Archive for March 2012

A World at War   3 comments

When I first started to write this blog, I decided it would be wholly dedicated to my photography and the stories behind the images. I have been tempted to deviate from this mission from time to time by  including pictures that are not my own and have resisted that temptation until now. In looking into my digital library, I came upon a series of images and newspaper clippings from a time before my own that, while not part of my personal history, is a part of my family history.

It is a story that has been told many times and to this day remains as powerful and as intimate of any I can imagine. It is the story of bravery, love, tragedy, death and hope. It is the story of my first cousin, once removed who served in the Canadian Navy in 1940.

What follows is a glimpse into his life, detailed in correspondence with his mother, my father’s Aunt, and newspaper stories of the tragedy of two ships colliding in the dark of night in the North Atlantic ocean. It is the story of the loss of the Canadian destroyer Margaree and the death of Harold F. Gray on October 22, 1940.

The tragic news of my great Aunt’s sons death arrives.

Soon after receiving the news through formal channels, the local Halifax Herald and Halifax Chronicle newspapers ran the story.

Seaside Retreat   2 comments

Lately I have been pining for the simplicity of life in retirement. It’s far too early of course to be thinking such “foolishness” as my mother would often say, but I none the less look forward to a retirement filled with adventure and many photographic endeavors. I have lived near the ocean, for a time near the mountains and now am very much land locked in the suburbs of Atlanta.

I believe to my core that when you grow up near the most magnificent of Gods naturals gifts, you are forever marked by the indelible impression they make, and continue through life to be drawn back to them. The ocean, for me, is that unquenchable lure that reels me back to a life filled with the sights and sounds of the Maritimes. While a city boy at heart, and certainly not one to lay claim to living off the sea, I deeply appreciate the cliché, “You can take the man out of the Maritimes, but you can’t take the Maritimes out of the man”.

During a recent uneventful evening in a hotel while traveling, I stumbled upon the television show “Swamp People” on the History channel. It struck me how very committed and content the alligator hunters of the Louisiana bayou were with their lifestyle and heritage. The younger generation learning from those that came before them and eager to teach those that followed.

This photograph stands as a reminder for my life goals and for a time when, the two seats will be filled with a pair of aging Maritimers, charmed by the adventures they share together, in love with each other and the land they came from.

History Revisited   Leave a comment

Historic Properties

Continuing in my B&W phase :), I decided to resurrect a couple of photographs from my trip to Halifax last year to see how well they stood the proverbial test of time as measured by their suitability to B&W conversion. This night shot of Privateers Wharf, located in the area known as Historic Properties, reflects what must seem to the sea not a very long time ago, a time where men and I suppose a woman or two, spent many an evening walking along the moonlit cobblestone in one state or another of inebriation. Not surprisingly, times have not changed, and to this day, many a fine ale has been consumed and subsequently relieved of along these streets.

Traveling along the coastline of Nova Scotia is a visual wonderment. Small fishing communities dot the landscape; colors of all vibrance and hue paint the seaside. The sweet salty air, rich with the smells of seaweed and all that the ocean treats the senses with, is abundant at every turn and adds to the charm of the real maritime experience. If I could put that in a bottle, I’d be rich selling it to all the Maritimers who long for home from afar.

I Wish I Could Remember Their Names   Leave a comment

During my teenage years, I was a regular volunteer at a home for individuals with mental disabilities. My frequent visits formed lasting and trusted friendships. I was especially struck by the warmth and sheer exuberance of each person I met and their willingness to allow me to be a small part of their lives. It was a greater gift given to me than I could have possibly given to them.

These photos are selected from a series of images I took during my many visits. I don’t know that I could have appreciated the depth of the world they each lived in, but these portraits offered me a glimpse into a life that, while troubled and riddled with health related ailments, reflected joy, pain, emptiness and despair. Perhaps some of these emotions were a reflection of my own and not my subjects.

I wish I could remember their names. They left an indelible mark on me and it wasn’t ever lost on me that I live a very blessed life. It is hard for me not to put my own sensibility on the lives they lived in their “home”. Its hard not to reflect on these portraits and pass judgement and it is certainly most difficult to imagine what that life must be like to live. What is not hard to do, is to be touched by the simple, genuinely honest humanity of everyone I met during those formative years of my life.

It’s All In The Eyes   Leave a comment

Sad Eyes

A long time ago, and I mean a long time ago, I enrolled in a photography course at an Art & Design school in the city I was living in at the time. This course was the precursor, and ultimately the inspiration, for me to pursue a more formal degree in Photography. As part of the initial course, we were assigned projects to complete that were thematic in nature and told a “cohesive, conceptually unified”  story. I came across this blog entry that reminded me of those days. I dug into my archives and found the images I am including in this post.

The self-imposed assignment was to visit a daycare, where as it happened, my older sister worked and is pictured below, to capture the many emotions and situations that transpire in the lives of little ones learning to socialize and function in a group setting.

Of course, looking at these images years later, with two grown sons of my own, I wondered once again what life must be like in the surroundings of a daycare without mom or dad to offer comfort at times of sadness or pain. I have been very fortunate in that my wife was willing, and we were able, to have her stay home to care for our boys. It is a decision neither of us have ever regretted. We made sacrifices along the way, but I firmly believe our children are the better for it.

It wasn’t me

It’s time for me to find a new assignment so that I can stretch my visual muscles once again. Perhaps in the coming weeks I’ll have a new body of work that is cohesive and conceptually unified. 🙂 Stay tuned.