Urban Landscapes

These are a few of a series of images made (obviously) in response to William Jenkins’s 1975 exhibition (and book) New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape. What caught my attention – as it did many, was the notion of a “style-less” photography that rendered the banal as well … banal! Time has proved this a huge fiction of course for ironically, the stylistic effects of the work of many of the represented photographers maintain a strong influence to this day.

However, I did like the idea of minimizing the degree to which I imposed myself upon the subject and still do.

This is not as easy as it sounds because the understandings of what makes a “picture” in any given culture are deeply engrained in each of its members. In the West – that is the “West” as shorthand for the privileged, educated, relatively wealthy and secure “West” of Europe, North America and their adjuncts – a “picture” can be made of anything by enclosing its image within a (usually) rectangular frame. A camera being the ultimate picturing tool, subverting this built-in nature is well – impossible but, being aware of that nature and trying to subvert it does alter the kind of pictures one makes.

In these – and all the works in this series – my approach was to assess the site that I wished to photograph and then attempt to determine exactly where to place the camera so as to contain – and/or imply – the most information possible relevant to what I believed that site to be about.

This approach still informs much of my work.

Regina, Saskatchewan

50° 26’ 55.86” N 104° 36’ 43.88” W

March 13. 1977

Cnr. of Roslyn Road & Osborne Street

Winnipeg, Manitoba

49° 52’ 48.08” N 97° 08’ 51.17” W

April 08, 1977

Behind 300, 27th. Street West

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

52° 08’ 08.26” N 106° 40’ 24.62”W

August 02, 1977

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Unrecorded Coordinates

August 02, 1977

Asquith, Saskatchewan

52° 08’ 02.79” N 107° 13’ 40.63” W

September 23, 1977

24th. St. NW & Connecticut Avenue

Washington, D.C.

38° 55’ 28.26” N 77° 03’ 09.64” W

November 14, 1977.

 

Behind 923, 5th Avenue,

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

52° 08’ 30.76” N 106° 39’ 21.59” W

September 28, 1978

Behind 906, 4th Avenue N.

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

52° 08’ 28.63” N 106° 39’ 21.55” W

September 28, 1978

 

Behind 411, Duchess Street,

Saskatoon Saskatchewan

52° 08’ 32.31” N 106° 39’ 21.15” W

October 04, 1978

Eaton Centre, Toronto, Ontario

43° 39’ 21.12” N 79° 22’ 53.02” W

March 02, 1979

Sparks Street, Ottawa Ontario

45° 25’ 20.36” N 75° 41’ 54.91” W

March 06, 1979