Monday 25 April 2016

Welcome to my second blog. I've been thinking a lot lately about why photography has been calling me so persistently - almost naggingly - in the last few months. What keeps surfacing for me is the concept of photography as a form of meditation. The above photo is a case in point. I sent it to my dear friend Jean in Toronto, along with a commentary about it. She suggested that I use the commentary as a mission statement for both this blog and my photography. Here is a slightly edited version of what I wrote to her:

The photo of these two horses has entered my soul. I took it on a nasty, sleety March day on Gilead Road in Prince Edward County. The horses were so beautifully stoic. I also love the biblical allusion in the road name - the balm of Gilead is such a healing metaphor. The kicker is that I wasn't planning to drive on Gilead Road…but somehow there I was making the turn…and then the horses appeared. It was almost as if I had been summonsed. One of the most magical things about photography is the feeling I sometimes get that the photo is calling me - an act of witness? or worship? I look forward to exploring this spiritual dimension of photography at the annual Quaker Gathering in Minnesota in early July - I'll be taking a five-day workshop called 'Contemplative Photography'. So many gifts.

That pretty much says it all. And I thank Jean for her support and encouragement.

In my first blog, I promised to tell the story behind the odd image of this sleigh. The truth is that I don't know the story. One Sunday in mid-December, 2014, I was wandering along Belleville's Waterfront Trail near the foot of Herchimer Avenue. The Waterfront Trail is one of Belleville's treasures, and walking it is not only relaxing - it's also filled with visual eye candy.

Case in point: this odd sleigh.

It seemed to be crashing through the roof a newish log cabin. The cabin was placed on the deck of a large trailer. The trailer was parked in the Herchimer Avenue boat-launch area on the shores of the Bay of Quinte. There was no truck attached to the trailer. It had not been there the day before; it was not there the day after. There were no Santa Claus parades that weekend in the area. (I checked.) And besides, who - with the possible exception of filmmaker Tim Burton - would create a Santa Claus parade float with a sleigh crashing through the roof of a cabin on a flatbed trailer?

So - there it is: an antique sleigh, tacky tinsel, fairy lights, and someone with too much time on their hands. (And, yes, dear reader, I acknowledge that I just used a singular 'their' - a clumsy attempt to repair a design flaw in our language.) Make of it what you will. (The photo, not the design flaw.) And, no, despite what some people have said, I did not Photoshop the image.

As always, I welcome your feedback.

Until next time,

Monday 11 April 2016

Welcome to Making Eye Statements!

The goal of this blog is to reflect on my journey with photography. 


Almost two years ago, I retired from a long teaching career in Toronto and moved to Belleville with my husband, Bill. During the first few weeks of retirement, I was giddy with excitement - so many projects and dreams were dancing in my head. The body can be a brutal smasher of plans, however, and mine intervened decisively on July 25, 2014, at a Highway 401 service centre on my way to Toronto with Bill. As I was climbing up into Bill's formidable Dodge Hemi 4x4 truck, something torqued in my lower spine, causing intense, debilitating pain. (Fear not, dear reader, this blog is not a whining platform about health issues.) Suddenly, all plans and dreams were shelved, and a single goal emerged: to heal my back.

It took over a year to fully regain mobility, but in that year of healing, many, many blessings came into my life, including - unexpectedly - a passion for photography. I can't say I'm glad that I injured my back, but I am certainly grateful for the resulting gifts.

Daily walks became an important part of my healing regimen (what Blair, my gifted physiotherapist, referred to as 'walking therapy'), mostly near my home in the east end of Belleville. To add interest and accountability to these daily walks, I took photos with my modest Canon PowerShot SX210 IS and posted at least one image a day - actually taken that day - on Twitter. Over the course of 365 days, I posted over 500 photos. (That little PowerShot had accompanied me faithfully on travels in North America, Asia, Australia, and Europe, and I will always keep it, even though it has been succeeded by a Canon G3X and 70D.) Blessedly, my back slowly improved - and so did the quality of my photography.  

In these blog postings, I plan to reflect on the photographs that I post and to also ruminate on the use of photography as an act of witness, contemplation, and worship. 

I would be humbled to share these postings with fellow travellers and friends. Feedback, of course, is welcome. In my next posting, I'll write about the bizarre photo above. 

I also invite you to follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

Until next time,