Driftwood and a log cabin, or a study in black and white, or Inspiration Point; all are possible titles for this black and white toned print. The title is, as of yet undecided.
The location is Canoe Lake, slightly south of what used to be Mowat Ontario. Mowat Lodge was where Tom Thompson spent much of his time when in Algonquin Park. It was just south west of this inlet near Little Wapomeo Island that Tom Thompson’s body was found in July of 1917.
As Larry and I paddled through the area I saw so many colours, textures and angles that spoke to me of the work of “Canada’s great master” and as we approached this point I asked Larry if we could set ashore. A very short hike from where we landed to the point provided multiple opportunities for images. Of course the original capture of this image was in colour and included a little bit more of the area.
“Driftwood and a log cabin” are what I saw.
“A study in black and white” is what I got when I began processing the file. I made a couple of adjustments to the colour and the crop. The crop made the message a little clearer and helped me with the expression. Still, it wasn’t speaking the volumes of what I felt. The conversion to black and white increased the volume and then with the toning of the black and image I saw what I felt.
“Inspiration Point” is what I felt. There was peace and there was tension. There was a stillness, a quiet and a gentle breeze. It was so quiet it was noisy with water lapping the shore and the breeze rustling the leaves. Knowledge that I was so close to where the great Canadian painter Tom Thompson lived, worked and painted manufactured a tension to see things in a unique way, to witness a view that worthy of a great artist.
I am a Storyteller, an Artist, a Photographer. So often today people pick up their camera and shoot first and evaluate later. As a storyteller I want to first know what the subject is. As an artist I want to know how I can best illustrate that subject. As a photographer I want to use all of the necessary tools, but only the necessary tools in order to create a great image. Evaluate first, shoot later.
Evaluating a subject, I first ask what am I shooting and why. What about this subject peaks my interest and evokes an emotional pull?
“The negative is the equivalent of the composer’s score, and the print the performance.” – Ansel Adams
Famous words by the great Ansel Adams. Today we would substitute “negative” with the word “capture.” Many might substitute “print” for “processed file” , but I would never do that, for I believe that until it is printed it is not a finished piece of art. This image will be printed on on Optima 300 GSM paper by Breathing Colour and then varnished to protect it and bring life to all the deep tones in the image. The finished image 24 inches wide by 14.88 inches tall will be mounted to hard board ready for frame and sale.
Exercises like this force me to grow in my portrait photography. Yes, this is an image of a piece of driftwood and a log cabin, but it’s also an image of the environment that great painters like Thompson worked in. Because of these experiences moving forward I will be a better portrait photographer because I have learned to say “yes it’s a face but what is in that face that intrigues and inspires.”