May 04, 1999

A Lost Bunker, York Redobt (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

After working with the remains of Fortress Halifax for close to a decade, I thought I knew of all the sites which had some remains left, be they accessible or not. I was, however mistaken, as I found out on this afternoon. Craig, Miles and I had traveled to York Redoubt, intending to do some nudes down by the shore, at the York Shore Battery.
4"x5" film

York Redoubt is an extensive fort which sits on a high hill overlooking outer Halifax Harbour, with a steep, somewhat treacherous hillside leading down to the shore. Rather than take the zigzagging road down, however, I decided to go a more direct route - straight down. As it turned out, within three minutes of leaving the road, I found myself standing at the entrance to a previously unknown bunker.

Set into the side of the hill, the bunker was built of concrete, covered by a huge mound of earth. Trees and brush had grown over the building, almost totally concealing it from view when descending the hill. From the front, though, the entrance is obvious, and the sighting position is easily visible, even covered by trees. Given my belief that there was nothing new to find at York Redoubt, I was totally thrilled to find this space, and even more excited when I looked inside.
4"x5" film
The bunker was quite small, just a short passage, a set of stairs, and a sighting room, but the concrete vaulting and walls are exquisite in their texture and shapes.

I spent a good half hour working in and around this new bunker. The light within was dim and diffused, which lead to an exposure of 5 minutes for the three interior images I produced. The long exposure time gave me the freedom to explore the outside of the building, and mentally set up the composition of the exterior view of the bunker opening.
4"x5" film
On the whole, finding this space was an incredible experience - I thought years ago I'd seen all that was left of Fortress Halifax, and to stumble upon this small bunker was great. That said, I am not sure if much more is needed to completely document it; the interior images I made were strong, and the external photos were pretty much the only ones possible, due to the steep incline of the hill.

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