Thursday, July 12, 2012


Thanks for the kind words.  I am still feeling my way through these new black and white pictures, trying to learn how to compose with deep space.  There has been a very split response; some people really like them, others have a reflexive black-and-white = "conservative" response and don't look any further.  I think of them as abstractions, in which every part of the picture is significant, even the apparently meaningless ones.  Hopefully the tensions of the barely hung-together pictorial spaces imply the social tensions implicit in the real places they depict.

The pictures are made along the Fraser Canyon highway, the former route from Vancouver to points east.  A high-speed bypass was built in 1986 and the canyon road communities are now gently dilapidated, populated mostly by German tourists in rental RVs, First Nations reservations, mountaineers and white-water rafters, meth cookers, laid-off mill workers, etc.  The Canyon seems like the "just past."  I feel at home there.

Another impetus for these pictures is the work of painter E.J. Hughes and novelist/short story writer Ethel Wilson: regional modernists whose respective output is not well known outside BC, but which has been very valuable to me.  Wilson is a full-blown modernist who is often represented as "gentle" and "comic"; her best work is neither.  q.v. Swamp Angel; Hetty Dorval.  George Bowering's very thoughtful Afterword to the New Canadian Library reissue of Swamp Angel has a lot to say about what I think I might be up to.

I wish you would start making (or posting) photographs again; I learned a lot from them.



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