Friday, April 8, 2011

Wrapping up 1st Year

So, I went out on my last car ride of the semester on Saturday April 2nd with another professor at the University of Windsor, Julie Sando. I had a studio visit with Julie approximately a month and a half ago when I was just getting started with this project and she had offered to take me over to Detroit once the weather got better - Saturday turned out to be that day. We left the Lebel building around 2:00pm, and as we drove to the Detroit Windsor tunnel, one of the two access points, we discussed what we would tell the border patrol about our reason for going over. They tend to interrogate, so a simple reason is usually best, like going to a bookstore, and then out for dinner, which is the answer we gave.

But instead of going to a bookstore, we immediately got on the I-75 and continued driving until we reached 11 Mile Road. Julie said that this was an important part of the interstate in her opinion because it is where Detroit city limits end and Royal Oak begins. After passing this point the houses tend to be in better shape and most of the interstate passes are steel and painted, instead of chain link fence. Since we couldn’t just pull over on the side of the interstate, we took the next exit and parked as close as we could. From here, getting to the best possible shooting location involved hoping a couple fences, and crossing the interstate at two locations. But it was totally worth the effort. It was actually quite peaceful hanging out on that little hill, listening to cars, and shooting photos.

After going back over the fences and interstate, we got back in the car and headed towards Mexican town to the Hotel Yorba, on Lafayette Boulevard. The hotel was made famous by the White Strips song, Hotel Yorba, and Julie said she hadn’t been here for a long time and wanted to show it to me. Jack White grew up in Detroit, and apparently in this part of town, explaining why he used this location in one of his songs.

From here we headed into the heart of residential Mexican town. We stopped at some beautifully painted houses, and got out for a walk. On our walk, we came across a wedding that was going on, and more importantly, a mechanic shop, which I took a pano of.

We were both pretty hungry by this point, so we went to a small restaurant where they were cooking chickens on an outdoor grill. It was so cheap, and really really good! After eating, we went for another walk around the neighborhood and stopped in at an amazing Laundromat. It smelled so good, there was great music, and plants everywhere. I felt like I was in a tropical paradise!

From here we were getting ready to leave, but first we decided to stop by Detroit’s abandoned train station, also known as Michigan Central Station and then the Imagination Station.

While in the area, we also walked to Michigan Avenue, a street I have been eyeing up every time I come to Detroit to shoot. Finally as given the opportunity to shoot a pano of it…

We were both pretty exhausted by this point, so decided to head back to Windsor but instead of taking the tunnel back, we crossed over on the Ambassador Bridge. At immigration, we stated we had been over for 5 hours, and declared our leftovers. It’s always easier getting back into Canada, then leaving.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Reminiscent Sunday

This past weekend I only had one shooting excursion scheduled. Kacie Auffret, an undergrad from the class I am assisting in, set me up with her mother, Celeste Pare. This is the first “blind date” that I have been set up on, so I felt a tad anxious. Celeste was so sweet though, my anxiety was gone within minutes of meeting her.

One of the first places she took me to was just down the street from where I live on Sandwich Street. On our way there, I was initially feeling a bit disappointed because I have ridden my bike up and down this street so many times. But then we pulled up to a building that she said used to be a Hi Ho Drive-In fast food restaurant.

“These restaurants were original fast food drive-in restaurants in Ontario. The Fortin family asked for and received permission from Walt Disney Company via a simple letter, to use the trade marked Seven Dwarfs and the Hi Ho name for their restaurants. No lawyers were involved. The Fortin’s received permission within a few weeks in early 1934.”1

Celeste was born and raised in Windsor, and worked at this particular Hi Ho as a teenager; so it was really great to listen to her reminisce about Windsor when it was in its prime. It was a beautiful day outside, but unfortunately the building was engulfed in shadow. Now that I know what this building represents, I have full intensions to bike here on my own one day to photograph it in better light.

From here, we drove to another place that I have ridden my bike past, but which I have had no reason to connect it to the auto industry. This is an area just past Sandwich Town called Brighton Beach, and it is where Celeste grew up.

“Over the last decade the area has been slowly decimated by the City of Windsor, who have been busy buying/expropriating all the homes in the area. Initially the plan was to turn the land into an industrial park, but smart money is on this area being the home of the next Windsor-Detroit Bridge.”2

We first had to ask the security guards if we could drive into the old area, which is now mostly made up of empty lots where houses once stood. He told us that it was now crown land, and they didn’t want people dumping, but Celeste explained our situation and we were cleared to shoot some photographs. I took a panoramic of the lot where her parents house once stood, and in one corner of the photograph, the Ford Nemak Essek Aluminum Plant can be made out. From here we continued on to LaSalle, where I reshoot the Canadiana & Auto Museum of Essek County, one of the locations that Mike Marcon had taken me to a few weeks earlier. I am confident that this will make a much better panoramic then on the previous date.

On our way to LaSalle, Celeste began describing here two first loves to me. First, was her horse, and second, her Mustang. After describing my own love of horses, and how I had taken lessons for a few years, she continually pointed out areas where she used to ride when she was a kid. She even invited me to go and check out a holding pen with her, a spot where she is considering keeping a horse that she is hoping to purchase in the near future. I agreed, so after taking a portrait of her car at Ojibwa Park, we went to have a look at the stable. The smell always brings me back to when I was a kid…

From here we headed back to Lebel so she could drop me off, but before she did, she gave me a few photographs of herself with a replica of the Mustang that she had once owned that she had taken at a car show in Detroit. All in all it was a fantastic two hours. This trip really made me realize that I must solicit more people who were born and raised in the Windsor/Detroit area to take me out.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Another week goes by...

This past weekend was another successful outing. But before I get into details, last Friday, March 18th I had a studio visit with Scott McLeod, the director of Prefix Photo Magazine. I have to give a big thank-you to Amanda White for giving me her slot because she thought it would be more suitable for me as a photographer. Overall, the visit went really well, and he had a really positive attitude towards my current direction that my work is moving. In fact, he even asked me to send him an image to keep on file. But with every visit comes some criticism, and his main one was to stay true to realism, or in other words, avoid as much distortion as possible due to the panoramic process. Yes, yes Bryan you were right… I have to admit it.

Later that afternoon I was scheduled to go for a motorcycle ride with Zeke Moores - one of the sculpture professors at the University, but we were both busy so decided to reschedule for Sunday morning as the weather was still suppose to be nice. So when I showed up at 10:00am, I was a little bit groggier then usual as it was a Sunday. Zeke seemed a bit apprehensive that I would be able to hold my own, and I’m pretty sure he told me about 3-4 times not to lean with the bike, and to hold on so I didn’t fall off. But fair enough, as I’ve never been on a motorcycle before.

After driving down Huron Church Rd. to get gas, I’m pretty sure to take me on a trial run to make sure I wouldn’t kill either of us, we headed towards the core of Windsor, Ford City. Our first stop was Drouillard Rd, at the International Tavern. Professor Rod Strickland recommended Zeke take me here because it is the bar that would become filled with autoworkers in overalls leaving the Ford Plant at shift change. I like the fact that you can see the Ford Power House in the background, one of the locations that Tokio had taken me the weekend before, and the mattresses in the upper windows of the building.

After taking a pano of the International Tavern, we drove to Richmond Street, once the industrial centre of Windsor, including motor vehicle and parts services. Here I shot a pano of some of the old buildings that once serviced the auto industry, but now lay in rubble after being torn down. Zeke, and his partner Lucy Howe, once had a studio near this spot on Walker Rd and Richmond Street, but it was destroyed in a fire, an occurrence that seems to happen regularly in the area.

It wasn’t a long drive from here to Central Avenue, another area of town that services the auto industry. The one building that stood out the most here was the yellow building of Central Stamping - a metal stamping manufacturer. I shot a pano of it, and the yellow building against the blue sky created great contrast. Having been out for 2 ½ hours at this point, we stopped at Taloola Café to get a coffee and warm up. It was right near here that I took a portrait of Zeke’s motorcycle next to an old abandoned building, with half of the windows broken in it, that apparently had once been an art studio. We then headed back, and although the coffee warmed me up a bit, I was still pretty chilled, and this was apparent as people in the Lebel building kept commenting on my blue lips.

I had about a ½ break before Cyndra MacDowall, one of the photography professors at the University picked me up to go out. I have to say, the heat of the sun in the car was really what I needed to warm up, although it did take about 2 hours to get all the feeling back into my hands. We immediately headed out of town on Walker Rd. Cyndra is doing a series on salt domes of Windsor, so we were initially searching for a new one she hadn’t seen before. It was located just outside of the township of McGregor by the Sutton Creek Gold & country club. Cyndra took some images of the inside of the dome, but we decided to stop here on the way back to shoot the exterior in the hopes that the light would be better. I did take a portrait of her car at this location though.

Maybe a kilometer from here, we came across ABC’s Auto Recycler Lot. This was the lot that Jim had mentioned, the guy that Natalie Sinn and myself came across at his shop ABC Auto Parts near the airport. Although he had said that if I wanted to shoot anything of his I needed his permission, I ignored this comment, and trespassed to get a pano that I am quite happy with.

From here we continued driving south, and stopped in the town of Harrow for a bite to eat and have some tea. It was getting late, so we headed back towards Windsor, but did stop at the salt dome to take some photographs. That evening, Cyndra made me dinner, in return for me helping her with some computer software. Again, good conversation were had throughout the day with both Zeke and Cyndra that otherwise would not have occurred within the confines of the Lebel building.

On a side note, a few other things that occurred later this week were a visit with some students from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. Although this was a group of metal smiths, they brought some interesting ideas about my work to my attention. One being that my work does not address the auto industry, but car culture. I’m still not sold on this idea, but something to consider. I also had a studio with professor Jennifer Willet, and her main concern was my idea of mapping. I agree with her on the fact that right now it is not resolved enough to be considered part of my body of work, and maybe it never will be. It may just be my process of gathering images when all is said and done.

Finally, there was been an article recently published about my show at the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon in Verb magazine, and written by Meagen Thomas. Although the article is written very well, they cropped my image, and I am struggling with this. Was it wrong of them to crop my image without my knowledge? Should I address this issue with the editors? Or just ignore it and let it be… hmmm

Article, and Uncropped Image:

Article, and Cropped Image:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Law of Attraction

Well, this weekend was full of the law of attraction when it came to cars. Not only did Amanda lend me her car for the entire weekend because she was taking the train to Toronto, but Tokio Webster and Sandra C, both fourth year undergrads at the U of W agreed to take me out. So that being said, I spent my entire weekend out shooting photographs.

I dropped Amanda & Lydia off at the train

station for 5:30pm on Friday Mach 11th, and immediately afterwards, I headed and grabbed my camera because of the rich blue colour of the sky. The day before, Amanda and myself had been out running errands, and she had wanted to take a picture of the Ambassador Bridge for a new piece she is working on. We found this little park with the perfect view, and while she was taking some source images, and I swung on a swing, I decided I would come back to photograph this location. The bridge is the busiest international border crossing in North America in terms of trade, so figured it would make an good addition to my panos, I just didn’t think I would be coming back the next day!

On Saturday, I was up early and Tokio picked me up from my place. As she grew up in Toronto, and only got her license within the last 5 years after moving to Windsor after coming to the conclusion that it is an impossible city to live in without a car, she decided to take me on some of the routes that she drives by regularly since getting her license. We started by heading NE through the city, and our first stop was the Ford Power House. Owned and operate by Ford Canada, it provides power to its Engine and Casting plants. After doing a loop around we found a parking spot and walked to the best spot to shoot a pano.

We didn’t drive far from here until we reached the Ford Test Track, which is a 59-acre park that is used as a major venue for local sports activities. It was the original test track facility for Ford Motor Company of Canada, but in 1979 Ford agreed to lease the track to the City of Windsor as a park. Tokio had never been to the park before, so we got out and walked around trying to find the best vantage point for me to shoot a pano. While walking around we had a good chance to talk, and I was really surprise to find out how similar our past histories have been. On the surface it’s been obvious, same age, both in long term relationships, but had it not been for this project forcing me to spend more intimate time with people, and creating conversations I normally wouldn’t have outside of the Lebel building, we never would have realized how similar certain aspects of our past have been.

After shooting a pano, we continued on, but the weather was getting ugly, and we both had other places to be. Before I even knew it, we were back near my place driving by Malden Park, which is 175-acre park, featuring the highest hill in Essex County. I had no idea that this was so close to my place, and since the hill has the perfect view of BP Canada Energy Company - pipeline contractor, I knew I would be back. I still needed to take a portrait of Tokio’s car, so we stopped by Lebel, and then she dropped me off at home.

After a quick lunch, I packed up and walked back to Lebel to meet Sandra. She is a first generation Canadian, and both of her parents immigrated to Canada at a young age from Italy. Most of her family worked for the auto industry throughout the years, so the first place she took me was to some residential areas where her family lives. One of the images I shot in these locations turned out really well, and the lack of sidewalks in the image makes it even more appealing to me. The no sidewalks in many residential areas are still a strange faucet of Windsor that I am still not used to and one that I have been pondering on how to document. She then took me to a few locations along Huron Church Rd where they are expanding the 401 highway for easier access to the Ambassador Bridge. I took a couple of panos here, one of an old gas station that has been shut down, and a row of houses that has been boarded up.

Since most of her family worked for Chrysler, and I had not seen the plant yet, she took me on a loop. This is the plant where the first minivan rolled out of the factory in 1983. They do tours here, and I must get access, if not for the photos, then for the history lesson. From here we wrapped it up, but before she dropped me off, we stopped at the riverbank for the car portrait.

I had big plans for Sunday. It was suppose to be sunny, so I was going to out and shoot all day. But when I woke up it was cloudy, and since I went out the night before, and woke up a bit hung-over, decided to postpone for a bit. After going out for brunch and getting groceries, I decided to go back to Malden Park for the afternoon. Although I have really been enjoying the social aspect of this project, while at Malden park, I remembered how much walking really helps clear my mind. I didn’t feel rushed, just meandered around, picking at things, talking to the geese, taking photos, and then just went and sat in the car for an hour afterwards thinking. As I am a person who is greedy for experiences, I would never choose one experience over the other, but I couldn’t help remembering how comfortable I feel just sitting in the driver’s seat of a car.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Last Thursday

Last Thursday, March 3rd, I headed out on another adventure. This time Michael Marcon took me out, an undergraduate in the 4th year of his BFA. An aspect of this project that is starting to emerge that I hadn’t previously thought of, is how different every outing is, not only because of where each individual takes me, but also because of each individual’s personality. While some people are more into taking the time to explore with me, others have specific spots in mind and see the process as directly from A to B – and then there are all those who exist in-between.

Mike, although not a photographer, would have what I call a “photographer brain.” When I say this, I mean a personality that blends being both an artist and a technician together. So, while having an eye for aesthetics, people like this, myself included, tend to pre-plan the majority of their lives in detail. In this regard, I would have to say that out of everyone I have gone out with so far, Mike is most similar to myself in this aspect. He knew roughly where he wanted to take me and had a timeline in which to do so. I was all right with this though, as I had things to do later that day, like clean my apartment to show potential sublets.

Since no one had taken me West of the city yet, he knew of a few places out that way, so we headed out into the county. LaSalle is the first suburb West of Windsor, and our first stop was at the Canadiana & Auto Museum of Essex County. Before photographing the premises, we went in to ask permission. The inside was full of old antique car parts and random odds and ends, and although they wouldn’t let me shoot the interior due to the possibility of thieves, they were fine with me photographing the exterior. The best angle I could find included a number of old antique cars behind a fence.

We began heading out of LaSalle, and we passed by Marty’s Full Serve Gas Bar, but the sun was hitting it at a strange angle, so I asked if we could stop here on the way back, and Mike agreed. From here we just kept heading West. We eventually turned onto Front Rd. N and just continued following this road along the riverfront. We stopped in the beautiful small community of Amherstburg, a town I would retire in if I was from the area, and then kept driving west until we hit Lake Erie. It was starting to get late into the day, so we began to head back towards Windsor. Along this entire way, I don’t even remember if we talked. It was just nice to be out for a drive.

I’ve been recently been reading Wanderlust - A History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit, and as someone who has both walked hundreds of kilometers and driven thousands more, I see the two being interrelated. As Solnit states, “walking, ideally, is a state in which the mind, the body, and the world are aligned, as though they were three characters finally in conversation together, three notes suddenly making a chord… The rhythm of walking generates a kind of rhythm of thinking, and the passage through a series of thoughts. This creates an odd consonance between internal and external passage, one that suggests that the mind is also a landscape of sorts and that walking is one way to traverse it.” Although Solnit is referencing walking in this passage, I occasionally am in this same frame of mind while on a road trip, and Thursday was one of those days.

Solnit, Rebecca. Wanderlust: a History of Walking. New York, N.Y., U.S.A.: Penguin, 2001. 5-6. Print.

It must have also been a similar day for Mike, because on our way back, just before reaching Marty’s Full Serve Gas Bar we were pulled over for going 77 in a 50 zone. Although for most of the trip in the county we barely talked and just watched the landscape pass us by, we had started up a conversation about nothing in particular, and neither of us noticed the change in speed. Unlike myself in similar situations, Mike was pretty calm about the whole thing and after being given the ticket, we continued on our way. Literally two seconds later, we reached Marty’s. I took a few panos here and also the portrait of Mike’s car.

I know it’s taken me quite a few days to get this post up, but I’ve had a few busy days since Thursday. Asides from writing an essay, I’ve been in the process of trying to sublet my apartment for the summer months. But, I have had success! There is a couple who have said they will take it, so fingers crossed that they don’t back out on me!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Another Day Out

So, I was really hoping to use reading week more to my advantage by going out on excursions and shooting some photos instead of actually reading, but unfortunately, the weather threw a wrench into my plans. On Sunday afternoon, a storm started to blow through the area, and on Monday, the city of Windsor woke up to 30 centimeters of snow. As this is not normal for the area, and it was family day, I decided it would be best to postpone shooting for the day. Driving would be terrible, none of the lots would be plowed to park in, and really, I didn’t feel like walking around because no one shovels there side walks here until a day or two after a snow fall… if ever.

But on Tuesday, Natalie Sinn, an undergrad in her final year of completing a Honours Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Visual Arts, and myself decided to venture out to see what we could find. Our first stop was out by the Windsor airport at a place called B.O.S. Auto Parts, which is an automotive recycler. The lot looked to have a lot of really interesting old car parts, so I asked the owner if I could take some photographs. I found it quite humorous when he stated “Ohhhh… you don’t want to be out there today it’s to cold to be shooting photographs!” (It was -8 -16 with the wind…) “And the snow in the yard is up to here!” (As he pointed mid thigh, an obvious exaggeration) I just chuckled to myself, and said I was from Saskatchewan, but he didn’t understand the reference, and was adamant that I come back when the snow was gone. But, I’ll take what I can get, as they usually don’t allow people in to the car yard, so when the weather gets better, I’ll be back.

A few shops down the road we stopped at ABC Auto Parts. When we first walked in, I really
liked the place. It had all kinds of old and interesting memorabilia of the area hanging all over the walls. There was even an oversized amour of a knight in one corner of the office. In the garage part there were shelves and shelves of old motors and fans and auto parts lined up on one side of the wall. The first guy I asked about taking some photographs said I would need to wait for the owner who was next door eating lunch, so we had a quick look around the outside of the building. But, I found the inside to be much more photographically interesting. We went back in, and waited and waited, and then finally, Jim, the owner showed up wiping food from his face. My first impression was not good. I explained my process, and when I was finished, he asked if we were spies. Really… spies! I think this guy has some serious paranoia issues. I told him that no, I’m a student, and here’s my business card so you can see what my work is about. He looked at it briefly, and rudely said it was too nice for him to keep, and handed it back. He then proceeded to give me one of his cards, which he stated that because they weren’t as nice as mine, he could afford to hand them out. He wrote down his name, and said “there’s only one person to talk to about getting access to my lots.” To what I replied, “you?” And he said, “Yeah, come back when the weather is better…” Honestly, I am torn. This guy was such an ass, and I’m assuming that this also had something to do with the fact that we were two women, that I’m not sure that I will go back. It’s something to keep in mind though. He did seem to warm up to the idea a little bit at the end, and he mentioned something about a large lot of old cars in McGregor that is his. I’m not quite sure where that is, but if I need to, I’ll figure it out.

After we left ABC, we stopped for lunch at The Whistling Kettle, in the township of Tecumseh. Natalie worked here years ago, and like she said, the food was amazing! Mmmmm I just had ½ a gyro and sweet potatoes fries as leftovers for lunch! We then ended up in the small town of Elmstead. I still find it strange how towns in the area seem to be connected. I still thought we were in Windsor until I looked at a map. Here, we stopped at AP Plasman, a company that specializes in painted plastic for automobile exteriors. Although we weren’t allowed access, I did get the contact information for Richard (who Natalie couldn’t stop talking about how much she loved his Liverpool accent) and he said to get in contact through email, with the possibility of doing a tour. (And if Richard is giving it, Natalie wants to come along so she can listen to him talk) Which reminds me… send that email! While in the area we stopped at Integram Windsor Seating, a company that specializes in manufacturing and assembling the front and rear seating for minivans. Unfortunately no one was in the office, but I did get a contact number to call to see if I could get access. Another reminder… make that phone call!

From here we decided to tour around the rich area of Essex County, as this was where Natalie
wanted to get the portrait of here car taken. At this point her car was splattered with slush, and she was adamant about the dirtiest part of her car being displayed in front of the nicest possible house we could find. The nicest we found were on Elmgrove Drive, and one that we stopped at is perhaps Steve Yzerman’s summer cottage. It’s important to note, that all the houses face Lake St. Clair, so we were only seeing the back of the houses, which are not as nice as the fronts.

It was starting to get to be later on in the day, and Natalie wanted to take me to the Chathem-Kent Museum, which is located approximately 80KM from Windsor. She had never been there
before, but from all of the press it gets on it’s displays of the a
uto industry, figured it would be interesting. We were both sadly disappointed. There was 1 old car, and a few horse drawn carts. I think the most interesting thing I saw in the museum was part of the jaw of a Mastodon that had been found in the area. But regardless, we got there ½ hour before closing, so I quickly set up and took a few photographs. Although in no way do I see this fitting into my final body of work, I was partly experimenting to see how they would turn out, and this way I can also show that I have been playing around with lots of subject matter, which seems to make people happy.

As the sun was setting, Natalie took off to take a few of her own photographs in a park within Chathem… and then we drove off into the sunset back to Windsor. Although no solid panoramic resulted, I feel like I got a lot of really great leads that could result in so
me amazing photographs.

I also had another studio visit today with Julie Sando, and the concept of performance came up again. How this process of getting people to take me out has a performative aspect to it. In a way, I see these formal/informal p
ortraits of other people’s cars a way of inserting a personal aspect into my work.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

First Day Out

So today (February 18th) marks the first day someone took me out in their car to shoot some photographs. Kiki Athanassiadis works for the University of Windsor as the printmaking and digital print lab technician. Sheis from Montreal, and only arrived in Windsor for the first time, likemyself, just after September. The first trip made for a most interesting adventure.
The first place she wanted to take me to was Zalev Brothers, which is a metal recycler, because she drives past it every day. But I had just been there on Tuesday when Riaz had lent me his car; I knew that I would need to get permission into the area to get the photograph I wanted. So, we took a service road to some interesting buildings that she had seen instead. It was here that I took the portrait of her car, and decided I would come back to photograph a building during a day when there was morninglight.

From here we got a little bit lost, but ended up driving over an overpass where hundreds of new cars from the Chrysler plant are stored. First, we stopped for a quick lunch at Tim Hortons. (I ate a Spitfire donut. Really… do all cities have donuts named and decorated for their junior hockey leagues!?)

It was a good time to sit and discuss my current project – we discussed mapping, a perfomative aspect, and adding audio. All valid issues that I need to give more thought to. After lunch, we drove near the edge of the overpass, and Kiki waited in the car, while I walked up the grassy side of the overpass to get an elevated view of the Chrysler Plant car yard. This may sound easy, but I had to do a bit of bush whacking to get up there, and with the fresh snow melt, it was a bit wet and muddy in places. But I made it, set up, and am hoping something good emerges once I stitch the pano together.

Our next stop wasThe Wood Mill, as Kiki is currently creating a piece of work out of wood. They had some really exotic and beautifully coloured and textured wood in stock and I couldn’t help taking a few photographs.

We decided to head back at this point, and took Riverside drive back into the heart of the city. The colour of the Fleming channel was so blue, I couldn’t help but stop and take a photograph of the Detroit skyline. Before being finished for the day, we stopped at Crawford Avenue so I could reshoot a pano I had shot on a day when the light wasn’t as good. Then headed back to Lebel, finished up a few things in my studio, and here I am.

I’m Exhausted! It’s been a long, but good week. I’m glad reading week is ahead, and I have at least two more people lined up to take me out during it. Kiki also made a suggestion that I should get everyone together at the end of this project for a dinner. Not that I could afford a dinner for all those people, but just a get together. Something to keep in mind anyways…

Friday, February 18, 2011

New Direction

I’ve really been struggling with keeping up with this blog. The last time I really kept one was with Scruffy Nomads, which was easy because it was a synopsis of world travels my partner, Bryan, and I experienced last year. I guess I’m just having a hard time comprehending why someone would want to read about the securities/insecurities that I’ve been struggling with through this Master’s program in Windsor. That being said, I think I’ve found the perfect outlet to keep me writing…

Anyhow, let’s catch you all up to where I’m currently at with the development of my artistic concept:

Even though I’ve never had a car registered to my name since I received my license on August 4th 1998, I have always had a car to use at my leisure. There was the Suzuki Swift throughout high school, registered to my Mom, the Chevy Beretta, registered to Joan (Bryan’s mother) throughout our undergrads, Betsey, the van we drove over the course of 11 months in New Zealand was registered to Bryan, Scarlet, the car we put 14,400 KM on in Australia over the course of 4 months in 2010 was also registered to Bryan, and most recently, Cherry, is currently in Saskatoon, registered under Bryan’s name.

When I came to Windsor in September, my parents graciously undertook the 3-day drive with a U-Haul of my stuff in tow. But when they left for the 3-day drive back to Saskatchewan, I was left carless – which really felt like my biggest nightmare. All I could do was dwell on the fact that I didn’t have a car, so how was I going to get out and shoot what I wanted to? So, I bought a bike, and rode around my area of town randomly taking panoramic photographs, which subsequently revolved around the theme of auto-recyclers, scrap yards, and the auto industry. But I still wasn’t satisfied. I wasn’t seeing enough of the city.

After Christmas break, I came back to a snowy Windsor, which immediately made me even angrier about the fact that I did not have a car. As Bryan can attest to, I may have on an occasion or two, cried and whined and pouted about how I didn’t have one but NEEDED one, perhaps in the off chance that he would say, “Hey, guess what! I didn’t tell you, but I have a few extra thousand lying around… Why don’t you go and buy yourself a car.” This did not happen. Instead, I was told to quit being counterproductive and constantly focusing on the negative, and instead, turn my attention to the positive. Wow… I must really be rubbing off on Bryan!

But, I agreed, and since two of my classmates in the program, Amanda White and Riaz Mehmood, had offered to either drive me around, or lend me their cars, I took up Riaz on his offer this past Tuesday, February 15th. He was busy, so Monday night let me keep the car overnight so I could head out and shoot the next day. It felt so good to be in a car, and driving myself home, that I couldn’t stop thinking about it.Then, later that night, I had an epiphany that could turn my disadvantage into an advantage.

I figured, if one person was willing to lend me their car, why wouldn’t a number of people be willing to lend me there ‘expertise’ on the auto industry? The word automobile and Windsor seem to be deeply intertwined, so through this process I will also be learning more of people’s opinions on the matter. So my question will be, “What do you think represents the auto industry? And would you be willing to drive me to this location so I can document it?” Of course, I’ll be fronting gas and food money to make it worthwhile…Additionally, I will take a portrait of each person’s vehicle and keep track of where we go through a mapping process, and through this blog. So, every time someone takes me out, I will write about our adventure here. As being on the hunt, and the thrill of seeing new places is part of what drives me to be a photographer, this seems like the best way to make my current situation work for me. The idea is still being formulated, so I don’t have much more to say about it at the time being, but I appreciate any feedback or ideas that people have… that is if anyone bothers to read my random ramblings.

Portrait of Riaz's car from February 15th 2011. Just a sample, as I would like to re-shoot with direct light, rather then side light.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The New Website is Live!

Check out the new website design at showcasing a bunch of new photo galleries, including some work still in progress. As it's still quite new, there might be a few surprise kinks to work out yet, so let me know if you notice anything... strange. If you've been to the site before, you may need to refresh the page to help clear your cache.

Hope you enjoy some of the new work - I'll keep you posted as new collections come together.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

New Exhibit: The World Is Too Much With Us

If you haven't already had a chance to see my new show up at the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon, SK, it will be up until April 3, 2011. Also, stay tuned for a fresh new website redesign at Meghan Krauss Photography!

As for the show, The World Is Too Much With Us considers the human relationship to the natural world in the face of advanced urban development and subsequent environmental impact. The body of work is comprised of six, large-scale panoramic photographs that measure 18x48 inches large. Each shot is the equivalent to approximately 70 megpixels in size, so the detail is sharp and vivid. I'm sure you'll enjoy it!