Archive for March, 2011

Public Art – Inspired by Emily Carr

The Glory of the Woods installed at the Lansdowne Skytrain along the Canada Line in Richmond, BC.

The photographs for The Glory of the Woods were inspired by the writings of Emily Carr, her love of nature, and trees in particular.  It is a paradoxical experience that our increasingly fast-paced, hectic lives are often surrounded by a natural world, emerging slowly and silently around us.

From the passenger seat of a car, I set about to photograph the often unnoticed beauty along Richmond’s urban roads. The irony of the fast, fossil fuel-burning vehicle being used to capture a moment in time was not lost on me. At times, it seems that my life is rushing past, like the landscape outside the hurtling car, and I am trying to capture it, if only for a fraction of a second.

Using my camera like a painter uses a paintbrush, I capture strokes of colour-filled light. “Light and dark chase each other.”[1]The technique renders the scene more like a watercolour painting than a photograph. As a tree rushes past, the fore, middle, and background are frozen in varying degrees of sharpness, depending on my chosen point of focus. Panning the camera in time with the speed of the vehicle creates areas on the photographic palette where the eye can rest among the brush strokes. Because, “you must be still in order to see and hear.”[2]

With my husband Mark at the wheel, these images were shot with a Nikon D-80 digital SLR camera and a zoom lens. A polarizing filter helped to reduce reflections and saturate colours. A slow shutter speed was used to create the strokes of light that define the work. All images were processed in Adobe Lightroom.

[1] Emily Carr ©1966. Hundreds and Thousands: The Journals of Emily Carr. Toronto: Clarke, Irwin.

[2] Emily Carr ©1966. Hundreds and Thousands: The Journals of Emily Carr. Toronto: Clarke, Irwin.