Photography Notes - Photographs in Context

Clouds over Mount Inglismauldie*

January 3, 2013

Recently, Craig Richards, one of the best photographers of our Rocky Mountains, had a book launch event in Banff.  He was announcing his new book “Composition in Stone - Photographs from the Canadian Rockies”.  Craig and I get together from time to time to talk about photography and, of course, the mountains.  He has given me advice in the past - advice that has helped me to create better photographic art.

I don’t usually buy expensive photography books, but Craig’s book caught me square in the heart as I slowly turned the pages and viewed his lovely black and white images.  Craig’s printing is second-to-none and the publisher did an excellent job of capturing that quality on the printed page – not such an easy thing to accomplish.  However, what really caught me was that page after page had images of places that I had travelled or hiked to over the past fifty-plus years.  It didn’t take many minutes for me to decide to put my money on the table, buy a copy of the book, and make it my own.  I’m very happy that I did.  Some of the recognisable images were Mt. Rundle from Two Jack Lake; Bow Falls; Castle Mountain; Cascade Mountain; Mt. Yamnuska; Mt. Wilson; and Berg Glacier at Mt. Robson.  I know these place names are all recognisable to many, but Craig’s eye is, I think, unique and I’m pleased to have his personal photographs of many places that I know.

I think this, once again, proves a point that I try to make to those who look at my photography.  What it is is context.  I was emotionally attached to the images I saw in Craig’s book.  The images brought back memories, both old and recent.  Memories that continue to make me ‘feel good’.  This is the same reason that I exhibited my Southwest Saskatchewan photographic art in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan and why my recent exhibit in Cochrane was titled ’15 Minutes from Home’.  I find, in this way, there is a better chance that the viewer will stop and look for at least a moment.  I think it is because they get it - the familiarity of the scene or memory of something that occurred in a similar place is all it takes to feel an attachment to the image.

That was a good day in Banff at Craig’s book launch.  Coincidently, when I left to drive home, there was a display of lenticular clouds over Mount Inglismaldie near Banff, similar to the types of clouds in one of Craig’s photographs.  I rushed to an open space to see if I could make a good photograph and found what you see above.

If you are in Banff for any reason, I encourage you to drop into the Whyte Museum and have a look at Craig’s book.  Be careful, you may be smitten as I was and end up with a copy on your coffee table.

*Photo Copyright  2012 - Jack Blair Photographer