artist statement: grand perspectives & grand motion

Grand Perspectives (the Grand River, Ontario)

The Grand River has existed in southern Ontario for 12,000 years. It is a treasured landmark, extremely significant historically, and a valuable resource for the entire watershed and beyond. Over the years, many artists have challenged themselves to capture and interpret the Grand River in their own way, trying to be unique but true to the essence of the river. This series of photographs is my attempt, my way of looking at the Grand River.

The images were taken at various dams along the Grand River, from Fergus in the north to Brantford in the south. Telephoto lenses were used to produce selected close-ups that would not normally be noticed in isolation. These were further abstracted by using the shutter speed to freeze the water flow in selected short periods of time. Then, when printed, the final image was rotated through 90 or 180 degrees. The resulting photographs give an impression of what might be seen by a viewer twisting his head 90 or 180 degrees and observing only a small area of the river for a fraction of a second - obviously a physical impossibility.

With the effects of magnification, stop action and rotation combined, fresh perspectives of the Grand River begin to materialize and numerous viewing possibilities are unleashed. Images of creatures or human figures or other objects can emerge from within the photographs. Unique shapes, lines, patterns and textures are revealed. And perhaps even personal responses to past experiences and feelings are provoked.

Viewers will take what they will from the images. My purpose is not to force or direct thought, but merely to offer up for consideration a somewhat less familiar, and hopefully different take on the Grand River, "Grand Perspectives".


Grand Motion (the Grand River, Ontario)

This project was conceived as I sat on the bank watching water flow over one of the numerous dams situated along the Grand River in southwestern Ontario. It occurred to me that the seemingly straight path of the water going over the dam and falling into the river below did not begin to tell the true story of the complexities of the churning and mixing that actually took place with the water. I surmised there must be more, much more going on unseen, both on and underneath the surface. This is what I wanted to capture, but how do you photograph what you cannot see?

To address this challenge, I used a great deal of artistic licence, a swing lens camera, appropriate shutter speeds and camera rotation. My goal was to mimic, photographically, what my imagination told me was happening with and within the moving water. This collection of photographs, Grand Motion, is the result.


To view image gallery: Click here.