EYE ON THE GROUND
A Camera in Reflection
Around 2006 I became fascinated with the construction in Vancouver prior to the 2010 winter olympics. Massive holes in the middle of the city and skeletal frames, brought to mind glass buildings in Yezgeny Zamyatin’s novel “We”, and the close relationship between construction and decay. The work in progress was aesthetically more interesting than the finished product (usually condos) would become.
In 2008 while documenting construction on a morning after heavy rainfall, I shot my first puddle. This sparked a series that permanently changed my perspective and approach with the camera… I continued to shoot architecture, focused on distortion, and aimed to capture familiar buildings in reflection. Soon realizing that quality was heavily dependent on weather - the freshness of the water, wind, amount of sun/cloud, and time of day all played a hand in color and clarity. While most Vancouverites dread the rain, I saw it creating new opportunities.
For the first few months I neither planned nor manipulated surroundings, to the point where trash and random debris often added to the composition and became the focal point. I carried an ethos of non-manipulation into the handling of files in post-production, by neither cropping, enhancing color, or making adjustments of any kind. Not owning a computer at the time also influenced that decision. And without any formal training in photography - excluding photoshop from the process aided my learning curve in a way that I could not afford with film.
When the rain stopped giving in the summer I began making puddles with plastic, water and food coloring. This opened the door to portable reflections and brought painterly sensibilities into the mix. These unnatural-reflections also added an element of control and made their way indoors and into studio settings.
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