Personal Photographic Project
A demonstration of the evolution of a subject, captured through a static medium.
The Moncton skyline and Petitcodiac River serve as a backdrop, much like a portrait photographer's muslin or seamless paper. The true subject is the sky, the patterns and texture of the clouds, and the various and varying hues of sunset. Every moment, every picture, is different as the minutes and days, the light, the weather, and the seasons change.
This series arose from the Intro to DSLR Photography course I teach at the Moncton Campus of the New Brunswick Community College. It began as a field trip to introduce the students to low-light and long-exposure photography. It quickly developed into a personal project of my own.
Why would I continue to return to the same location with the intent of capturing very similar shots? While the backdrop of the Moncton skyline and Petitcodiac River remains constant, the light, colours, and textures do not. They change from week-to-week, day-to-day, and even minute-to-minute. Bright daylight becomes awash in gold; bland, grey clouds burst with orange and red; pale azure skies deepen into rich hues of navy and violet. No two sunsets are ever the same, and even one sunset can transform itself several times before the light disappears from the sky.
This type of project teaches vision and patience. Photographers sometimes approach a scene looking for a certain type of shot, only to be disappointed when it fails to meet expectations. Not finding what we hoped for, we put our cameras away and leave, often without taking a single shot. While some creatives can find an image anywhere others, myself included, have to train ourselves to look for photographs where we might otherwise find none. Knowing the weather and the light are extremely fickle and uncooperative forces me to approach each sunset as an unknown, and to look for images where I might not normally expect one. It teaches me to wait, to let the scene unfold, and to not make assumptions about how it will look after five, ten, or thirty minutes. Bland skies can become awash in myriad colours; the colours will change as the sun approaches and then disappears behind the horizon; and the clouds, when present, will slowly move, altering compositions and dispersing colours as they do so. We never know in advance, and we can never be certain, whether or not the next few minutes will produce more and better shots. But we must have the patience to wait, and the resolve to stay, even if we think we'll be disappointed.
Some of the images from this project may be available for purchase as open edition prints. Please visit the Photographic Prints section of this website for details.