A twisted mind can be a beautiful thing.

Has this ever happened to you? You’re walking along, taking in the scenery when all of a sudden a picture pops into your head of the same scenery under very different circumstances. Sometimes it will be funny, sometimes black. This happens to me a lot. Last spring I decided to try to use these thoughts as inspiration for pictures. It turned out to be far more difficult than I had imagined, mostly because I do not have the $ millions needed to have a set built to my specification… I had to build it up from bits and pieces of digital images. This was the first one I did. Taking a page from Cindy Sherman’s workbook, I acted as my own model.

No Parking

The model and I got along famously, but the restrictions of hitting the shutter and racing around to strike a pose within the 30 second timer delay wore thin in a hurry. (Not to mention trying to pose in a way that would fit with a background that existed only on my computer!)

In a post I made last summer (Children’s Nightmares Are Made Of This), I revealed my darker vision of the local town fair. While visiting the Orangeville Fall Fair this past September, I saw a shot that I thought would work perfectly for a scene I wanted to create. Fate smiled on me as I pressed the shutter… a child threw himself down on the grass in the background in a tantrum… and became a dead body in my photo. Perfect!  Thanks to Kelsey S ( a very patient model) and Judy Z (makeup and model coaching), I was able to add a puppet to the shot, re-creating Pinocchio’s Circus.

I have put these in a new album in my Portfolio called “A View From The Edge”. I will add more to this album over time.

Fall Fog

Yesterday was a really foggy day here in Caledon. We often get days like this in the fall, although they usually come in October. I like the way fog can simplify the background in a photo and add an air of mystery. I started out on a nearby country road…

Road to Nowhere

Just down the road is a golf course with dry-stacked stone walls meandering over the hills. I processed these to try to convey the almost deafening quiet of this place in the thick fog.

The Moors (part 1)
The Moors (part 2)

Next stop was a cornfield. It reminded me of a Steven King short story I read many years ago… I started to see this place in a darker, creepier context.

Stalked

Just up the road from the cornfield, a U-pick orchard loomed up out of the fog. With their arthritic branches scratching at the fog above, the apple trees seemed even more ominous than the cornfield.

One Green Apple
Halloween's End

Childhood’s End

The old buildings that I photograph are often full of artifacts of the lives once lived there. For me personally, often the most poignant of these are the ones related to children. An old crib… a broken toy… telling stories of when there was vibrant life in this abandoned place. I can almost hear the echoes of the baby’s cries and the child’s laughter…

I think these photos have enough in common to merit giving them their own album in my online portfolio. The album is called “Childhood’s End”. Here are a couple of the photos from the album:

Pick Me Up?
Nativity Scene
Empty Crib

Yellow, Orange and Black

There are a lot of maple trees around my house. Each October the area is ablaze with yellows, oranges and reds. Except this year. This year the reds and oranges were noticeably absent for some reason. The unbroken sea of brilliant yellow in the trees was both novel and beautiful.

Here is a shot of one of the trees I took while experimenting with the Orton effect.

Pretty in Yellow

Moving down to the pond, I at last found a spot of red and orange, floating on the dark water.

Red, Orange and Black

Defined Spaces

A few posts ago, I mentioned that I was working on some new ideas. A vine-covered wall in Fergus started me wondering about shape and space. If I removed the building behind the vine, would the vine alone be sufficient to define the space? Would it change how I perceived the space? I thought it might be best to start out with a fairly recognizable shape, so this first one uses a very traditional stone house.

I started with high-res composites of two sides of the house.
The Green House

Don’t Shoot The Messenger!

I hate the fall… and I love it. It is the messenger saying “winter is coming!”… no more shorts, no more evenings on the porch, no more convertible drives, no more gentle rustling of the leaves on the trees in a breeze. It foretells the coming of frozen ground, frozen fingers and a bare, windswept landscape. But the messenger is dressed in a blaze of warm colours that is soooo hard to resist. I love the colours of the messenger. Just hate the message.
All this is by way of an intro to some photos I took this week in a visit to a local hidden gem of a waterfall. I went to get shots of a waterfall, but ended up being seduced by the colours I found.

Falling Reflection
Red Rainbow
Puddled Colours
Lower Falls From Beneath The Tree
An Unspoiled Place
Many Veils

That Rainy-Day Feeling

Those of you who have followed my blog for a while know how intimately my mood is connected to my photography. I don’t understand how it changes things. Do I compose differently? Do I use light differently? Do I choose different subjects? I really don’t know. It is not the result of any conscious decisions on my part to seek one “look” or another. It just happens. Looking at the photos I am posting today I noticed again how strong this correlation is.

This set of photos is from a house I visited this week.

"E"... E is for Elephant.
Shadowplay
Waiting Room Window
Corner Stove
Fall View
Lean Into The Sun
Blind and Blades
Overhead Reflections

Fun Lines on Queens Quay

This summer a new bit of public space opened on Queens Quay. It is a wildly oscillating walkway at the waters edge. In this first shot, I tried to draw attention to the textures on the surface of the walkway. I used a B&W treatment with very high contrast.

Railed

From another angle closer to the water, another facet of the lines of the walkway can be seen. I darkened the background to make the lit area under the walk (and its reflection) stand out. Notice the large fish hovering there?

Blue Wave

Some updates to my exhibitions.

Those of you following my blog on RSS may have noticed how sporadic my entries have become over the past couple of months. < excuse alert> I am a director on the Headwaters Arts board and I am managing Marketing and Publicity for them. The run up to the Headwaters Arts Festival has been a very busy time for me, managing the production of brochures, flyers and posters as well as ensuring press releases get written and published in the press. < /excuse alert> One week to go `till the festival, and most of my job is now done. Now I have time to pay a bit more attention to my art, my life, and you, my readers. First order of the day was to update the recent exhibitions list. There have been many in the past couple of weeks:

Headwaters Art Gallery – SGI Preview Show

Headwaters Arts Festival – What I will be showing at the SGI Centre during the Festival

Uxbridge – A piece selected by jury for Uxhibition 2009

Theatre Orangeville – Some work I have hanging in the upstairs lobby for the run of Blue Suede Shoes

Stay tuned, I have been working on some new ideas and will be ready to start revealing more about them soon.

Meeting Mr. Bell

Back in August, I was hunting for old farm machinery looking for more cogs, wheels and pulleys for my “Out of Context” series. This led me to drop in on a place I had spotted alongside the highway that had all kinds of used farm equipment parked in the field beside the house. I went to the door to introduce myself and ask if I could wander around and take some photos. Thus it was that I met Mr. Bell. And found out his son was Craig Bell and about my age. This coincidence was enough to get myself invited into the house to talk tractors and check out his tractor photos for a while. Once I got into the field I found that the equipment there was mainly tractors and not much that had the pulleys and wheels I wanted. But there was an oddly serene feel in the field. Usually these collections of old equipment seem a little melancholy to me, but this was more of a “pleasant retirement” kind of feel. I think it comes through in the photos I took that day.

Grazing herd
Watching The Grass Grow

A note for the photoshop geeks out there (Yes, I can say it out loud – I am a Photoshop geek!)… I used Kuler on the above two shots to re-tone the grass to a complementary tone of the red of the tractors. A very interesting tool that I will be continuing to experiment with…

The final photo is from an old military deuce-and-a-half I found in the grass

A veteran