Thinking Out Loud, Part One.
I live in Shoal Harbour Newfoundland which is a rural town so small it has been amalgamated with Clarenville. The combined population of both towns is about 5,000. There is a lot of development happening here lately. There is site preparation and active construction underway in at least seven sites around town. I have been making some images at these sites lately. These photographs portray a landscape in transition between wilderness and small town development.
I have become mostly neutral on the political issue of development. Any development has issues with environmental responsibility, loss of wildlife habitat and more. And there are also undeniable benefits such as job creation and economic development. In these times and in this province job creation and economic development are welcomed. Besides, I live in a house that was built on land developed from wilderness. Everybody does.
This is a work in progress. I’ve posted several images on photo sharing sites like Flickr and Pbase. In part this was to get some reactions and feedback. Mostly it was to share my latest images with some photographers I’ve come to like online. What few comments are posted usually react to these images as editorial or political statements. Understandably, many people lament the fact that natural forest is subjected to machinery and change. It’s interesting to me that so few comments relate to these images as photographs and in photographic terms. Maybe I’ve failed.
My intent is to make landscape (some might say “landscrape” instead) images that work with traditional formal considerations like light, line, texture and forms. These are early days with this work and in some ways these images pick up on themes I’ve always explored with my camera.
The subject matter isn’t always pretty. But should it be? Should we strive to only portray the beautiful? And if the subject matter isn’t pretty, does the image always imply some flavour of condemnation? And perhaps more to the point, is it even possible to make images that are neutral?