Both Sides

The Way My Mind Works When I am With You

The photographs in this series were taken at Griffith Woods Park (Moh’kins’tsis) in May and June of 2020.

I spent many moments from mid-March through to October of 2020 exploring and learning Griffith Woods Park in Calgary Alberta.

Walking through the forest with cutters in hand, I prepare to photograph, harvesting a variety of willow trees with distinctive leaves, textures, densities, and colours. These characteristics play unique roles in the compositions I create, and I use each branch and catkin in a different way. Essentially, the pollen saturated catkins, fertilized ovules, and seeds become my palette and brushes.

Crouched next to the river, I categorize, arrange, and lay the branches along the edge of the bank. In this series, I chose to combine the branches with water since this is an unnatural environment for this section of the tree, and I was curious to see how the river would interact with the branches and what visual effects this ‘communication’ would create. Water’s reflective surface, along with its duality of ease and tension, assists in enhancing and capturing the mysterious qualities behind these natural objects. I specifically selected this section of the river, my canvas, for its deep turquoise colour.

I pride myself in constructing highly figurative and imaginative, multifaceted, single exposure images (all cropped with the camera frame), in situ and with minimal postproduction editing. I want to create the ‘most complete’ image possible that meets my creative vision in the moment, and avoid using software for extensive editing.

All my struggles sliding around in the mud, chilled by the cold water and wind, sweating from the heat of the sun, acquiescing to swarms of mosquitos: these experiences add to what I create. Finding a meditative state amidst this, one guided by colours, shapes, textures, and depth helps me capture these imaginary and otherworldly and highly ephemeral landscapes.

Because I plan and prepare for these sessions carefully, I have the freedom to explore and improvise despite the changing elements, lighting, water currents, and wind. I do not use additional lighting or a tripod as it impedes the meditative impulsiveness, which I need to fulfill my artistic vision.

The unfocused, grainy, and sometimes intensely contrasted images force the photographs to have an interesting and strong structural composition or architecture involving colour, texture, lines, shapes, tonal range, negative/positive space.