Friday, January 15, 2010

Geographic Surveys - Slocan City 2008

the "geographic surveys" i shoot in medium format colour are the bread and butter of my photographic practice. 


the methodology essentially started in earnest in 1998. i had grown accustomed to dropping my film off at a lab on hotel-de-ville (near mount royal in montreal) and then continuing on my way to school. that day in february, i photographed a single 120 roll of film as i made my way south down hotel-de-ville.


the resulting 12 images, a small collection of street garbage, urban vegetation, signage and graffiti felt somehow succinct and complete on its own. for me, i had made sense of a very small time and place: "hotel-de-ville, february 12 1998." 


creating my work within these little series seemed like a very natural compliment to the subjective and temporal nature of my art practice. in each series, i try to compile images that speak to the unique geographic and social landscape of a place. 



in slocan city, a small village in the interior of british columbia, i was searching out a way of life in a place that has largely been forgotten. nestled in the slocan valley, at the southern tip of the Slocan Lake, Slocan city at the turn of the 20th century had been a well travelled mining town. now, it's one of a series of small towns that are dwarfed by the mountains and largely forgotten by the technical age. It's a rustic lifestyle with generators and gas powered wood choppers more common than blackberries and other PDA's.


i wanted to photograph this sense of remoteness as our family contemplated the winding down of our time in the okanagan and began to consider our next destination. both my wife and i felt some inclination to adopt a simple life, and buy a property where the land is cheap so that we can return to our core values which include canning, growing a garden, having clean air and preparing for the apocalypse.  a very meaningfull way of life for us.


however, for me, that vision of seclusion is still a little intimidating. as though i haven't done enough in the world to disappear yet.


4 comments:

  1. Altho I have been to this little town of Slocan, my eye never picked up the dispear your photography picked up... looks like the apocalypse has been and gone.

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  2. First, wow. I have never been able to talk about my photographic work like that. Respect.

    Second. You just describe our goals, my wife and I,
    "adopt a simple life, and buy a property where the land is cheap so that we can return to our core values which include canning, growing a garden, having clean air and preparing for the apocalypse."

    Maybe we'll meet somewhere in a remote village, north of nowhere.

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  3. guilliume, maybe we should make a plan to meet there.

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  4. Good idea.
    Let's meet on a wednesday, north of nowhere.

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