important factor in photography, the element of time is every bit as crucial. Time is universally present in nearly every image you see, whether it is the time of day, the time of the season, the shutter speed you select, the actual time you press the shutter, the time spent ‘waiting for the light’, the time evolved in the scene (often measured in geologic time), the time dedicated to practicing your craft, and on and on.
Good photography looks ever deeper into ever-familiar worlds. This is often where the real challenge lies, to make an extraordinary image of an ordinary subject. Because I am very familiar and comfortable with my surroundings, an intimacy exists between my surroundings and myself. Some of my best work is literally made in my own backyard!
As more people migrate to the cities, fewer people experience the natural environment. As a species, we are less and less connected to the natural world – our land, our skies, our water, our forests and our creatures. Our existence on this earth represents but a fraction of the earth’s existence, including that of many of its other inhabitants. Yet, we make decisions daily that are threatening the planet’s health and even its survival. While the plight of the human condition deserves our attention, the devotion to our natural environment is no less noble. Not only is our own health dependent upon a healthy planet but also so is that of all the other species; we have been taking this for granted for much too long.
Looking though the viewfinder reveals much more than what lies in front of me. It reveals something about my attitude, my approach, and me. I am reflecting about the natural world as much as I am reflecting the natural world itself. As you look at the individual photographs in this exhibition, I hope you will also reflect on what they mean to you. This is an opportunity for natural reflections.
December 20, 2016
As one year draws to an end, another is just about to begin. I managed to get out photographing a few times in the last 10 days or so, albeit during the coldest stretch of winter to date. I travelled to Lake Winnipeg at Victoria Beach on one occasion, the open prairie around Lorette and Grande Pointe on another, Birds Hill Provincial Park on a third occasion and finally, Sandilands Provincial Forest on the final one where I made this image of the sun setting through jack pine trees. It was bitterly cold with temperatures hovering around minus 30 degrees Celsius. With a cutting breeze, the windchill dropped the temperature to around minus 40 degrees Celsius. I was toasty warm walking through the forest except for my face and hands. I have yet to find a balaclava to work well with with glasses (I now have three of them including a very expensive one). I managed to keep the fingers from freezing but I had accidentally left the thinner silk gloves in my other winter coat; I normally slip these thinner silk gloves into a slightly thicker pair when temperatures are extreme.
I love the silence at this time of year! I thought this image was fitting for the coming festive season.
Wishing you Happy Holidays and All The Best for 2017 !
October 28, 2016
This coming Thursday, November 3 (2016) at 7 PM, I will be launching my new book 'MANITOBA - LAND OF THE UNEXPECTED’ in the Atrium of McNally Robinson Booksellers store in Grant Park Shopping Centre, 1120 Grant Ave) in Winnipeg, MB. This book was published by Les Editions des Plaines in Winnipeg and printed in Altona, Manitoba, making this another great 'Made In Manitoba' project, at least in my mind! This book is the result of some 30 years of exploring one of Canada's best kept secrets! I look forward to sharing it with you.
September 26, 2016
This coming Wednesday I travel to Friesens in Altona, Manitoba to print my latest book 'Manitoba: Land of the Unexpected'. It’s always a pleasure to spend time at Friesens. I particularly enjoy browsing through the recently published books in their library. Between the many visits to the pressroom, I peruse as many books from my hand-picked selection as I can, often at the expense of catching up on my sleep!
This latest book by ‘Les Editions des Plaines’ is the first in a series about Canadian provinces. Last year, ‘Les Editions des Plaines’ reprinted my ‘Canada’ book and, the year before that, they published our book about the ‘Saint-Boniface Cathedral’ as part of yet another series on special places and icons of Manitoba. More books to come in the future!
Creating any book always involves a lot of hard work as well as a great deal of time. The many steps involved include coming up with a concept followed by the photography, the processing of images, the writing, the layout, the editing, the proofing, the prepress work, more proofing, and more proofing still and, finally, the printing. A book launch has been scheduled for McNally Robinson in Winnipeg on November 3rd but more on that later!
A couple of weeks ago I was pleasantly surprised to see for the first time in my yard, a pileated woodpecker. A couple of days ago, as I was sitting on the front porch admiring spring coming into its own, I heard the unmistakable sound of a pileated woodpecker. This time, I had enough time to quietly sneak into the house and grab my 'wildlife' camera and capture a couple of images of the once threatened species as it foraged for insects in my tall Manitoba maple tree. Unfortunately, this does not bode well for my tree!