Newsletter No. 39: October 2008
© Chris Harris. All rights reserved.
© Chris Harris. All rights reserved.
- Behind the Image: A Word about Composition
- Back Yard Artist: The 105 Mile Barn
- What I See & How I Photograph: Living Rock
- Fire & Ice Book Project: Cardiff Mountain – Part II
- What’s Happening at the Chris Harris Gallery
- Canadian Camera Magazine
- Writing and Publishing Workshop
The fall leaves are fluttering to the ground (I even tried catching a few yesterday), revealing an ever changing beauty. During last weekend we had Thanksgiving Day here in Canada and as always, I am thankful to be a photographer here in the Cariboo. Beauty and colour are everywhere, the images of which it gives me great satisfaction to share with you in my Newsletters.
Award-winning poet/author Harold Rhenisch and I will be giving a writing and publishing workshop in Salmon Arm this month. I hope you will join us if you can and pass on the information to friends who may be interested. Thanks.
Enjoy the Newsletter, and pass it on to interested friends. Our goal here at the Chris Harris Gallery is to share the creative process, promote the arts, and strengthen our artistic community. Thank you.
I recently read an article written in Photo Life magazine by Canada’s foremost nature photographer, Freeman Patterson. As Freeman has always been an inspiration to me, I read his article “Abstracting and Abstracts” with great interest. He talked about the building blocks of two-dimensional (e.g. photography, painting) composition or visual design – the most important ones being line and shape. At one point he mentioned that as soon as one inscribes a line (say on a piece of paper or canvas) that touches two edges, you have two shapes. That statement is so simple and yet profoundly effective. It somehow has me looking at the landscape in a refreshingly new and simplified way.
Line & Shape
This summer I was photographing volcanic landscapes for my new ‘Fire & Ice’ book project. I constantly look for lines, shapes, and textures and I am always looking for fresh perspectives from which to capture them. When I read Freeman’s article I flashed back on the above image. Here you can see a simple line touching two edges of the picture space, thus creating two beautiful shapes. Colour and texture also accentuate these two shapes of volcanic scree. What the subject matter is, of course, is irrelevant. It’s the effect that one simple line and two shapes can have on you that is important. I have always felt that a good photographic image should have you asking questions rather than receiving answers.
2. Back Yard Artist: The 105 Mile Barn
Last week, my friend Shayne Middleton paid me a visit. As well as going out on several great photo shoots, Shayne was an inspiration to me. One day while I worked in the office, Shayne went out shooting within a few hundred meters of our home. Later that day he showed me his images and I just said to myself, WOW. How many times have I thought “I must take the time to photograph close to home – an hour a day several times a week would do it”. Well, Shayne, you pushed the right button! “Back Yard Artist” is now a new column in my monthly Newsletter!
The 105 Mile Barn
So, two days later, my dog Sandy and I went down the road with my camera. The above photograph is one of the images I made that day. It’s the 105 Mile Ranch barn, a barn that I drive past every time I come home! It was built around 1905 and still remains in use by our ranching neighbour, Wendell Monical.
During this past summer, as part of my Fire & Ice book project, my partner, Rita and friend Mike Duffy and I established a base camp in the heart of the Ilgatchuz Mountains in the west Chilcotin region of British Columbia. From this base camp we day-hiked, climbed, and explored these fascinating volcanic peaks and valleys. I was thrilled to be here to photograph. Every day was an adventure as we had no idea what we were going to discover.
Living Rock I
One day as I looked into a giant crater shaped valley, I saw this amazing river of volcanic red rock flowing down from its rim. It was as if it was actively flowing (it was) toward the valley floor. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to find a way there with my camera. In the above image we see two river channels reuniting after being previously separated by a higher elevation island of rock. To capture this, as well as its river source, I used a 14mm lens in vertical format. This very wide angle lens provides a huge depth of focus, from my toes to the rim in the distance.
Living Rock II
These rivers of volcanic rock flow much like rivers of water, forming ox-bows and tributaries. Still using my 14mm lens, I switched to a horizontal format to show how the river channels were fanning out in all directions across the valley bottom. As we hiked throughout the area, we could all sense the never ending forces of the planet at work. Rita called it “living rock”.
River of Rock I
After shooting the River of Rock from the bottom, I began to hike up the crater wall toward the river’s source. Part way up, and looking at it from a river bank perspective, I began to appreciate the slope at which the river was descending. Wanting to capture the sense of gravitational pull, I made this as a panorama to show how the flow was making its way toward Pan Valley in the distance below.
River of Rock II
When the slope became too steep to continue, I made this image looking downstream. Here we can see that during spring runoff, there was in fact a considerable amount of real water flowing down this river of rock – carrying a massive load of red volcanic debris with it. The river’s bottom was at least 2 meters below the bank on which I was standing.
Roaring Volcanic River
To end this little photo essay, I made this abstraction to try and capture the sense of this volcanic river roaring by. Exploring a subject fully is an exciting and never ending process.
In Newsletter #38 I shared the story of discovering Cardiff Mountain, an Ecological Reserve that was established in 1974 to protect its outstanding volcanic basalt columns. Recently I flew over the mountain to get an aerial perspective, to see it in relationship to the surrounding countryside and how the disintegrating lava is revealing the basalt columns.
Lichen covered basalt columns
A closer look at the columns reveals the lichens and surrounding vegetation, making them some of the most beautiful examples of basalt columns in the province. There are always fascinating worlds within worlds to discover when photographing.
Christmas Season Opening Hours
November 15 to January 15
Thursday to Saturday, 12 to 5:00 p.m.
Other times: by appointment or by chance
1. New Prints on Display
We’re getting ready for the winter and holiday season here at the gallery, and it looks like it’s going to be full as usual
Exciting for us this season are our new Giclée prints on canvas. We love the effect of seeing the texture of the canvas within the image as it enhances the painterly quality of many of the prints, chosen specifically for this treatment.
2. Christmas Arts & Crafts Fairs
In addition to having a broad selection hanging in the gallery, these are also the prints we will be taking with us to the various Christmas Arts and Craft shows listed below.
Oct. 31 – Nov.2: Studio Fair in Prince George Nov. 7 – 8: South Cariboo Winter Arts and Crafts Fair in 100 Mile House Nov.15 – 16: Medieval Fair in Williams Lake Nov. 22 & 30: Quesnel Farmers Market
3. Slide Presentations
Equally exciting for us, is that we will be giving a series of ‘Spirit in the Grass’ slide presentations here at the Gallery. This will be the first time since the release of the book last fall, that we have been able to do presentations here at home.
Dec. 12 & 19: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13 & 20: 2:30 p.m. Jan. 3: 2:30 p.m.
4. Chris Czajkowski: Book Launch
Chris will be here on tour with her latest book “A Mountain Year: Nature Diary of a Wilderness Dweller”.
This work is the culmination of Chris’ years of dedication and study of the Coast Mountains alpine flora. There are few subjects more beautiful and awe-inspiring and few people who have spent the time Chris has in getting to know them.
Please call and let us know if you plan to attend. Seating is limited and we expect a full house.
At the Gallery
Nov. 5: 7:30 p.m. (250-791-6631 to reserve a seat)
5. Coming Soon
Looking ahead, we are also planning to host another book launch featuring Diana Phillips with her first book Beyond the Chilcotin: On the Home Ranch with Pan Phillips. Diana is the daughter of Pan Phillips, the early Chilcotin cattle rancher made famous in the book Grass Beyond the Mountains by Rich Hobson.
Also, Rita’s daughter Anna will be here for a poetry reading as soon as we can set a date, we hope in December; and she will have selected previously published poems available as a small book.
More about these two events in my next newsletter, so keep in touch.
The Fall 2008 issue of Canadian Camera magazine has just published an article of mine titled “Grassroots Publishing: Preserving the Vision from Lens to Audience”. This magazine is the official publication of The Canadian Association for Photographic Art. The magazine is not on the newsstands, but is available through the Association and, of course, to all members. You can find out all about CAPA on their web site. If you enjoy photography, you may wish to subscribe.
On October 25th, Harold Rhenisch and I will be collaborating to give a full day workshop on writing and self-publishing as well as a feature slide show presentation in the evening. This event will be held in Salmon Arm and is organized and sponsored by the Shuswap Association of Writers.
For full details, please see Newsletter #38.
Please join us if you can and forward this Newsletter on to anyone you feel may be interested in attending. Thank you.