This body of work illustrates the growing disconnect between urbanites and the production of commodities that sustain them. Natural resources have driven Canadian settlement and the movement of staples to market has become a part of the Canadian psyche. And yet, for all our acknowledgment of the past and the commodities that built our country, the majority of Canadians - even those who live along the major waterways - no longer attach any present-day relevance to the merchant marine.
Traveling aboard traditional Canadian-built lake freighters, I capture the twenty-four hour workdays filled variously with harsh beauty, discomfort, boredom, and the ever changing environment. These images explore the sites of old industries along the world’s largest body of fresh water - the Great Lakes - which struggle to maintain their presence in the landscape - and the ships that connect them.
I follow the travel of three major bulk commodities that touch each of our lives on a daily basis;
Wheat the bread we eat
Iron Ore the cars we drive
Gypsum the drywall defining the rooms in which we live
The bulk carriers I have traveled upon, have been, or are soon to be decommissioned, and replaced by China-built ships. As these beautiful ships - well loved by the men and women who sail them and the “boat nerds” that follow them - disappear from the landscape, so shall a large part of Canadian contemporary shipping history.
The series continues my photographic contemplation of issues common to urban dwellers in the first world. Changing values, our disappearing history, the overwhelming desire to be surrounded by beauty, and immediate gratification. The work links together all of these themes while examining issues of place, sustainability, gentrification, transportation and the commodities that daily touch our lives.
I have lived for thirty years in the shadow of a disused malting factory located along the central waterfront in Toronto. Considered an eyesore by many, I love the interplay of light and shadow on its scarred surface. A majestic retired fortress of food it is a reminder of Toronto’s industrial heritage and the catalyst for this work.
Growing up in a family with strong political and social values I was surrounded by art and handmade objects from an early age. My father was a great influence in my early years and I can always remember having an interest in construction, and industry. We were often seen together watching the long line of trucks deliver grain to the now defunct Victory Soya Mills on the Toronto waterfront in the fall, and were known to turn furniture over in restaurants to examine its construction. I grew up touring car manufacturing plants, pulp and paper mills, match factories, greenhouses, welding companies, and furniture finishers.
A trained photographer and graphic artist, I worked for ten years with my partner in his special effects company servicing the film television and display industries before leaving the arts to work in the financial industry while raising our daughter.
I have returned to fine art photography five years ago, and am now pursuing my arts career full time. An avid racing sailor with a healthy respect for nature, I love all things nautical and am a seeker of stories, experiences, and history buff.
Click on any of the thumbnail images to launch the viewer. You can then navigate forward and backward within the portfolio by clicking the left or right side of the enlarged image. Click the add to collection checkbox to automatically add an image to your collection. Image tags or search engine keywords appear below the collections' checkbox and each word or phrase is a link to potentially more image matches.