Sunday 16 July 2017

Illuminations, Part 2

“...I am in love with the photograph and all its astonishing capacity,
as a tool, to tell stories, to spark the imagination, to leverage
empathy in the human heart and create change.”
- David duChemin,
The Soul of the Camera, Rocky Nook Publishers, 2017

Last week, I wrote about the beauty of the illuminated Saint John’s Bible, two volumes of which are currently on display at St. Jerome’s University at the University of Waterloo. This week, I want to focus on a secular approach to the same sense of illumination. The Canadian photographer David duChemin nicely summarizes my evolving appreciation of photography in the above quotation from his new book, which I am currently reading. He has a profound respect for the power of a photograph to transcend and – yes – illuminate both the viewer and the photographer. I highly recommend the book.

The photos that follow represent my attempts to be illuminating and transcendent in my photography. I recorded all these images on Saturday, July 15, when I was in Toronto for the day. Regular readers will already know about my love of Toronto and its photographic potential. On Saturday, however, I was in a particularly reflective mood. I had been invited to attend the wrap-up event for the 29-year-old Self-Help Resource Centre (SHRC), a small organization devoted to the creation and support of self-help groups in Ontario, especially around issues of health and advocacy. My late husband, Spencer Brennan, worked at the SHRC for many years and found it to be an immensely rewarding and nurturing workplace. Alas, the SHRC, which always struggled financially, has finally succumbed. It is a significant loss to the community, but its legacy lives on in its many client groups that continue to flourish, which means that Spencer’s legacy also lives on. His spirit was palpable on Saturday afternoon at the 519 Church Street Community Centre, the location of SHRC’s farewell event.

These photos reflect the sense of gratitude that I always feel when I think of Spencer and the 29 years that we spent together. I dedicate them to his memory.


Bird of Spring, by Inuit artist Etungat

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