June 20, 1997

York Redoubt (Halifax, Nova Scotia)


The challenge of photography is that you have to bring something to the camera to photograph. Unlike painting, where a blank canvas can hold anything the artist desires, a camera must be pointed at something to generate an image. The problem, sometimes, is what.
6x12 cm film
On this day, I went to York Redoubt, one of the outlying forts surrounding Halifax. I was restless and uninspired - wanting to photograph more than wanting to make images - wanting to handle my camera and go through the motions, but not at all sure of what I would point it at.
4"x5" film
The amazing thing about York Redoubt is its position on a huge hill overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The upper fort still contains the original RML cannons, while the lower battery, of a much later vintage, has been stripped of its more modern weaponry. In seven years of photographing the ruins of Fortress Halifax, I had never before made images of the guns. This day, out of pure frustration for something to image, I turned my camera on them.
4"x5" film
The results are less than ideal - the use of the super-wide 65mm super-angulon lens lead to too much distortion for my "traditional" tastes, and the second most successful image, to the right, gives little sense of the ranged line of the RML guns receding. I have always struggled with landscapes, and this day was no different. Apart from the first image, of a receding wave on the shore line, little I produced this day was more than an exercise in exposure, composition and technique. I feel like I was going through the motions. There is no simple solution to what is happening with my work...I feel like something has to change but I am at a loss as to what, or how. I will not give up though, regardless. Photography is too much of a challenge for me. I will prevail, eventually.

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