'C' is for CANADA

After a bit of a delay comes 'C' in my Anthology of Photography. I've found a few Canadian photographers, some well-known and others that are new. There are pictures of wispy, puffy, stormy cloudsconcepts of photography and Instagram galleries of cats. Something for everyone hopefully.


When first thinking of the letter C, of course, I thought of CANADA. I've been living in Canada for nearly a year now with my husband and two daughters. It's been a sometimes rocky and sometimes uplifting journey. A change of place has had a significant effect on myself and my family. The lack of familiar things, places, friends and family, have created a monumental shift in my being. I had allowed my passion for photography to dwindle and fade losing confidence and momentum along the way. I had retreated, hiding behind thoughts of 'what's the point', 'I'm giving up' and 'everything I do is rubbish'.

Living in a different place has challenged me to open up, connect and see something different in the world. That photography is still massively important to me and with writing I can explore my thoughts here on this website. I have had the opportunity to see that the world of photography does exist beyond London. Beyond Europe. It's here all the way across the Atlantic and beyond. It seems obvious to point out, I know.

I google Canadian artists and find that Jeff Wall is Canadian, and so is the artist/writer Douglas Coupland, plus photographers Edward Burtynsky and Nancy Davenport. Beyond these international photographers grow a community of young photographers exploring theories of gender, indigenous culture and identity through film, video and digital technologies.

CLOUDS. I love clouds. I probably take a picture of the sky most days. Maybe it's a childhood spent in Norfolk where the flat land allows the sky to take centre stage. I remember big skies reaching from where I stood on land, out to the horizon and up to where the sun blistered the sky in summer. My iCloud storage (ha!) is full of cloud pictures. Alfred Stieglitz between 1925 and 1934, made a series of photographs of clouds entitled Equivalents. A helpful someone has listed this page where Stieglitz describes how the series came into being.

I wasn't sure about how to include CONCEPTS of photography in this post. It would be a foolish task to try to examine these in just a few lines. And then I thought I'd give it a go. You could investigate technical concepts; ideas about focus, depth of field, shutter speed, colour or black and white, film or digital, still or moving image. And then maybe you might think of ideas about landscape, the portrait, gender, ethnicity, war, the suburbs, family, urban living, perfection, social media. Truth and lies and image manipulation. Politics, birth, age and death. The medium of photography itself. Exploring ideas and theories allows photography to inhabit something else.

I came to photography through making, processing and printing my own black and white films. I made some COLOUR photographs but mostly I understood 'art photography' to be in monotone. And then I was introduced to processing and printing my own colour photographs. And then I was shown the work of William Eggleston and Stephen Shore. Suddenly my photographic world expanded. Ever since I have used colour in my photographs with occasional forays into black and white. Recently I've been collecting images for my Pinterest board of Early Colour Photography. The colours in the photographs are wonderfully soft and muted, with red tones that seem to hover above the surface of the picture plane. I find some of the pictures haunting in their age and beauty. 

I can't quite remember when I first came across CLAUDE CAHUN's photographs. I think it was when I was studying photography for the second time around. I had ideas around identity, motherhood, societal expectations. I read Freud's theories of the uncanny and the double. But when I found Cahun's work I found it fascinating. Her exploration of her 'self', her gender, her defiance when in front of the camera. She didn't create her images for exhibition. She used photography as a way to explore who she was. I come back to her work often. 

And finally where would C be without CATS. We have two cats. A mother and her son who was born in the corner of our kitchen back in the UK. The mother has forged her relationship with us entirely on her own terms while her son is the opposite. Big, soft and gentle. Cats of Instagram and Catduate School both utilise Instagram, creating wonderfully engaging galleries of cats. Every sort of cat. Long haired, short haired. Designer or moggie. All colours, shapes and sizes. What a funny thing it is to 'own' a cat.