I have been working with theindependent.ca on a project I wanted to do for years and years, but really had no home or platform for it. The Independent's new editor Michelle Porter (full disclosure: we've been married for over 19 years) was more than happy to let me mess around with these slideshows. The idea is not mine, of course. The New York Times and their stellar photographer Todd Heisler pioneered this in 2009 with a feature they called One in 8 million. It was a fabulous piece of good, old-fashioned storytelling that eventually won them an Emmy. As the online world "pivoted to video," I believe was the phrase, we lost sight of the power a set of 15-20 photos and three to four minutes of good audio can have. I hope you enjoy this first Indy Short and over the coming months I will introduce you to more Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.
I've recently visited Change Islands just off the coast of the main island of Newfoundland. Change Islands is a small fishing community of 250 people spread over two main islands in a small archipelago. The North and the South Island are connected across the tickle by a bridge.
I have a longstanding relationship with Change Islanders and Change Islands. For the past eight years, I have been visiting the islands as a graduate student and over the years I made friends and developed a lot of respect and admiration for the islanders. Due to the regulations governing my academic research at the time, I was not allowed to take photographs of people for the duration of my studies. I wanted to remedy that from the moment I talked to the first person on the island and the new project I am starting now will very much do so.
During my last visit to the island, I had several conversations with the islanders as well as a small community meeting to discuss the project. Everybody seems interested and eager to work with me and my partner in this endeavour - documentary radio producer Chris Brookes. This is really important, because I would like this project to be very collaborative and very much driven by the community as well as my own curiosity.
I am not sure what the end result of this is going to look like or sound like, but if I know anything about Change Islanders, I can guarantee you that it will be unlike anything you've seen before.
In order to fund this project, Chris and I are planning to sell individual radio and magazine pieces as we go along, but we are also fundraising through this website. And we are not just going to ask you for your money. What I am doing is making a special edition of small (8x10 paper) silver gelatine prints on a cotton rag paper with beautiful texture and an eggshell sheen stained with Tetley™ tea for a really lovely green tone. Why Tetley™ tea? If you have ever visited a rural home in Newfoundland, you have probably been offered a cup of tea and it's very likely that it was Tetley™. So as an homage to many cups I drunk over the year and many more I will probably have, this fundraising edition of prints will be steeped in tea. These are still hand-made silver prints, but we are pricing them at $50 each. Essentially I am not charging you for the week or so of work that it takes to make a print and, eventually, an edition of ten prints. We will use the proceeds to pay for the film, travel and accommodations. I am not sure how many different prints I am going to make over the course of the project, but certainly not more than 10. The first one is available in the store.
I am quiet pleased and happy to have two photographs from the small islands series on display (and for sale) at the beautiful Fishers' Loft in Port Rexton. If you happen to stay at Fishers' make sure to take a stroll around the conference centre and the reception area - there is a lot of lovely art work on display throughout the complex. Port Rexton is also a happening place these days and the newly opened Port Rexton Brewing Co. is getting rave reviews for their beers as well as for the fabulous tours and tastings.
Both prints are also available for purchase through the website.
Every year, the Queen Elizabeth II Library at the St. John's campus of Memorial University of Newfoundland organizes a faculty and staff show in its First Space Gallery. I participate almost every year because I think it is a nice reminder of just how little we know about our colleagues. If you are in St. John's, and especially if you work or attend Memorial University, take a look at the exhibit in the Library Commons. The artwork varies from photography to painting to drawings to sculptures.
The print above is available for purchase through the website. There are seven left out of an edition of 10.
I am officially launching a new section on this website. "How We Do Science" is a project I have been working on since August 2016. It's a work in progress and I will be adding more captions and photographs over the coming months. Rather then me going on and on about it, go check it out and let me know what you think.