A little bit early with this entry today. I may do a Day 20 ver. 2 or Day 20.5 something like that a little later.
I wanted to take this opportunity on a Sunday, which for me has always been a day about reflection, to share a little background. Many of you have only been following me since I came to Twillingate a little over two weeks ago and I felt it might be informative to do a little deep dive.
First off, I have always been an artist, or at the very least, desired to be one. Some of my earliest and happiest memories are of sitting on the basement floor, sketch pad in hand, coloring pencils and a comic book by my side. I started out in my life as an artist wanting so badly to become a comic book artist. Even today, I still like to break out a sketch pad and do a quick drawing that is more of a comic book style.
I continued through school to be focused on the arts, and ultimately ended up doing what was at the time West Vikings Diploma of Visual Arts program in Stephenville, and then continuing onto the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design where I graduated in 1993 with a Bach of Fine Arts in Studio Arts, a focus on Print Making and Painting…
I was going to grab the world by the tail and become a strong and independent artist producing respected works.
Instead I spent 10+ years in a Advertising/Fund Raising position and then another 10 years or so in Retail Management.
I enjoyed retail management believe it or not, I loved working with my staff, I loved interacting with the customers. It was a challenging job, with budgets, targets, pressures to produce the most profit with few expenses while maintaining a good customer service score, employee engagement score and a safe work environment. There are a TON of external pressures on you in retail management, but I loved it.
Then, about three years ago, it all went off the rails. I fell while away on a business trip, slipped on a wet floor getting out of the shower at a hotel in New Brunswick. I ended up breaking my back in that fall, though it was some time before that was officially diagnosed. A downward spiral of pain, anxiety, depression, financial ruin and ultimately job loss culminated in this fella being in the darkest place of his life about two years ago. Job gone, work failed to take care of me for an injury suffered on their watch and then fired me for mistakes made as a result of my mental and physical health affecting EVERYTHING I was doing. They didn’t try to take care of their employee, the embarrassed me and cut me loose with nothing.
We went into credit protection, filling a consumer proposal, and then, 6 months after my termination for a back injury they said wasn’t there, I had the first of two spinal surgeries to first repair damage from the fall and then repair damage to my spinal cord that arose from complications in the initial surgery.
Lets just say, at this point of my life, one of the lowest I could ever be, art was not on my radar.
Then, something amazing happened.
I started taking photo’s of old beaten down boats, stages and homes with my cel phone, I saw a lot of me in those places and taking photos of them helped me, a lot, in getting though the mental and physical stresses I was living with.
Here is the photo that started it all, that reignited my love affair with art.
The broken keel of this boat, the way it was split down the middle, its support eroded. It spoke to me, and I very much enjoyed the conversation.
My dear wife, she saw what photography was doing for me mentally, she saw how it was lifting me up and giving me purpose. You need to keep in mind that at this point, we were in bad shape financially, I was unemployed, she was just returning to the workforce after making the decision 16 years earlier to stay at home and raise our children. Despite that, she found a way to scrape together $250 to purchase me a used, decade old, Canon Rebel T3. Despite since upgrading the a Canon 80d, I still have that Rebel as my secondary camera and would never dream of selling it, it represents too much to me.
The first photo I took with that Camera was also of an old boat…
It’s interesting actually to look at that photo now…. It shows how far my work and style as come really, here is the same boat taken earlier this spring…
That was a long story, I didn’t even get into Covid-19 and what affect than had, mostly I didn’t talk about it because it was, and is a global event that affects us all.
The point I was trying to get to, and I’ll get to it now, is that THIS summer, THIS year, 2021, is a time of redemption and restoration for me. This is the year that I can say I am an artist and I am making a living from my craft. more importantly, my craft is bringing enrichment and enjoyment to others, I am spreading my joy of place, my passion for what’s out there, with you, dear reader.
This residency in Twillingate is a life changer for me. It gives me legitimacy, something my wife tells me I’ve had for some time, but it just gives ME the sense of being taken seriously. It’s been a long time coming, my struggles physical and mental were huge and they remain. I am morbidly obese, a result of the injury, covid and mental health issues I’m sure but something I need to address, only I can do that. I still struggle with my confidence levels, I still suffer from great, sometimes debilitating back pain from a massive buildup of scar tissue on my spinal cord.
All that I can deal with, and get through and even thrive in as long as I have my craft.
I was asked, and this is a little aside, why photography? I was trained as a printmaker/painter. I have to say, I enjoy the immediacy of photography. I also enjoy treating the captures I create as painting or prints as I navigate the editing process. The other thing I truly love about photography is the ability to see a scene in my minds eye, capture that scene, manipulate it just enough to elevate it and show people that beauty exists EVERYWHERE, even places they may pass every single day and not give a second glance. I love that a number of photographers can go to the same place and capture the same subject and no two captures are the same, I love the way it allows you to bend and mold reality to be what you see in your mind.
For me its an interesting exercise as well. I am only fully sighted in one eye, my right eye’s vision is heavily impaired as the result of a dog attack when I was 4 years old. So I have been seeing the world through a single lens for over 45 years now. I have, for 45 years, seen the world as a camera sees it.
Through one lens.
I hope this little detour from our regular programming isn’t off-putting to you. I just felt it would be a good idea to introduce not only who I am, but what molded me into being the photographer and the person I am today.
Because I know you are all here for the photos lol, here’s a couple from last nights AMAZING sunset… enjoy and I may be back a little latter with an additional daily entry!
And lastly, these moon shots aren’t “art” shots per-sea and they they are as much a function of having a good lens as anything else, but I LOVE them, there’s something satisfying about pulling detail like this out of the moon!
I do hope you are enjoying these blogs, if there is anything else you would like to see here please let me know!
Thanks for joining me on this journey!