The Ties That Bind

After graduating NSCAD U the urge to photograph and create art had almost disappeared, I hardly used my camera, we had become estranged.  I thought it was just me who had lost interest in creating art but after talking with friends I realized that almost everyone goes through a burn out period after graduating university.  At the time I was working with friends at Atlantic Photo Supply who graduated university at the same time as me.  We started talking more about art and sharing our ideas; motivating and inspiring each other.  After months and months of talking about photography and looking at work that other artists around us were creating we finally decided to put a plan in motion to create work of our own.  Four of us formed a group called The Extra Curricular Art Club with the goals of being a source of guidance, critical thought, and inspiration to each other while allowing us to further explore photography and grow as artists. 

Over the course of a year we started meeting every few weeks, applied for a show, and started working on a body of work based on the theme “Family”.  We discussed our own family experiences, what family means to each of us and how we wanted to interpret it.  We decided to title the exhibit The Ties That Bind

Growing up I spent a lot of time at my own family homestead and exploring the land that had been a part of our family since the 1860s.  I always feel connected to the land and my family when I am there, it is a large part of my life and I feel lucky to be able to sleep under the same roof that my ancestors did years ago.  As for family experiences, I did not come from a large family but my parents had at least five siblings each, not a large family but not small.  They remain close to their siblings and often spent time together.  Growing up I heard lots of family tales, some funny, some sad and most were often told and retold. 

I kept going back to these stories and the homestead while working on the project; I knew I did not want to photograph people in my own family or the homestead so I decided to create my own family of characters and stories.    

I created six characters, three female, three male.  Each character has a different story that is connected to a time period in history.  I also placed small objects like letters, photos, or other small items that belong to my family in the photos, they are not a focal point but hold a presence as my own family. 

It was not until our photographs were hanging in the gallery that I realized how well we worked together over the past year helping each other to bring our ideas to life.  We helped each other work through creative blocks, listening when we became frustrated, and keeping each other motivated and inspired.  People have been asking “Will you work together again?”  The answer is yes, I look forward for our next photographic adventure together. 

The Ties That Bind is on display in The Craig Gallery at Alderney Landing in Dartmouth till Feb 2nd.  Be sure to check it out.  Make sure you sign the guest book; we would love to hear your comments and feedback. You can also read a review of the show that is published in The Coast.  

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