31 January 2010

Hello World

No. 1888 - 26 Oct 2009 - 13:19:51

26 January 2010

How Warm?

No. 2775 - 04 Jul 2009 - 12:05:06

Gastown, Vancouver

When it is nine degrees centigrade in January and some women are wearing capri pants and ballet flats, and the men who wear shorts all winter, no matter the temperature, are in their element, then it does not take much to assume that somewhere on Spanish Banks there are a few souls skim boarding today. I have neither photographic nor anecdotal evidence of such activity but here are a few shots from last summer to bring on the mood.

25 January 2010

Hastings Sunrise

N0. 3361

Robert Burns (25 Jan 1759 - 21 Jul 1796)

24 January 2010

Vic's and VAG's

No. 3889 * No. 4283
09 Mar 2008 - 18:11:05 * 11 Mar 2008 - 15:42:17

No. 4566 - 25 Oct 2007 - 12:36:58

23 January 2010

West and Southerly

No. 1433 * No. 1524
23 Jan 2009 - 14:08:02 * 23 Jan 2009 - 14:42:09

Gastown, Vancouver

One year ago today there was a muted re-opening of the Stanley Park seawall two years after the big blow of 2007. Although the storm garnered much attention when it cut a wide swath through the stand of trees, the eventual completion of structural repairs to banks, pavement and seawall went by relatively unnoticed.

The greater storm was Typhoon Frieda in 1962 when it seemed that half the park and much around the city blew over. I remember, as a child, driving through the park causeway in the weeks after the thrilling event and seeing large corridors of light exposed where all was dark before. Remnants of those fallen giants still rot on the forest floor and continue to provide new generations of seedlings nourishment in their "nursery" wood.

22 January 2010

Skying Burnaby

No. 3240 * No. 2023
08 March 2008-18:38:11 * 21 June 2008-20:53:53

Gastown, Vancouver

English landscape painter John Constable (1776-1837) was inspired to convey the effects of weather, cloud formation and changing light on the scenes he painted repeatedly and named his outdoor practice "skying". "My first lesson was when Benjamin West* told me not to forget that light and shadow never stand still", claimed Constable of his teacher at the Royal Academy. Perhaps that is why his manner of painting the appearance of changing light on a landscape was prescient of a photographic approach even though he died just before the invention of photography. Forty years after his death, Eadweard Muybridge's action photographs proved that a trotting horse has all four feet off the ground at times, thanks to the invention of faster photographic plates.

I have a superb physical perspective from which to record the aspects of weather and light on my urban landscape; on a daily basis and with the assistance of a digital camera. Burnaby, a municipality of Metro Vancouver, rises in the distance between two buildings in the east end neighbourhood of Strathcona. The upcoming VANCOUVER Portrait of a City features 13 scenes, including Burnaby Corridor, that diversely document the city through all seasons, weather, and times of day. Vancouver: more
north than Montréal, more overcast than rainy, more psychologically affected by light than by temperature.

Sky over land never stands still. One must look between the light - quickly and often.

*American born painter Benjamin West spent most of his life in London where he was patronized by George III for 40 years and was a founder of the Royal Academy in 1768. He innovated the representation of modern rather than classical costume in his best-known picture The Death of General Wolfe (c.1771) which is of particular interest to Canadian and British history.

20 January 2010

Inner Beauty

No. 0493 - 26 Jun 2007 - 19:34:31

19 January 2010

Clouds That Wave

No. 4527 - 23 Oct 2007 - 08:26:12

18 January 2010

Regarding Haiti

Among the countries of the Western Hemisphere one is the poorest. There is poverty in all of the richest of these countries but one has more than the others: one is more unequal in its lack of equality. One always suffers more in a disaster because it subsists daily with less and is therefore more vulnerable to seismic and climatic events. Two hundred and fifty years ago this one was chosen by its colonial master (France), for its slaves and sugar, over the habitants and fur of its fellow colony to the north (New France/Canada).

Haiti was home to one third of the Atlantic slave trade throughout the eighteenth century and suffered brutally under Napoleon after rebellion only to labour further under a 12o year-long bill of debt to the French government for the loss of slave wealth and in recognition of its being the second oldest republic in the Western Hemisphere (see above): it is a colonial history of particular venality and cruelty. Their rich and successful neighbour next door (United States of America) also benefited from slavery but the plantation and factory owners were free to design a nation where they could live and prosper in their own image, even after they freed the slave population, eventually. There is much fanfare about American democracy and ingenuity but the profits rolled in because the land was stolen and so was the labour. The canadiens meanwhile, abandoned by the French Crown, were picked up by British colonial masters under and with whom they too were eventually able to grow wealthy. Assimilation and land and resource plunder are on-going colonial legacies in Canada.

From what once were tenuous, franco-colonial ties between Canada and Haiti, has grown a familial and cultural relationship with deep roots. These connections will be strengthened as Canadians and French and Americans assist Haitians to recover and rebuild. Haiti needs immediate, physical attention and unconditional acceptance into a modern global community still coming to terms with Post Colonial Stress Disorder. During good times and bad our lives and histories are entwined; if one suffers so do we all.

The history of slavery continues into contemporary times. Women and children, in the sex-on-demand or manufacturing industries for example, now suffer the same dehumanizing brutality and life threatening hazards known to captives three hundred years ago. The slave trade is rampant and worldwide.

17 January 2010

16 January 2010

I See Cafés

No. 7587 - 07 Jan 2008 - 08:48:00

Gastown, Vancouver

Everything is up for sale in a young and dumb frontier town like Vancouver: timber, real estate, conservatories. The quick buck often gets the first and best hearing over the long-term plan should such a thing even exist.

The most gorgeous, character real estate fronts onto our degraded downtown alleys. They could easily be returned to commercial/public use and the people, driven to find refuge there, returned to society. Greater cities find solutions through philanthropy and civic aspiration ...
Alas, we are all robber baronet, no elite - which is rich considering this is traditionally the land of the Potlatch.