Photobook

I have created a video of a page through of my photobook for Assignment 3. I struggled a bit with this as my tripod has a centrepost and pan-tilt head so I couldn’t obtain an accurate overhead position. There is also a little too much light on the pages, I think, which would probably be eliminated if I had a decent tripod, but I think the video does suffice to show the size (10″ x 8″) and materiality of the book. For a better online experience of this book, please access the Blurb link on the Assignment 3 (rework) page.

As I mentioned in a weekly check in post, I am very happy with the quality of the book. Blurb, apparently has a tendency to print on the dark side, but I think the tonal quality of this book is spot on. The book has a hardcover imagewrap with a matte finish and the paper is Blurb’s Premium paper with a lustre finish.

Assignment 3 – Unceded Territory (rework)

I’d like to begin by acknowledging that this assignment, Unceded Territory, was made on the traditional and ancestral territories of the Secwépemc First Nations and that these territories were never ceded through treaty, war or surrender.

Although my assignment began its journey as a documentation of historical buildings in my rural environment, it morphed into something far more complex than I had initially envisioned. Looking at the relatively young historical buildings (any building in Canada that is 80+ years old is deemed historical as we build with wood in this country) in Notch Hill, Sorrento and Blind Bay  got me thinking about who was here before the first settlers came to this community. History tells us that the First Nations inhabited this region more than 10,000 years ago, but the first colonial settlers only came to this area in the 1860’s during the gold rush.

While it is relatively easy to find out details of the first colonial settlers, what do we really understand about the latent history of the First Nations people and their culture? Their history is mainly an oral one – a collective memory passed down to each generation. The language that the Secwépemc speak (Secwepemctsín) is endangered as the only mother-tongue speakers are over the age of 65 and the 2016 census statistics report a population of only 1, 290 people. The system of forcibly removing children aged 4 – 15 from their families and placing them in residential schools, prohibiting them to practise their own culture, tradition and language, in an attempt to assimilate the First Nations into Western society, did untold damage to the First Nations way of life. The residential school system ran from the 1870’s and the last school closed in 1996.

Their land was dispossessed – no official treaty was signed to purchase it, neither was it surrendered, nor was it won in any war. King George III signed a Royal Proclamation in 1763 declaring that all unceded and unsold territory would be reserved to the First Nations people. This proclamation to date was never rescinded.

I want to challenge the viewer to look at history (especially colonial history) in a new way. What has been embodied? How has local knowledge changed? What makes up the social history of The Place? By overlaying the Secwépemc figures and Secwepemctsín on Western historical buildings I hope to create a cross-cultural commentary on the complexity of history by presenting two distinct realities in parallel. I do realise that I am in no position to offer a commentary as an insider to the First Nations history and culture, in this respect I am the Other, but instead I offer this work as a token of respect and reconciliation.


Book Layout

I have created a Blurb copy of the book and that can be accessed by this link: https://www.blurb.ca/bookstore/invited/8681041/688acfce3bfe7ca73f1f6ec00a2f2b2f2f6e8781.

A video of the photobook can also be seen at: https://lyndakuitphotographydocumentary.wordpress.com/2020/05/20/photobook/.

For the purposes of the assignment, though I am also uploading the images of all the recto pages below.


Images

 

Fig. 1 The “White” Church, built 1906 on property owned by the Nels Sjodin family. Presbyterian services were provided until the early 1920s, after which the church continued as a United Church. Today it is non-denominational. It is 18 ft 6 inches wide and 26 feet 6 inches long.

Fig.2. Nils Sjodin residence, 1903 The home was built with hand-hewn logs , the corners were dove-taled and pegged with wooden dowels, a skilled Scandinavian technique.

Fig. 3. One of the three general stores in Notch Hill. Originally owned by Elton Berscht, it was sold to Fred May in 1934. May used to work for the Canadian Pacific Railway(CPR) in engine service, but was laid off due to the Depression. He ran the store until the CPR started rehiring again after WWII.

Fig. 4 Built in 1922 by WWI veteran who fought in the battle of Vimy Ridge, Harry Copeland, the Copeland General Store was sold to John Christofferson, a General Merchant in 1931. The store has since been remodelled for a residence. The main door and window locations were retained.

Fig. 5 Built in 1921 the “brown” elementary school was a one-room building with classes ranging from Grade 1 to Grade 8. The basement provided space for wood heaters, indoor fuel and space for winter class activities. The school is 28 feet wide by 30 feet long.

Fig 6. Residence of ex WWI soldier Clarence Durham who suffered the after effects of mustard gas attacks. Bought the property from Charlie Baines, one of the first settlers, in 1937. Occupation: pattern maker.

Fig. 7. Blind Bay Store and Post Office #2, the first building having been moved across the road on rollers and converted into a residence for Len Reedman and family. This building was previously a trucking garage and was converted into the new Blind Bay Store and Post Office in 1947.

Fig. 8. The Arthur & Margaret Reedman residence, built in 1935-36. Arthur Reedman bought a frame house from Mr Hilliam at Scotch Creek and floated it across the lake to use the materials for his new home.

Fig. 9. The Holy Cross Catholic Church was constructed in 1922, adjacent to the railway tracks to serve the expanding population of Notch Hill. The only way to access the church was walk adjacent to the railway tracks. The church is currently undergoing a restoration project.


Inspiration and Evaluation

My main inspiration for this project came from the work of Christos Dikeakos, Edith Roux and William Christenberry. Dikeakos is a Canadian photographer, fellow student with Jeff Wall and is interested in the identity and culture of the First Nations people. Roux’s work revolves around socio-political issues, while Christenberry has documented the American South and concentrates his work on issues of time, place and memory.

Initially I thought that I would present my set of images in B&W because I felt that the monochromatic treatment blended the collages better – the different components became more integrated. In fact it was rather difficult to see that they were collages. However, after adding the textual overlay I found myself leaning more towards a colour presentation. But after a few peer hangouts I was straddling the fence between B&W and colour again. It was only after a conversation with a fellow student that I decided to go with my gut instinct and present the images in colour. I was of the opinion that by removing the colour, it felt as if the present was being stripped away to merge with the past. And this is not what I wanted. I wanted the past and the present to stand separately in the images. While my images can probably stand alone, they are definitely stronger when viewed in the book along side the symbolic representations of the Secwepemcstin words and their cultural connotation, allowing the duality of the sign in both symbolic and iconic form to inform  the viewer.

Please note:

I know I am short one image for this assignment, but unfortunately I needed to reshoot some locations and the Canadian winter had now set in rendering a snowed-in landscape. Unfortunately the snow was still on the ground when the Covid-19 restrictions went into effect and they have not been lifted yet, so I’m still unable to reshoot for the final image. Therefore, I have decided to compile and order my Blurb book now so that I receive the book in time to provide a video of a page through of the book for assessment before the cut-off date.


ASSESSMENT CRITERIA

Demonstration of technical and visual skills: Materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills.

I have gone outside my comfort zone with this assignment, learning new Photoshop skills, and also relearning forgotten ones as I haven’t used Photoshop in any great manner since 2000. I normally use LightRoom for my post-processing work. From layering to masking to collaging and blending, I have rediscovered how much hard work is involved in digital darkroom work. As a continuation from Assignment 2, I have again experimented with B&W extensively, before deciding not to go down that route. I also tried and varied my focal distances in photographing the various historical buildings. I am quite pleased with the final result.

 

Quality of Outcome: Content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, with discernment. Conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas.

I did a tremendous amount of research, looking for suitable images of the Secwépemc First Nations people, information on their language and culture. I presented my WIPs to the following hangouts: Hangout with Fellow Student Anna; ROW – 8/12/2019; Documentary – 21/11/2019; ROW – 3/11/2019 and my comments are recorded on those blog postings. Although perhaps my ideas did not translate well verbally in the hangouts over to my fellow students, I feel I have now honed my concept in a coherent manner.

 

Demonstration of Creativity: Imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice.

This assignment has most definitely been outside my comfort zone, but I feel that I have been imaginative in narrating my story. I most assuredly have experimented in the various ways of presenting the images, as well as with the book layout. As I mention below in more detail, I am beginning to see and make connections with my past work and I think this is feeding into my personal voice (I really hope so!).

My initial plans can be seen on the following posts:

Research related to this assignment:

Context: Reflection, research (evidenced in learning logs). Critical thinking (evidenced in critical review).

As mentioned above I looked at the work of Christos Dikeakos, Edith Roux and William Christenberry, as well as tutor suggested viewing of fellow students work. Following the advice of my tutor, I have been more proactive in verbalising my thought process in my planning posts, as well as in my weekly check in posts (15 November 2019, 22 November 2019,  8 December 2019). By doing this I find I am questioning my work more, and thinking more deeply about connotations, how things work together and so on. I can now see that this questioning/talking it through process actually lets my work take its own direction and is less prescriptive. I’m actually quite excited by this process as I can see some connections being made with work in previous modules and my current work. This current assignment has almost become an extension of my Landscape A3 Spaces to Places where I am now exploring places, but showing an awareness of First Nations history and culture which underlies those places that I photographed during that assignment.

Apart from course work, I have been to the following exhibitions:

I have also done some documentary research:

I have taken part in the following hangouts:

Some other activities that have also kept me busy:

Bibliography

A Love Letter to the Shuswap | The Tyee (s.d.) At: https://thetyee.ca/Culture/2017/12/14/Love-Letter-Shuswap/ (Accessed  01/12/2019).

Akrigg, H. B. (1943) History and economic development of the Shuswap area – UBC Library Open Collections. At: https://open.library.ubc.ca/cIRcle/collections/ubctheses/831/items/1.0106826 (Accessed  07/10/2019).

Board in brief – School District No. 83 (North Okanagan-Shuswap) (s.d.) At: https://sd83.bc.ca/2018/10/17/board-in-brief/ (Accessed  21/11/2019).

Canadian Geographic (s.d.) The Road to Reconciliation | Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada. At: https://indigenouspeoplesatlasofcanada.ca/article/the-road-to-reconciliation/ (Accessed  12/12/2019).

Chapman, D. (2018) June 2018: Acknowledging an unceded territory – R.J. Haney Heritage Museum. At: https://www.salmonarmmuseum.org/blog/acknowledgement.htm (Accessed  21/11/2019).

Chidwick, A. (2014) Voices of Settlers | Stories from the South Shore of Shuswap Lake – Blind Bay. Salmon Arm: Hucul Printing Ltd.

Cloma, E. (2019) Why Do We Do Land Acknowledgements? At: https://ywcavan.org/blog/2019/01/why-do-we-do-land-acknowledgements (Accessed  12/12/2019).

Cooperman, J. (2012) Shuswap’s Own Slice of Italy. At: http://shuswappassion.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/trapperslandingnews.pdf.

First Peoples’ Heritage – Heritage BC (s.d.) At: https://heritagebc.ca/resources/first-peoples-heritage/ (Accessed  12/12/2019).

Haida Symbolism – Alvin Adkins Haida Artist (s.d.) At: http://www.alvinadkinshaidaartist.com/haida-symbolism.html (Accessed  30/11/2019).

Hergesheimer, J. (2016) Unceded territory – Megaphone. At: http://www.megaphonemagazine.com/unceded_territory (Accessed  10/12/2019).

Hummingbird Totem (s.d.) At: https://www.first-nations.info/hummingbird-totem.html (Accessed  28/11/2019).

Hunter, J. (2017) ‘Horgan’s acknowledgment of unceded Indigenous territory a milestone for B.C.’ In: Globe and Mail 22/10/2017 At: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/horgans-acknowledgment-of-bcs-unceded-territory-part-of-a-path-forward/article36686705/ (Accessed  21/11/2019).

Ignace, M. and Ignace, R. (2017) Secwépemc history prevails | BC Booklook. At: https://bcbooklook.com/2018/03/06/secwepemc-history-wins-stuart-stubbs-prize/ (Accessed  12/12/2019).

Indigenous Corporate Training Inc. (2014) Why you should avoid using “Crown Lands” in First Nation consultation. At: https://www.ictinc.ca/blog/why-you-should-avoid-using-crown-lands-in-first-nation-consultation (Accessed  21/11/2019).

Interior Salish: Enduring Languages of the Columbian Plateau (s.d.) At: http://www.interiorsalish.com/salishfontkeyboard.html (Accessed  12/12/2019).

Legends and Symbology – Lil’wat Cultural Centre (s.d.) At: https://shop.slcc.ca/legends-symbology/ (Accessed  12/12/2019).

Morrow, T. (2018) Notch Hill : Significant Statements. (1st ed.) Prince George: Papyrus Printing Ltd.

Native American Symbols | Native Art (s.d.) At: https://spiritsofthewestcoast.com/pages/native-american-symbols (Accessed  12/12/2019).

Our Land |Tk‘emlúps (s.d.) At: https://tkemlups.ca/profile/history/our-land/ (Accessed  08/12/2019).

People (2006) At: https://web.archive.org/web/20060504180231/http://collections.ic.gc.ca/secwepemc/ptable.html (Accessed  08/12/2019).

Royal BC Museum (s.d.) Residential Schools and Reconciliation – Learning Portal. At: https://learning.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/pathways/residential-schools-reconciliation/?_ga=2.115650182.1222797225.1574994116-473983191.1571801166 (Accessed  12/12/2019).

School District No. 73 (s.d.) Introduction to the Secwepemc Nation. At: http://secwepemc.sd73.bc.ca/sec_Intro/sec_introfs.html (Accessed  12/12/2019).

Secwepemctsin – Language of the Secwepemc (s.d.) At: https://tkemlups.ca/profile/history/our-language/ (Accessed  08/12/2019).

Secwepemctsin, Language of the Secwepemc (2008) At: https://web.archive.org/web/20081105231203/http://landoftheshuswap.com/msite/lang.php (Accessed  08/12/2019).

Secwepemctsín (Shuswap) (s.d.) At: http://www.languagegeek.com/salishan/secwepemctsin.html (Accessed  08/12/2019).

Shuswap language (2019) In: Wikipedia. At: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Shuswap_language&oldid=918222087 (Accessed  08/12/2019).

Statistics Canada (2016) Census in Brief: The Aboriginal languages of First Nations people, Métis and Inuit. At: https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2016/as-sa/98-200-x/2016022/98-200-x2016022-eng.cfm (Accessed  10/12/2019).

Symbols and their meaning | Silver FX (s.d.) At: https://silverfx.ca/native-symbols/ (Accessed  30/11/2019).

The Native Meaning of Mythodology and Legends • My Mondo Trading • First Nations Art Gallery (s.d.) At: https://www.mymondotrading.com/native-meanings-symbology-myths-legends (Accessed  12/12/2019).

The Splatsin Story (2015) At: http://shuswappassion.ca/history/the-splatsin-story/ (Accessed  16/11/2019).

Thompson Rivers University (s.d.) Communities – Indigenous TRU. At: https://www.tru.ca/indigenous/indigenous-education-team/resources/communities.html (Accessed  08/12/2019a).

Thompson Rivers University (s.d.) History and Culture – Indigenous TRU. At: https://www.tru.ca/indigenous/indigenous-education-team/resources/history-culture.html (Accessed  08/12/2019b).

Thompson Rivers University (s.d.) Secwépemc Communities Pronunciations. At: https://www.tru.ca/indigenous/indigenous-education-team/pronunciations.html (Accessed  12/12/2019).

WelcomeBC – BC First Nations & Indigenous People – WelcomeBC (s.d.) At: https://www.welcomebc.ca/Choose-B-C/Explore-British-Columbia/B-C-First-Nations-Indigenous-People (Accessed  10/12/2019).

Wilson, K. (s.d.) Acknowledging Traditional Territories – Pulling Together: Foundations Guide. At: https://opentextbc.ca/indigenizationfoundations/chapter/acknowledging-traditional-territories/ (Accessed  10/12/2019).

Wonders, K. (2008) First Nations – Land Rights and Environmentalism in British Columbia. At: http://www.firstnations.de/indian_land.htm (Accessed  10/12/2019).

words | Secwepemc | FirstVoices (s.d.) At: https://www.firstvoices.com/explore/FV/sections/Data/Secwepemc/Secwepemctsin/Secwepemc/learn/words/10/2 (Accessed  09/12/2019).

Illustrations

Figure 1. Item D-07823 – ‘Siwash Madonna’; a First Nations woman and child on the beach. (s.d.) At: https://search-bcarchives.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/siwash-madonna-first-nations-woman-and-child-on-beach (Accessed on 20 November 2019)

Figure 2. Family Portrait | Secwepemc History: The First 220 Years of Contact. (1899) At: http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/sgc-cms/histoires_de_chez_nous-community_stories/pm_v2.php?id=record_detail&fl=0&lg=English&ex=00000350&hs=0&rd=81614 (Accessed on 12 December 2019)

Figure 3. Male – Traditional Clothing | Secwepemc History: The First 220 Years of Contact. (1900) At: http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/sgc-cms/histoires_de_chez_nous-community_stories/pm_v2.php?id=record_detail&fl=0&lg=English&ex=00000350&hs=0&rd=81606 (Accessed on 12 December 2019)

Figure 4. A Savonna Woman | Secwepemc History: The First 220 Years of Contact. (1880) At: http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/sgc-cms/histoires_de_chez_nous-community_stories/pm_v2.php?id=record_detail&fl=0&lg=English&ex=00000350&hs=0&rd=81638 (Accessed on 12 December 2019)

Figure 5. Item E-00993 – A First Nations woman; Alaska. (s.d.) At: https://search-bcarchives.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/first-nations-woman-alaska (Accessed on 21 November 2019)

Figure 6. Item A-06132 – ‘Bob’ – a Medicine-man of Yu-ka-guse Chilliwack B.C. who claimed when a boy – 16 yrs old – to have seen Simon Fraser on his first trip down the river – 1808- at a great gathering of Indians at the mount of Harrison River | BC Archives. (1896) At: https://search-bcarchives.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/yu-ka-guse-medicine-man-known-as-bob-claimed-to-have-seen-simon-fraser-in-1808-when-bob-was-16-years-old (Accessed on 12 December 2019)

Figure 7. Adam Bennett | Secwepemc History: The First 220 Years of Contact. (1900) At: http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/sgc-cms/histoires_de_chez_nous-community_stories/pm_v2.php?id=record_detail&fl=0&lg=English&ex=00000350&hs=0&rd=81699 (Accessed on 12 December 2019)

Figure 8. Racing on the Shuswap River | Secwepemc History: The First 220 Years of Contact. (1920) At: http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/sgc-cms/histoires_de_chez_nous-community_stories/pm_v2.php?id=record_detail&fl=0&lg=English&ex=00000350&hs=0&rd=81671 (Accessed on 12 December 2019)

Figure 9. Consolidated Stationery Company. (1907) English: Original caption:  ‘The Horn Society of Alberta Indians.’  At: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Horn_Society_of_Alberta_Indians_(HS85-10-18747).jpg (Accessed on 12 December 2019)

All symbols: Legends and Symbology – Lil’wat Cultural Centre (s.d.) At: https://shop.slcc.ca/legends-symbology/ (Accessed  12/12/2019).

Tutor Feedback – Assignment 3

My tutor managed to squeeze in her feedback for Assignment 3 on 19 December, 2019, just in time for Christmas. As we did previously, she sent over some notes to which I then responded. My comments and reflections are in italics below.

Feedback on assignment

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

Below is a summary of our conversation:

Book

Layout is consistent. Use of white space and placement of comments makes it visually easy to scroll through. One image to be added after the winter snow has gone (I agree that one image in the snow will jar in the sequencing of the book).

I am pleased the book layout is good and that my research for this assignment has paid off. I really learned a lot both technically as well as factually about the various aspects of the topic. The final image will be added once the snow has melted and then I’ll present the final book form for the A6 feedback.

Coursework

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

Continues to be well recorded and annotated on blog.  The Foucault lecture looks interesting and I will follow that up.

Thank you.

Research

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

Continues to be in-depth and well referenced.  For the later part of the course, do open up your research to fiction/film/music and other sources.  From the future projects we discussed there is a wide scope of incorporating material that isn’t photographic (and needn’t be your own material).

Will do. I was very pleased to learn that I could incorporate found images into this project.

Learning Log

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

Weekly review

This is working really well for me as I find more of my ideas and thought process are being recorded.

Cumulative is a really good suggestion – that is a really good idea to feed forward to other students.

I find it quite handy to start up a post for the forth coming week and then just add to it on a daily basis. That way I don’t have to think back too far to try and remember what I’ve been doing all week. 

We discussed the difference of surrealism in art and photography. There is no reality in art – everything is fiction, whereas in photography there is more of a tangible element, more reality, where one has to fake reality.

Suggested reading/viewing

Context

Surrealist photographer – images produced in the pre-PhotoShop era – incredible darkroom skill!

Jerry Ueslmann – https://www.uelsmann.net/

I will definitely take a look at his work and do a write up.

Follow up on FSA photographers where sitters have interviewed later on – this could be compared to Steve McCurry –  Afghan Girl.

I will do that if I decide to go down the FSA route for A4. You mentioned looking at iconic FSA photographs that have come to stand as signifiers for the Depression and find a modern day correlation to that (McCurry).

We also discussed:

Assignment 4

Proposal is wide reaching with any of the sub topics possible.  Think about a case study to confine focus to help with word count.  Depth is better on a small topic rather than a wide ranging vague piece of work.

Your idea of incorporating one or two case studies into the essay to help keep it on track and to the point is very helpful. A clearly defined title will help hone the essay too. We also chatted about Don McCullin’s work and compassion fatigue. You also mentioned finding how ethics is reflected in other forms of art and I mentioned a book I had come across online which I found extremely interesting: Computers, Surveillance, and Privacy edited by David Lyon, Elia Zureik, which referenced surveillance themes in popular culture (https://books.google.ca/books?hl=en&lr=&id=InizrnZlrY8C&oi=fnd&pg=PA193&dq=surveillance+culture+AND+photography&ots=f2atl6gdnt&sig=pfDrkgCnsBmNJ9dn39xRWAfouhE#v=onepage&q=surveillance%20culture%20AND%20photography&f=false ).

Assignment 5

Again interesting ideas proposed – you have time to start thinking ahead to plan this work and think about incorporating other material (maybe from archive?).

Yes, thank you for mentioning that I could use some archival material. I think that will definitely add depth to the project. As I mentioned on the hangout, a level 3 student had recommended Jack Latham’s work (Sugar Paper Theories and Parliament of Owls) to the students in the Documentary hangout and his methodology would fit well with what I’m hoping to plan, so I’ll do a write up on that too.

Pointers for the next assignment / assessment

Please inform me of how you would like your feedback for the next assignment: written or video/audio. 

Video please

Strengths Areas for development
Clear blog structure – links work extremely well to navigate around. Finish book – we can discuss this again around assignment 6
Research clearly documented and reflected on Open out to more fiction/film etc sources?
Weekly check in helpful to maintain focus on work  Continue to do this

 

Assignment 3 – Unceded Territory

I’d like to begin by acknowledging that this assignment, Unceded Territory, was made on the traditional and ancestral territories of the Secwépemc First Nations and that these territories were never ceded through treaty, war or surrender.

Although my assignment began its journey as a documentation of historical buildings in my rural environment, it morphed into something far more complex than I had initially envisioned. Looking at the relatively young historical buildings (any building in Canada that is 80+ years old is deemed historical as we build with wood in this country) in Notch Hill, Sorrento and Blind Bay  got me thinking about who was here before the first settlers came to this community. History tells us that the First Nations inhabited this region more than 10,000 years ago, but the first colonial settlers only came to this area in the 1860’s during the gold rush.

While it is relatively easy to find out details of the first colonial settlers, what do we really understand about the latent history of the First Nations people and their culture? Their history is mainly an oral one – a collective memory passed down to each generation. The language that the Secwépemc speak (Secwepemctsín) is endangered as the only mother-tongue speakers are over the age of 65 and the 2016 census statistics report a population of only 1, 290 people. The system of forcibly removing children aged 4 – 15 from their families and placing them in residential schools, prohibiting them to practise their own culture, tradition and language, in an attempt to assimilate the First Nations into Western society, did untold damage to the First Nations way of life. The residential school system ran from the 1870’s and the last school closed in 1996.

Their land was dispossessed – no official treaty was signed to purchase it, neither was it surrendered, nor was it won in any war. King George III signed a Royal Proclamation in 1763 declaring that all unceded and unsold territory would be reserved to the First Nations people. This proclamation to date was never rescinded.

I want to challenge the viewer to look at history (especially colonial history) in a new way. What has been embodied? How has local knowledge changed? What makes up the social history of The Place? By overlaying the Secwépemc figures and Secwepemctsín on Western historical buildings I hope to create a cross-cultural commentary on the complexity of history by presenting two distinct realities in parallel. I do realise that I am in no position to offer a commentary as an insider to the First Nations history and culture, in this respect I am the Other, but instead I offer this work as a token of respect and reconciliation.


Book Layout

This is a draft layout for my book. The assignment is best viewed in book format, as the verso page informs the recto page. Once I’ve had feedback from my tutor I will make any recommended changes and create a Blurb copy. The first PDF contains the front and back cover, while the second PDF contains the body of the book. The second PDF should be viewed in Adobe Acrobat by going to View -> Page Display -> Two-Up Continuous. The pages will then display as a two page spread.

For the purposes of the assignment, though I am also uploading the images of all the recto pages below.

UPDATE 9 MAY, 2020: I have created a Blurb copy of the book and that can be accessed by this link: https://www.blurb.ca/bookstore/invited/8681041/688acfce3bfe7ca73f1f6ec00a2f2b2f2f6e8781.


Images

Fig. 1 The “White” Church, built 1906 on property owned by the Nels Sjodin family. Presbyterian services were provided until the early 1920s, after which the church continued as a United Church. Today it is non-denominational. It is 18 ft 6 inches wide and 26 feet 6 inches long.

Fig.2. Nils Sjodin residence, 1903 The home was built with hand-hewn logs , the corners were dove-taled and pegged with wooden dowels, a skilled Scandinavian technique.

Fig. 3. One of the three general stores in Notch Hill. Originally owned by Elton Berscht, it was sold to Fred May in 1934. May used to work for the Canadian Pacific Railway(CPR) in engine service, but was laid off due to the Depression. He ran the store until the CPR started rehiring again after WWII.

Fig. 4 Built in 1922 by WWI veteran who fought in the battle of Vimy Ridge, Harry Copeland, the Copeland General Store was sold to John Christofferson, a General Merchant in 1931. The store has since been remodelled for a residence. The main door and window locations were retained.

Fig. 5 Built in 1921 the “brown” elementary school was a one-room building with classes ranging from Grade 1 to Grade 8. The basement provided space for wood heaters, indoor fuel and space for winter class activities. The school is 28 feet wide by 30 feet long.

Fig 6. Residence of ex WWI soldier Clarence Durham who suffered the after effects of mustard gas attacks. Bought the property from Charlie Baines, one of the first settlers, in 1937. Occupation: pattern maker.

Fig. 7. Blind Bay Store and Post Office #2, the first building having been moved across the road on rollers and converted into a residence for Len Reedman and family. This building was previously a trucking garage and was converted into the new Blind Bay Store and Post Office in 1947.

Fig. 8. The Arthur & Margaret Reedman residence, built in 1935-36. Arthur Reedman bought a frame house from Mr Hilliam at Scotch Creek and floated it across the lake to use the materials for his new home.

Fig. 9. The Holy Cross Catholic Church was constructed in 1922, adjacent to the railway tracks to serve the expanding population of Notch Hill. The only way to access the church was walk adjacent to the railway tracks. The church is currently undergoing a restoration project.


Inspiration and Evaluation

My main inspiration for this project came from the work of Christos Dikeakos, Edith Roux and William Christenberry. Dikeakos is a Canadian photographer, fellow student with Jeff Wall and is interested in the identity and culture of the First Nations people. Roux’s work revolves around socio-political issues, while Christenberry has documented the American South and concentrates his work on issues of time, place and memory.

Initially I thought that I would present my set of images in B&W because I felt that the monochromatic treatment blended the collages better – the different components became more integrated. In fact it was rather difficult to see that they were collages. However, after adding the textual overlay I found myself leaning more towards a colour presentation. But after a few peer hangouts I was straddling the fence between B&W and colour again. It was only after a conversation with a fellow student that I decided to go with my gut instinct and present the images in colour. I was of the opinion that by removing the colour, it felt as if the present was being stripped away to merge with the past. And this is not what I wanted. I wanted the past and the present to stand separately in the images. While my images can probably stand alone, they are definitely stronger when viewed in the book along side the symbolic representations of the Secwepemcstin words and their cultural connotation, allowing the duality of the sign in both symbolic and iconic form to inform  the viewer.

Please note:

I know I am short one image for this assignment, but unfortunately I needed to reshoot some locations and the Canadian winter has now set in rendering a snowed-in landscape. As soon as the weather conditions are favourable (i.e. when the snow melts, I’ll go and reshoot and add the last image in and then create the Blurb book.


ASSESSMENT CRITERIA

Demonstration of technical and visual skills: Materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills.

I have gone outside my comfort zone with this assignment, learning new Photoshop skills, and also relearning forgotten ones as I haven’t used Photoshop in any great manner since 2000. I normally use LightRoom for my post-processing work. From layering to masking to collaging and blending, I have rediscovered how much hard work is involved in digital darkroom work. As a continuation from Assignment 2, I have again experimented with B&W extensively, before deciding not to go down that route. I also tried and varied my focal distances in photographing the various historical buildings. I am quite pleased with the final result.

 

Quality of Outcome: Content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, with discernment. Conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas.

I did a tremendous amount of research, looking for suitable images of the Secwépemc First Nations people, information on their language and culture. I presented my WIPs to the following hangouts: Hangout with Fellow Student Anna; ROW – 8/12/2019; Documentary – 21/11/2019; ROW – 3/11/2019 and my comments are recorded on those blog postings. Although perhaps my ideas did not translate well verbally in the hangouts over to my fellow students, I feel I have now honed my concept in a coherent manner.

 

Demonstration of Creativity: Imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice.

This assignment has most definitely been outside my comfort zone, but I feel that I have been imaginative in narrating my story. I most assuredly have experimented in the various ways of presenting the images, as well as with the book layout. As I mention below in more detail, I am beginning to see and make connections with my past work and I think this is feeding into my personal voice (I really hope so!).

My initial plans can be seen on the the following posts:

Research related to this assignment:

Context: Reflection, research (evidenced in learning logs). Critical thinking (evidenced in critical review).

As mentioned above I looked at the work work of Christos Dikeakos, Edith Roux and William Christenberry, as well as tutor suggested viewing of fellow students work. Following the advice of my tutor, I have been more proactive in verbalising my thought process in my planning posts, as well as in my weekly check in posts (15 November 2019, 22 November 2019,  8 December 2019). By doing this I find I am questioning my work more, and thinking more deeply about connotations, how things work together and so on. I can now see that this questioning/talking it through process actually lets my work take its own direction and is less prescriptive. I’m actually quite excited by this process as I can see some connections being made with work in previous modules and my current work. This current assignment has almost become an extension of my Landscape A3 Spaces to Places where I am now exploring places, but showing an awareness of First Nations history and culture which underlies those places that I photographed during that assignment.

Apart from course work, I have been to the following exhibitions:

I have also done some documentary research:

I have taken part in the following hangouts:

Some other activities that have also kept me busy:

Bibliography

A Love Letter to the Shuswap | The Tyee (s.d.) At: https://thetyee.ca/Culture/2017/12/14/Love-Letter-Shuswap/ (Accessed  01/12/2019).

Akrigg, H. B. (1943) History and economic development of the Shuswap area – UBC Library Open Collections. At: https://open.library.ubc.ca/cIRcle/collections/ubctheses/831/items/1.0106826 (Accessed  07/10/2019).

Board in brief – School District No. 83 (North Okanagan-Shuswap) (s.d.) At: https://sd83.bc.ca/2018/10/17/board-in-brief/ (Accessed  21/11/2019).

Canadian Geographic (s.d.) The Road to Reconciliation | Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada. At: https://indigenouspeoplesatlasofcanada.ca/article/the-road-to-reconciliation/ (Accessed  12/12/2019).

Chapman, D. (2018) June 2018: Acknowledging an unceded territory – R.J. Haney Heritage Museum. At: https://www.salmonarmmuseum.org/blog/acknowledgement.htm (Accessed  21/11/2019).

Chidwick, A. (2014) Voices of Settlers | Stories from the South Shore of Shuswap Lake – Blind Bay. Salmon Arm: Hucul Printing Ltd.

Cloma, E. (2019) Why Do We Do Land Acknowledgements? At: https://ywcavan.org/blog/2019/01/why-do-we-do-land-acknowledgements (Accessed  12/12/2019).

Cooperman, J. (2012) Shuswap’s Own Slice of Italy. At: http://shuswappassion.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/trapperslandingnews.pdf.

First Peoples’ Heritage – Heritage BC (s.d.) At: https://heritagebc.ca/resources/first-peoples-heritage/ (Accessed  12/12/2019).

Haida Symbolism – Alvin Adkins Haida Artist (s.d.) At: http://www.alvinadkinshaidaartist.com/haida-symbolism.html (Accessed  30/11/2019).

Hergesheimer, J. (2016) Unceded territory – Megaphone. At: http://www.megaphonemagazine.com/unceded_territory (Accessed  10/12/2019).

Hummingbird Totem (s.d.) At: https://www.first-nations.info/hummingbird-totem.html (Accessed  28/11/2019).

Hunter, J. (2017) ‘Horgan’s acknowledgment of unceded Indigenous territory a milestone for B.C.’ In: Globe and Mail 22/10/2017 At: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/horgans-acknowledgment-of-bcs-unceded-territory-part-of-a-path-forward/article36686705/ (Accessed  21/11/2019).

Ignace, M. and Ignace, R. (2017) Secwépemc history prevails | BC Booklook. At: https://bcbooklook.com/2018/03/06/secwepemc-history-wins-stuart-stubbs-prize/ (Accessed  12/12/2019).

Indigenous Corporate Training Inc. (2014) Why you should avoid using “Crown Lands” in First Nation consultation. At: https://www.ictinc.ca/blog/why-you-should-avoid-using-crown-lands-in-first-nation-consultation (Accessed  21/11/2019).

Interior Salish: Enduring Languages of the Columbian Plateau (s.d.) At: http://www.interiorsalish.com/salishfontkeyboard.html (Accessed  12/12/2019).

Legends and Symbology – Lil’wat Cultural Centre (s.d.) At: https://shop.slcc.ca/legends-symbology/ (Accessed  12/12/2019).

Morrow, T. (2018) Notch Hill : Significant Statements. (1st ed.) Prince George: Papyrus Printing Ltd.

Native American Symbols | Native Art (s.d.) At: https://spiritsofthewestcoast.com/pages/native-american-symbols (Accessed  12/12/2019).

Our Land |Tk‘emlúps (s.d.) At: https://tkemlups.ca/profile/history/our-land/ (Accessed  08/12/2019).

People (2006) At: https://web.archive.org/web/20060504180231/http://collections.ic.gc.ca/secwepemc/ptable.html (Accessed  08/12/2019).

Royal BC Museum (s.d.) Residential Schools and Reconciliation – Learning Portal. At: https://learning.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/pathways/residential-schools-reconciliation/?_ga=2.115650182.1222797225.1574994116-473983191.1571801166 (Accessed  12/12/2019).

School District No. 73 (s.d.) Introduction to the Secwepemc Nation. At: http://secwepemc.sd73.bc.ca/sec_Intro/sec_introfs.html (Accessed  12/12/2019).

Secwepemctsin – Language of the Secwepemc (s.d.) At: https://tkemlups.ca/profile/history/our-language/ (Accessed  08/12/2019).

Secwepemctsin, Language of the Secwepemc (2008) At: https://web.archive.org/web/20081105231203/http://landoftheshuswap.com/msite/lang.php (Accessed  08/12/2019).

Secwepemctsín (Shuswap) (s.d.) At: http://www.languagegeek.com/salishan/secwepemctsin.html (Accessed  08/12/2019).

Shuswap language (2019) In: Wikipedia. At: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Shuswap_language&oldid=918222087 (Accessed  08/12/2019).

Statistics Canada (2016) Census in Brief: The Aboriginal languages of First Nations people, Métis and Inuit. At: https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2016/as-sa/98-200-x/2016022/98-200-x2016022-eng.cfm (Accessed  10/12/2019).

Symbols and their meaning | Silver FX (s.d.) At: https://silverfx.ca/native-symbols/ (Accessed  30/11/2019).

The Native Meaning of Mythodology and Legends • My Mondo Trading • First Nations Art Gallery (s.d.) At: https://www.mymondotrading.com/native-meanings-symbology-myths-legends (Accessed  12/12/2019).

The Splatsin Story (2015) At: http://shuswappassion.ca/history/the-splatsin-story/ (Accessed  16/11/2019).

Thompson Rivers University (s.d.) Communities – Indigenous TRU. At: https://www.tru.ca/indigenous/indigenous-education-team/resources/communities.html (Accessed  08/12/2019a).

Thompson Rivers University (s.d.) History and Culture – Indigenous TRU. At: https://www.tru.ca/indigenous/indigenous-education-team/resources/history-culture.html (Accessed  08/12/2019b).

Thompson Rivers University (s.d.) Secwépemc Communities Pronunciations. At: https://www.tru.ca/indigenous/indigenous-education-team/pronunciations.html (Accessed  12/12/2019).

WelcomeBC – BC First Nations & Indigenous People – WelcomeBC (s.d.) At: https://www.welcomebc.ca/Choose-B-C/Explore-British-Columbia/B-C-First-Nations-Indigenous-People (Accessed  10/12/2019).

Wilson, K. (s.d.) Acknowledging Traditional Territories – Pulling Together: Foundations Guide. At: https://opentextbc.ca/indigenizationfoundations/chapter/acknowledging-traditional-territories/ (Accessed  10/12/2019).

Wonders, K. (2008) First Nations – Land Rights and Environmentalism in British Columbia. At: http://www.firstnations.de/indian_land.htm (Accessed  10/12/2019).

words | Secwepemc | FirstVoices (s.d.) At: https://www.firstvoices.com/explore/FV/sections/Data/Secwepemc/Secwepemctsin/Secwepemc/learn/words/10/2 (Accessed  09/12/2019).

Illustrations

Figure 1. Item D-07823 – ‘Siwash Madonna’; a First Nations woman and child on the beach. (s.d.) At: https://search-bcarchives.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/siwash-madonna-first-nations-woman-and-child-on-beach (Accessed on 20 November 2019)

Figure 2. Family Portrait | Secwepemc History: The First 220 Years of Contact. (1899) At: http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/sgc-cms/histoires_de_chez_nous-community_stories/pm_v2.php?id=record_detail&fl=0&lg=English&ex=00000350&hs=0&rd=81614 (Accessed on 12 December 2019)

Figure 3. Male – Traditional Clothing | Secwepemc History: The First 220 Years of Contact. (1900) At: http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/sgc-cms/histoires_de_chez_nous-community_stories/pm_v2.php?id=record_detail&fl=0&lg=English&ex=00000350&hs=0&rd=81606 (Accessed on 12 December 2019)

Figure 4. A Savonna Woman | Secwepemc History: The First 220 Years of Contact. (1880) At: http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/sgc-cms/histoires_de_chez_nous-community_stories/pm_v2.php?id=record_detail&fl=0&lg=English&ex=00000350&hs=0&rd=81638 (Accessed on 12 December 2019)

Figure 5. Item E-00993 – A First Nations woman; Alaska. (s.d.) At: https://search-bcarchives.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/first-nations-woman-alaska (Accessed on 21 November 2019)

Figure 6. Item A-06132 – ‘Bob’ – a Medicine-man of Yu-ka-guse Chilliwack B.C. who claimed when a boy – 16 yrs old – to have seen Simon Fraser on his first trip down the river – 1808- at a great gathering of Indians at the mount of Harrison River | BC Archives. (1896) At: https://search-bcarchives.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/yu-ka-guse-medicine-man-known-as-bob-claimed-to-have-seen-simon-fraser-in-1808-when-bob-was-16-years-old (Accessed on 12 December 2019)

Figure 7. Adam Bennett | Secwepemc History: The First 220 Years of Contact. (1900) At: http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/sgc-cms/histoires_de_chez_nous-community_stories/pm_v2.php?id=record_detail&fl=0&lg=English&ex=00000350&hs=0&rd=81699 (Accessed on 12 December 2019)

Figure 8. Racing on the Shuswap River | Secwepemc History: The First 220 Years of Contact. (1920) At: http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/sgc-cms/histoires_de_chez_nous-community_stories/pm_v2.php?id=record_detail&fl=0&lg=English&ex=00000350&hs=0&rd=81671 (Accessed on 12 December 2019)

Figure 9. Consolidated Stationery Company. (1907) English: Original caption:  ‘The Horn Society of Alberta Indians.’  At: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Horn_Society_of_Alberta_Indians_(HS85-10-18747).jpg (Accessed on 12 December 2019)

All symbols: Legends and Symbology – Lil’wat Cultural Centre (s.d.) At: https://shop.slcc.ca/legends-symbology/ (Accessed  12/12/2019).

Secwepemctsín Research

Secwepemctsín is the language of the Secwépemc (Shuswap) First Nations.

  • Endangered language
  • Spoken in Central and Southern Interior of British Columbia between the Fraser River and the Rocky Mountains
  • Only about 200 speak the languages as mother tongue (mostly over the age of 65); with about 1, 190 that are classified as ‘semi-speakers’ (mainly students and those under 19 years of age)
  • Most northern Interior Salish language
  • Two dialects:
    • Eastern: Kinbasket (Kenpesq’t) and Shuswap Lake (Qw7ewt/Quaaout) (This is the dialect spoken in my area)
    • Western: Canim Lake (Tsq’escen), Chu Chua (Simpcw), Deadman’s Creek (Skitsestn/Skeetchestn)–Kamloops (Tk’emlups), Fraser River (Splatsin, Esk’et), and Pavilion (Tsk’weylecw)–Bonaparte (St’uxtews)
  • Language has many consonants from the Roman alphabet (43 consonants and 5 vowels)

  • All knowledge and aspects of the language are vitally linked to the land and this is passed down orally to future generations
    ‘For example, the Secwepemc receive messages from the animals and birds who tell them when it is time to harvest and gather certain foods and medicines. The cricket will tell the Secwepemc when it is time to catch the salmon’ (Secwepemctsin, Language of the Secwepemc, 2008).
  • The present writing system was developed by Kuipers in roughly 1979. Prior to that the language was an oral one.
  • As a result of colonialism, and forced assimilation the language has become endangdered.
Bibliography

Secwepemctsin, Language of the Secwepemc (2008) At: https://web.archive.org/web/20081105231203/http://landoftheshuswap.com/msite/lang.php (Accessed  08/12/2019).

Shuswap language (2019) In: Wikipedia. At: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Shuswap_language&oldid=918222087 (Accessed  08/12/2019).

words | Halq’eméylem | FirstVoices (s.d.) At: https://www.firstvoices.com/explore/FV/sections/Data/Salish/Halkomelem/Halq’em%C3%A9ylem/learn/words/10/1 (Accessed  09/12/2019).

words | Secwepemc | FirstVoices (s.d.) At: https://www.firstvoices.com/explore/FV/sections/Data/Secwepemc/Secwepemctsin/Secwepemc/learn/words/10/2 (Accessed  09/12/2019).

Hangout with Fellow Student Anna

Anna and I have just had a really good hangout this morning. We connected to discuss my A3 and I really appreciate the time she has given out of her busy schedule to talk about my work. She had a lot of questions about my work and some of them have served to clarify some points that were a little nebulous for me at the moment. Most important was the question was what/how did I want the First Nations components to appear – as part of the landscape or as ghosts that stood apart from the landscape. I mentioned that I felt that by removing the colour it felt as if the present was being stripped away to merge with the past. I am more after a sense of wanting to create a discontinuity, an awareness that something is “off” in the image and have the viewer interrogate the work. I think the B&W versions removes this aspect, creating more a straight documentary approach. It was great to talk through these aspects in some length with Anna. She has an innate sense of understanding that I really appreciate.

She also confirmed that the text is essential to adding that extra layer of culture that is so latent. The book presentation, as rough as it was, tied all the elements together very coherently and the facing pages, she felt created the final connections between all the elements.

Anna mentioned the work of Lauri Novak to me, but the only image that I can see of her work that relates to my work is the one on this page: https://lauri-novak.pixels.com/featured/bastogne-perspective-lauri-novak.html. It is similar to the cover image of Stephen Shore’s book The Nature of Photographs in that someone is holding an old image (in this case an old war photo taken in the same location) in front of a modern scene of the same location. This is a fairly well used trope which always creates some interest, but unfortunately the images that I have used for collages in my project were not really identifiable regards the place. I was just lucky enough to find images that were in the correct territorial area. Working within the scanty resources I had available to me, I really wanted to stay as authentic to the Secwépemc territory as far as I could.

We also discussed the options I was considering regarding the book layout – with possibly using an index of the symbols and their meanings at the back in order to stimulate viewer interaction, or to keep the symbols and meanings on the facing page, with or without the folklore legend. My problem with the folklore legends is that I might not be able to find narratives for each specific symbol. I’m also thinking that the addition of the stories might cause an information overload situation and create an extra tangent into an unknown trajectory on the viewer’s part. While I definitely don’t want to control the viewer’s responses or questions, I also don’t want to befuddle them totally. On the other hand it does emphasis the documentary/fiction overlay.

Anna, once again, thank you so much for this hangout! You’re a rock star!!

David Campbell – Narrative, Power & Responsibility

In preparation for A3 we are asked to listen to David Campbell’s lecture on Narrative, Power & Responsibility. Campbell begins his lecture by referencing Tod Papageorge who is a well known academic who claims amongst others Gregory Crewdson as one of his pupils. I have read some of Papageorge’s work and have found his writings on the whole easy to understand. Countering Robert Capa’s famous phrase If your pictures aren’t good enough, then you aren’t close enough, Papageorge offers another alternative: If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t reading enough. Campbell explains that reading is necessary to understand the issues and provides context before a photograph is made. It is essential for this to happen prior to any clicking of the shutter button as this directs the attention to the idea of the narrative.

The workflow is as follows:

Reading = research/developing & understand -> locating particular moments and places in relationship to other moments & places -> larger stories.

Expanding on the topic of the Narrative, Campbell provides a quote by Alan Feldman (Formations of Violence) “The event is not what happens, the event is that being narrated”. [This is at the heart of narration]. This was a bit of an eye opener for me. I think I’ve always regarded an event as something that happens, like a festival, protest march and so on. Campbell explains that we don’t encounter events in the world in isolation. Something becomes an event through the narration. Using the French Revolution as an example Campbell demonstrated that the French people did not understand that they were in “The French Revolution”, that idea emerged later when history was narrated years later. Narration occurs via participants, or observers or a combination of the two. The relationship between the story and event/place/person is not automatic, its the photographer’s job to make it.

Certain genres offer limitations in how a story can be told. The process of constructing the narrative is determining a set of events which might have been included but were left out. No narrative can include everything. One has to understand where the limitations are, understand what has been included, and what has been excluded. Reflection on the process of construction and narration is an important part of the story.

The idea of power in a narrative is imaginary. The value lies in the idea that the events are real, that there is a fullness: beginning, middle and end. There are traditional forms of the narrative and the example that Campbell provides is not to be taken as a template because the narrative will vary according to the story/genre that is told.

  • Time -> usually linear (but not always). No matter what the narrative there is always a sense of temporality.
  • Characters. The story may have an arc.
  • Account of connected events
  • Space
  • Drama
  • Causality. Accounts how they came about/reasons.
  • Personification = the identification of the people involved.

All of this has to connect to context. Crucial is the relationship between individuals and context. Not every story will necessarily have a resolution.

In determining the story/project, one has to have a sense of the story one wants to tell before embarking on the actual shooting process. The story will most likely change based on the reading/research that takes place. Questions to be answered:

  • What is the issue?
  • What will be the events/moments?
  • Who are the characters in the story?
  • What is the context? Will only know this if you have done research.

 

Bibliography

David Campbell – Narrative, Power and Responsibility | Free Listening on SoundCloud (s.d.) Directed by Johnston, M. At: https://soundcloud.com/mattjohnston/david-campbell (Accessed  08/12/2019).

Tying up some loose ends

I’m just tying up some loose experimental ends that were suggested to me during the Documentary hangout. Bob had suggested superimposing the group of First Nations over the little church and although I felt rather skeptical of this idea, I was willing to try it out. I tried it out on both versions of photos that I have of the church – middle distance and far distance.

I’ll be honest – I don’t like it at all. I’ve used a 61% opacity on the First Nations group, any less and they just fade away making it not really worth the effort of putting them in the frame, any darker and they obliterate the church completely. Maybe this was what Bob had in mind, I’m not sure. I feel by moving the overlay over the building, especially with a large group like this, detracts from the actual building which is also part of the subject, not just the First Nations latency. It just feels messy to me. Well, that’s one less thing to consider at least.

Thoughts & More Experiments – 30 November 2019

I think my perceptions about constructed documentary are slowly changing. I realise that my A3 involves a degree of construction, but nothing to the extent of the Essop brothers. I feel that although I am constructing my images, there is an underlying element of truth in all the components making up the images – call it a “layered realism” if you like. I have used my own photographs documenting the historical buildings and other found documentary photographs of the First Nations. Two questions that popped out at me while I was doing background reading for the Seeing is Believing exercise have given me some reason to pause: “what matters in a document – the intention that originated it or the effect it elicits? What is important – its aesthetic status as evidence or the social function that is assigned to it? (Meyer, 1995:8). There probably is no right answer to these two questions, but its something that I will be thinking about a little more going forward. I have a feeling at the moment that the intention/effect and aesthetic status/social function are intertwined.

Well, I was all set to watch an interesting video last night on Finding Your Personal Project on the B&H Event Space which fellow student Mark had blogged about. As it was getting on for midnight I paused the video intending to finish watching it the next morning, but it is no longer available. Talk about frustration! I’ll try later on to see if I can track it down again, but luckily Mark did a really great write up and covered all the important points so I have the general idea of what was spoken about.

Experiments

I’ve been doing a bit more PS processing of my heritage buildings – more experimenting. I have switched out the figures in my photo of the Nils Sjodin residence from a group of Interior Chiefs to a woman carrying a baby. I think the single figure works better than the group of Interior Chiefs. She’s also not as obvious which is what I’m trying to aim for. For some or other reason the chiefs just don’t seem “comfortable” in the image.

Colour version:

Black & White version:

After standing back for a week from the images, I’m feeling rather ambivalent as to which version I prefer – colour vs B&W, but I think the scale may be tipping to B&W.

I’ve also experimented with using Salishan text on the images instead of the symbol to add another ambiguous layer to my work (see here and here). Now with the text overlay on the images I’m preferring the colour versions.

I’ve also been playing around with a few page mock-ups for the book. Mark had suggested that I try using the symbols on the verso pages instead of overlaying them on the images. I’ve a few options that I am considering – either using keywords to explain the symbols, or a short paragraph. Do I include a myth/legend about the symbol as well as that would provide relay text for the latent history/culture that I’m trying to convey? This text would give a weightier tipping of the scales towards the culture of the First Nations, than the accompanying caption at the bottom of the page about the historical building. I could also just use the symbol only on the verso page with only the caption at the bottom, and add an index page at the back of the book which would create a certain amount of interactivity from the reader’s point of view.

I’ll upload a good selection of images and book page options for the upcoming ROW hangout on December 8 and hopefully I’ll be able to get direction from my peers.

So to summarise my options before I forget, they are:

  • Colour with First Nations OR B&W with First Nations
  • Colour with symbol  OR B&W with symbol
  • Colour with First Nations & symbol OR B&W with First Nations & symbol
  • Colour with First Nations & text OR B&W with First Nations & text
  • Colour with symbol & text OR B&W with symbol & text

I still have a few more sites that I want to photograph but will need to wait for a day where the weather conditions match the images that I have already taken (its snowing right now). So I’ll keep my fingers crossed that the weather clears this week and the snow melts.

Bibliography

Meyer, P. (1995) Truths & Fictions | a journey from documentary to digital photography. New York: Aperture Foundation.

Index and More Experimenting

After having two sets of feedbacks (one from the ROW group and one from the Documentary group) it struck me that those individuals who have had more exposure to native art and symbols were more open to the use of the First Nations symbols in my work, while those who had not encountered such icons before were more resistant to the idea.

As we have to produce a book for this assignment, I had the idea this morning to put an index showing the symbols and their connotations at the back of the book, with a write up about the unceded territory, history and my concept at the front. I think that will generate viewer interaction with the images.

Now as to text overlay and captions as discussed in this post, I’m still not sure which way to go. I really like the idea of overlaying the name of the symbol in the Secwepemc language as this adds another layer of ambiguity to the work. If I do this, I don’t think there will be any need for captions, unless I just reference the historical building in the photo …. need to think about this a bit more.

I tried combining the collage of the First Nations people and symbols first in colour and then I converted to B&W. My tutor had advised me that if I thought this assignment would work better in B&W then I should not hesitate to go down that route. Click on the galleries below to enlarge the images.

I reworked the position and size of the group of chiefs in Fig 1 and finetuned the transparency of the owl. I had made too much of the owl transparent and the outline of his face wasn’t showing clearly. I think that is fixed now.

I’ve chosen to use the middle distance photo of this church to create an immediacy with the viewer and I think these proportions work better with the church.

I took the advice of Bob and changed the position of the symbol in Fig 5 as he said it looked a little like a copyright stamp in the lower left corner. I decided to remove the crow symbol that I had previously used and substituted the hawk. I also decided to change the chief’s position and have him more integrated with the house.

So far I am quite liking the B&W versions. The B&W conversion has removed the “separateness” of the First Nations from the land and the distracting elements of the sometimes rather bright symbols. The B&W set feels more cohesive somehow. I’ll plod along working the different scenarios and get some more feedback in a couple of weeks time.