Writing On Photography – Geoff Dyer

June 4, 2017 | Filed Under Art, Documentary Photography, Geoff Dyer, Photo Book, Photographers, Photography, Photojournalism, Photos, Street photography, The Ongoing Moment, Uncategorized, Writer, Writing, Writing on photography | Leave a Comment 

 

I find Geoff Dyer one of the most interesting, and idiosyncratic, writers around. He’s written a great deal about photography and photographers, much of which is found in two of his books ‘The Ongoing Moment’ (seen here) and a section of essays in  ’Otherwise Known As The Human Condition’.  His descriptions and thoughts on photography are both  insightful and entertaining. Here’s his description of the photographer William Eggleston’s work ” Eggleston’s photographs look like they were taken by a Martian who lost the ticket for his flight home and ended up working in a gun shop in a small town near Memphis.”. What a wonderful descriptive (and accurate) sentence. The cover image is a section of a photograph by the late British photographer Michael Ormerod who  is discussed in the book (Ongoing Moment) as well.dyer-book



Travellers Hotel and Swastikas, Ladysmith, British Columbia 2016

May 15, 2016 | Filed Under Architecture, BC Photography Archive, British Columbia, British Columbia Photographic Archive, Canada, Canadian, Cascadia, Documentary Photography, Don Denton, Historical, History, Ladysmith, Landscape, Pacific Northwest, Photography, Road Trip, Street photography, Swastika, Uncategorized, Vancouver Island | Leave a Comment 

Travellers Hotel and Swastikas, Ladysmith, British Columbia 2016

The first time I photographed the Travellers Hotel in Ladysmith on the town’s main street my attention was held by the dilapidated hotel sign over the main doors. I really didn’t look up at the higher stories and facade which at a quick glance seemed to be just fairly plain brick. A closer look on a more recent visit revealed a line of swastikas girdling the building. It seems a strange, and offensive, symbol to find on the side of a Vancouver Island building.

The building was constructed in 1912-13 and at that time the swastika was considered a symbol of  peace and prosperity, not gaining it’s Nazi connection/connotation until the Second World War. There was apparently talk during that later time of removing the symbols because of  anti-German feeling but in the end the swastikas were left as is.

The late British Columbia artist ManWoman spent his career trying to restore the original meaning of the swastika. His body was tattooed with over 200 swastikas and he used the symbol in his art. Victoria writer Tom Hawthorn wrote the obituary in the Globe and Mail for ManWoman. It details his connection with the swastika.

You’ll note the continued deterioration, if you look at the 2012 image, of the hotel sign.

 



Rain storm approaching, Harbour Road, Victoria, British Columbia 2016

March 13, 2016 | Filed Under Architecture, BC Photography Archive, British Columbia, British Columbia Photographic Archive, Canada, Canadian, Cascadia, Documentary Photography, Historical, History, Pacific Northwest, Photography, Street photography, Uncategorized, Urban, Vancouver Island, Victoria | Leave a Comment 

Rain storm approaching, Harbour Road, Victoria, BC 2016

 

This is the kind of weather we’ve seen a lot of this year. The street, Harbour Road, is one of the more interesting roads in Victoria simply because the side shown is new residential with some commercial/retail thrown in. The other side of the road is on the harbour and is still marine industrial giving the area a nice feel, holding on to an existing maritime heritage while adding downtown residential and  commercial.



Pink Pig Bank, Saanich, BC 2015

October 18, 2015 | Filed Under Art, Arts, BC Photography Archive, British Columbia, British Columbia Photographic Archive, Canada, Canadian, Cascadia, Documentary Photography, Don Denton, Fine Art, Historical, History, Landscape, Pacific Northwest, Personal Project, Photographers, Photography, Photos, Street photography, Uncategorized, Vancouver Island, Victoria | Leave a Comment 

Pink Pig, Saanich, BC 2015  Don Denton photograph

An oversize, somewhat decrepit, pink pig piggy bank sits on the grounds of the Saanich fairgrounds. An image any visitor to the fairgrounds will remember. The grounds are host to the annual Saanich Fall Fair.



Cowboys and Cattle, Merritt, BC 2014

May 19, 2014 | Filed Under BC Photography Archive, British Columbia, British Columbia Photographic Archive, Canada, Canadian, Documentary Photography, Photography, Uncategorized | 2 Comments 

 

Cowboys and Cattle Merritt, BC 2014Cowboys on horses work among cattle along just off the highway between Kamloops and Merritt. A scene seemingly from the past but just another work day for cattlemen in British Columbia’s interior.



Canada For Sale, Port Alberni 2011

January 1, 2014 | Filed Under BC Photography Archive, British Columbia, British Columbia Photographic Archive, Canada, Canadian, Cascadia, Documentary Photography, Landscape, Pacific Northwest, Personal, Personal Project, Photography, Road Trip, Street photography, Uncategorized, Vancouver Island | Leave a Comment 

Canada For Sale, Port Alberni, British Columbia 2011

Canada For Sale, Port Alberni, British Columbia 2011

Even the Canadian flag hanging from the building seemed dejected by its current status



New York Percussion Dance Troupe STOMP in Victoria

February 9, 2013 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

Dance drum troupe STOMP in Victoria, BC, Canada. Don Denton photography

Yesterday a few members of the New York based percussion dance troupe STOMP made an appearance inside the Atrium building in downtown Victoria to promote their upcoming shows here in August. I wanted a view that would show the dancers, the crowd and the unique architectural shape of the buildings interior. I picked a spot near the back of the stage that I thought would work, my only worry being that I wouldn’t be able to show the performers’ faces. I figured I’d be able to try the position and them move to the front of the stage for a head on view. The only problem with that plan was the crowd which jammed the space leaving me fenced in at the back. Luckily  as the photo above shows, my original plan for an image worked out. The preview shows was certainly energetic although I found that the performance pieces that included drumming on garbage cans and other such items, which they are most famously photographed with was not as impressive as the dance/drumming performances with brooms and sticks.

 

 

 

 



Merry Christmas

December 24, 2011 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

Merry Christmas everyone. Hope it’s not to exhausting.



Micah Escamilla, interviewed by Jeff Bartlett

June 12, 2011 | Filed Under Photojournalism, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

Former student Jeff Bartlett has posted an interview with his fellow former Western Academy of Photography classmate Micah Escamilla. Jeff is in Argentina and Micah is in California. You can read the interview here. Micah mentions former instructor, and now Luz Gallery maestro, Quinton Gordon as an influence for the classes he taught, she mentions me for inspiring her to set up drink nights for photographers. Who’s the better influence, hmmmmm.



Interview – T. Reilly Hodgson

February 20, 2011 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

1. Give us a brief bio of T. Reilly Hodgson and tell us what the T stands for.

I was born in 1987 in the suburbs of Toronto. I’ve gone to school at Emily Carr University in Vancouver for fine arts/ printmaking and OCAD University in Toronto for photography. The T is for Thomas but I don’t use that name.

2. How did your fine art schooling affect your work? Would you recommend that route to someone else wanting to become a fine art photographer?

I think art school has taught me to try to slow down and be a bit more patient with my work, which has been a good thing. Otherwise, I’m still on the fence about it. I’ve gone to and left two of the more esteemed art schools in the country for two different programs and found that neither of them really left me feeling very satisfied. If you’re talented and truly passionate about your craft I don’t think its essential. You’ve really got to want to be there considering the amount of money it costs to go and right now I’m getting more done out of University than I was when I was stuck in classes writing papers.

3. Your photographs seem to be about your personal world. How do you classify yourself as a photographer (documentary, art) or do you?

My majority of my photos are candid shots from my every day type of life, its true, though I’m not sure exactly if I could classify myself like that at this point. There’s an element of documentary in a large amount of my work but there’s a lot more to it than that for me. I do want to make pictures that are artful, that’s for sure, but I’m also interested in the way that memory works. I use photos to express something in the same way I might use a drawing or painting to express something, but at the same time, I know that if I end up with kids in 20 years these photos are going to be how they learn about me, the same way I learned about my family pouring through boxes of their old photos. That’s a pretty fucked up thing to think about. I can’t do that with a drawing. I’ve got to one-up shots of building the CN railway west across Canada, guarding the King in England, commanding tanks in WWII, and racing horses in the 50s and 60s. Its all the same story.

4. Can you describe what you’re trying to do/show when you photograph?

What I am trying to do when I photograph can change when my subjects change, but to be honest, it’s a sort of selfish pursuit.

5. You’ve created a number of zines featuring your work. What appeals to you as a photographer about these small magazines? How do you create them?

Zines are a really nice and inexpensive way for me to share my photographs with other people, friends, magazines, curators, art directors, etc. I like self publishing because of the total freedom I have with my work. Since I shoot film the few dollars I make from them also helps pay for that. How I go about making a zine depends on what the project is, but I try to do as much of the work myself as possible. I do all of the design and layouts myself, either print them at home or a local print shop, and get into a studio wherever I can if there is any extra silkscreen or letterpress work involved.

6. You were recently involved in a group show in Toronto, what was that experience like?  Were you involved in organizing it?

I assume you’re talking about the Born Into This exhibition. I had a really great time doing that show! The people from The Cheaper Show and Scion gave me a grant to curate an exhibition with my good friend Dimitri Karakostas. We put together work by some of our favorite photographer and artist pals from Toronto as well as pieces by people with ties to the city who we really admire. It all came together pretty nicely and we opened to a full house, I think everyone was happy about how it turned out except the gallery’s landlord. We painted the walls with a pesticide sprayer.

7. On your blog(s) you often feature other zines sent to you. Can you talk about the photo zine community, or at least how you are involved in it?

I got into zines when I was in the 6th grade. I was aware of punk rock and skateboard fanzines through going to local shows, but I was really captured by the stuff I could get through the mail. I was ecstatic about graffiti when I was a kid, and even though the internet was around, at that point everything was all message board based so if you wanted to see anything really cool you’d try to hook up picure and zine trades with people in other cities. Especially living in the suburbs, they were the only way into those subcultures. Youtube didn’t exist, Banksy didn’t exist, and Nike wasn’t paying writers for logos yet. Now days everyone is connected and it seems like everyone is a “photographer” and everyone has a zine. I post zines on my blogs both to help my friends’ sell their stuff and also to share some of the things that are printed in limited runs. Thousands of people can look at a zine online even if the 50 physical copies of it have sold out.

8. You also seem to use Flickr a great deal and many of your online links lead to other photographers’ Flickr pages. Some photographers seem to dislike Flickr but you embrace it, why?

I think a lot of photographers don’t like flickr because they’re afraid someone is going to steal their work. The reality is that 98% of what is on Flickr is garbage, some of my work included, and the chances of someone being able to profit off of your tiny 72dpi image is slim. You are not a master, people probably don’t even want to look at your pictures, let alone steal them. All that said, Flickr and sites like it are a tool and there is a very large audience there if you know how to use them. I’ve been published a few times based on the fact that someone saw the pictures on my flickr account and got in touch. The pros outweigh the cons, if you ask me. People take the internet too seriously.

9. What will you be photographing next?

One of my teenage friends got a poisonous snake recently, so probably something with him. I just watched a video about those pastors in the states who handle rattlesnakes because they think that the power of god protects them, that kind of stuff is ridiculous.

10. You seem, at the very least, ambivalent about life in the suburbs. How does that show up in your work?

I think that’s a good word for it. On one hand, I’m living at my parents’ nice house in a safe neighborhood with a nice dog and we get along and that’s all great, but on the other hand I’m stuck in a town that’s designed so that nothing interesting ever happens. There’s nothing much to do if you’re young and don’t play sports and so you end up with huge groups of kids who just want to drink and deal drugs and vandalize and steal cars. I grew up hanging out around the train tracks and going to shows with skate punks, so I guess I got the best of both worlds. There’s a really fine line between youthful rebellion, suburban excess and kids on the edge of nihilism and I think that’s what I am interested in.

11. Do you think you may move from producing zines to producing larger books?

I’m definitely interested in doing books in the future. It’s something I’ve always thought about, I’m just waiting for the right project to fall into my lap at the same time as the budget to make it happen.

12. Finally the big question, where do you hope your photography will take you?

Out of my parents’ house.

You can check out more of  T. Reilly Hodgson’s work here.



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