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Photography show at ‘The Works’ 2011 festival

A forest of transmission towers and poles holding up a tangle of high voltage power lines near the Strathcona Refineries in Edmonton, Alberta are shrouded by the dense smoke from forest fires in BC in the late summer of 2010.

Strath­cona Refiner­ies #307, August 2010

I am very excit­ed to let you all know that I will have a solo show of my pho­tog­ra­phy at this year’s The Works Art & Design Fes­ti­val here in Edmon­ton. If you’re not from Edmon­ton, The Works is a large fes­ti­val that runs for a cou­ple of weeks in the sum­mer, with artists from all over the world dis­play­ing their work in var­i­ous down­town venues. My show will be dis­played at City Hall from the start of the fes­ti­val on June 23 through to July 5 and there will be a recep­tion for my show from 2–3pm on Sat­ur­day the 2nd of July.

As for the work itself, it is much dif­fer­ent in con­tent than my usu­al land­scape and nature pho­tog­ra­phy, but I think that my per­son­al pho­to­graph­ic style still shows through quite a bit. The exhi­bi­tion will be twen­ty large prints of images I made last August when smoke from large for­est fires in BC shroud­ed the refiner­ies just east of Edmon­ton (and every­thing else in cen­tral Alber­ta) in a dense, orange haze. I wrote an entry about it at the time (click here), but haven’t shared any of these images since then. I am busy set­ting up a new web­site for this col­lec­tion (it just doesn’t fit on this site), and I’ll post here once it’s up.

*UPDATE* The new web­site is now live! I invite you to have a look at www.strathcona-refineries.com.

*UPDATE* The exhi­bi­tion is now up! Thanks to the whole Works crew that did such a great job—it looks ter­rif­ic. While The Works Fes­ti­val isn’t “on” yet, if you’re down­town you can drop by City Hall and have a look at the prints on dis­play. I would real­ly appre­ci­ate hear­ing your reac­tions and comments—either here (by leav­ing a reply below), by con­tact­ing me per­son­al­ly, or in per­son at the show recep­tion on July 2nd.

*UPDATE* You can read a short inter­view that I did with Steve Wald­ner of The Works Fes­ti­val about the show at http://theworksfest.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/strathcona-refineries-august-2010/

A folio print of this image is for sale for whatever price you think is fair. Enter amount: $

Refineries in forest fire smoke

Smoke from large forest fires in BC obscures the view of the Suncor refinery complex near Edmonton, Alberta.

Refin­ery hori­zon in thick smoke

And now for some­thing com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent…

In my last post I men­tioned that I don’t often pho­to­graph wildlife—but couldn’t resist the lit­tle war­bler. And far less com­mon­ly than wildlife do I ever pho­to­graph heavy indus­tri­al com­plex­es and refineries—but this week I couldn’t resist.

On Thurs­day morn­ing (the 19th), thick smoke from for­est fires burn­ing in BC rolled in, cov­er­ing the city in a dim, orange-y haze. While a big prob­lem for asth­mat­ics, unique lighting/atmospheric con­di­tions like this are a great oppor­tu­ni­ty for land­scape pho­tog­ra­phers. So I head­ed out of town with my cam­era, think­ing I’d go to out to Min­is­tik or one of my oth­er favourite nat­ur­al areas east of Edmon­ton. But as I drove out of town, the effect of the fil­tered light and the thick smoke obscur­ing back­ground details, caught my eye.

I’ve noticed the inter­est­ing, almost abstract, shapes and lines of the refiner­ies for a while but the high-con­trast sur­faces and lim­it­ed colour palette nev­er quite inspired me suf­fi­cient­ly to grab my cam­era (and I’m usu­al­ly on my way out, or back from, a beau­ti­ful walk in the for­est and I don’t feel like star­ing at refiner­ies). Brooks Jensen, edi­tor of the excel­lent pho­tog­ra­phy mag­a­zine, LensWork, once spoke in a pod­cast (click here to lis­ten to it) about the con­cept of the “deci­sive land­scape moment”. Bor­row­ing the idea from the late, great street pho­tog­ra­ph­er Hen­ri Carti­er Bres­son, Brooks sug­gests that we need to wait for some­thing unique to hap­pen on the land­scape in order to make an inter­est­ing photograph—a sim­ple idea, but def­i­nite­ly worth keep­ing in mind. And on Thurs­day, the refiner­ies east of Edmon­ton had their “deci­sive moment” and I had a lot of fun try­ing out mak­ing pho­tographs of an entire­ly dif­fer­ent sub­ject mat­ter.

I made a good num­ber of pho­tographs that I’m pret­ty excit­ed about and per­haps I’ll share some more of them here. Leave a note in the com­ments to let me know what you think—I always appre­ci­ate hear­ing your reac­tions to any of the pho­tographs I post here.

A folio print of this image is for sale for whatever price you think is fair. Enter amount: $