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Do we really care about art?

For the past week, I’ve been in Bologna, Italy, for a series of meetings and workshops. It was only on Saturday that I had a free afternoon and used the opportunity to see something of that gorgeous city. The timing was pretty good. There was an exhibit on the work of Hugo Pratt and his famous graphic novel character Corto Maltese; a show featuring over 200 less well known works of Salvador Dalí; and an exhibit of Mexican 20th century art featuring works of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera among others.

The photo above is the scene in front of the Palazzo Albergati. It’s a queue of people waiting to get into the gallery to see the Mexican art exhibit. It would take hours to get in, hours I didn’t have, so I decided to skip it and see as much as I could. I did manage to get into Palazzo Belloni after only about half an hour wait in line with elderly couples, students, families, and even a bunch of sketchy looking skeets all eager to see the Dalí exhibit.

Next time when the government cuts arts funding or removes culture from the name of the department that is supposed to help us create more of it -and it surely will- as we raise hell, we should also ask ourselves why is nobody lining up in front of our galleries. In what ways have we failed and allowed art to become irrelevant to so many outside of the art circle? We need more than just money, we desperately need a public that cares. How we get there is mostly up to us, but it may require a braver, less self-referential and more engaging art.

On a lighter note, you should also know that the Italians line up for ice cream confirming my lifelong belief that good ice cream is indistinguishable from good art.

Rural Routes


A bit of an announcement post. For the past few months I have been quietly working on a project that is now ready to be made public. As many of you know, my day job is very much focused on rural Newfoundland and Labrador and through that job I get to work with a lot (you should probably read that most) of rural researchers in this country and some from further abroad. After a while, it became obvious that most of the research I was aware of never makes it into the public domain. So, as part of my job, I decided to start a podcast. A colleague with a particular flair for copy writing named it Rural Routes. Over the coming weeks you will be able to hear interviews with rural researchers, writers, entrepreneurs, artists, fishers and farmers. We are hoping to get some funding in place that would allow us to do a little bit more down the road. For now, go to and hear what we have on air.

The photo was made sometime last year with my phone in Port Rexton, NL.

Library as a place


On October 15, I had a chance to speak to provincial library technicians during their annual  conference. There was a bit of dithering on my part about what was that I was going to say, but at the end, with the help of one of the organizers, I settled on Library as a Place, which worked reasonably well, I think. Here is the presentation with a script (or something close enough to one).

131014-LTAIG.001Good afternoon. My name is Bojan Fürst and I am a photographer and a geographer an I love libraries. Some of you may also know me as the manager of knowledge mobilization with the Harris Centre, which is what I do for a living, but that has nothing to do with what I want to talk about today.

131014-LTAIG.002Originally I was going to photograph library technicians and librarians as they work and then speak about that experience and how it relates to another project I am working on. For mostly unpleasant reasons, that did not quite happen. However, I was a bit dubious about that project from the beginning. I’ll tell you why. In 1999, I was flying back home to Croatia from Calgary. I was on a direct flight from Calgary to Frankfurt. Sitting next to me was a very pleasant old lady in her 80s. She was traveling to Venice where her grand-niece, I believe, was getting married.  She asked me if I’d like to see a photograph of her niece. I was a polite young man and she was a very nice old lady so I said yes. She, and I am not exaggerating, pulled out some 300 family photos of people I never met and never will and she went through all of them with me. Twice. By the time we landed in Frankfurt, and it is a VERY long flight, I knew two things: 1. I knew a lot about her family; and 2. I knew I am never going to be the old man that makes a complete stranger look at 300 of my photos. Making you sit here and look at photos of some of your colleagues as they go about their work felt a little bit like I was about to break that rule.

131014-LTAIG.003One thing most people don’t know about photojournalism, is that there is a lot of waiting that happens between actually making photographs. And that, more than anything else, is the reason why photojournalists often seem to notice things that everybody else misses. It is also why we often muck around with weird ways of taking photographs. We are also like lemmings, always ready to follow the latest trend – even if it kills us at the end. So in 2001 or so, David Brunette, one of the living legends of photojournalism, got himself a cheap, plastic, Chinese made, holga camera. It is as rudimentary a photo tool as you can get. In the hands of David Brunett, however, it became a superb photographic tool. He used it to photograph Al Gore during his presidential campaign. Next thing you know, every photojournalist is rocking one of these plastic and pretty much useless things. As a good little lemming, I got one, too. Now, to my eternal credit, I did realized that as good as David Brunett is, photographing Al Gore with a plastic camera probably had more to do with the fact that the photo ended up on the front pages of some of the world’s largest newspapers than the camera itself. Since Al Gore was not available, I carried that camera around with me without actually making any photographs – until the day I had some time to kill between assignments in Fredericton. Those of you who know Fredericton, know that it is not the most exciting place on the planet. It was a summer day, it was hot, and I was pointlessly driving around.

131014-LTAIG.004And than I saw this sign in front of a little corner store. Before I got an ice-cream, I pulled out my plastic holga and I made this photograph. For me, this was a beginning of a fascination with place making. Let’s look at a few more corner stores, but only a few. And let’s play “spot it” while we at it.

131014-LTAIG.005Ice box.

131014-LTAIG.006Lottery sign

131014-LTAIG.007ATM inside




131014-LTAIG.011Word “Convenience”

131014-LTAIG.012What is fascinating to me about these photographs is the perfect blend of the familiar and the unique. Each of these stores advertises the familiar. Smart move because it lets us immediately feel safe. We know exactly what is that we are going to find inside. What is wonderful about them is that they are also very much unique places reflecting the personalities of their owners, but also the larger community they are situated in.

131014-LTAIG.013So a corner store on Grand Manan is unlike any other.

131014-LTAIG.014And a corner store on Change Islands, or The Store, does not look like a corner store at all.

131014-LTAIG.015It was photographing corner stores that started to turn me into a geographer. Geographers think about space and place a lot. In fact, some would argue that the “most enduring legacy of humanistic geography is [its] theoretical engagements with notions of space and place.” And if you look at some of the definitions of place and space we came up with, you could be excused if you thought we think about it way too much. We talk about mobility, about time-space compression, about commodifcation of space and place. We talk about the destruction of the vernacular and the leisuring of rural landscapes. We talk about place as “a qualitative, total phenomenon, which we cannot reduce to any of its parts or properties without losing its concrete character.” We, as geographers, try so hard to be impartial, objective, scientific, clever and complex, that the best advice I can give you is to stop talking to geographers about place and instead ask architects. I am kidding, but only just so… I envy architects. They are the only people I know of who comfortably straddle the world of art, science and spirituality and, the really good ones anyway, can talk about it in a rational and engaging way without sounding flaky. So for our purposes today, I think Christian Norberg-Schulz’s definition of place will do nicely. He says that “the spaces where life occurs are places… A place is a space which has a distinct character.” Just like those corner stores have distinct characters.

131014-LTAIG.016And if you are interested in things like place and space and distinct characters, than islands are among the best places to explore all those things. Being a Croatian, my encounter with islands started in childhood. We have over a thousand of them and sooner or later you will end up visiting one of them. But my true involvement with the islands started in a resettled community of Wood Island just off the coast of Grand Manan in New Brunswick. I was working on a story for CBC radio about the reunion that takes place on the island every year. It was August of 2008. It was windy and overcast with light rain. But there was not enough wind or enough rain to prevent the islanders from making their customary annual visit to their ancestral home.

131014-LTAIG.017It takes about 10 minutes on a small boat to cross from Seal Cove on Grand Manan Island to Wood Island. There is not much left there: a church gleaming white among the island greenery, an old schoolhouse, a cemetery, and three houses scattered around the island that serve as summer residences. What there is left is a strong sense of attachment and identity among those who moved away from their homes in 1950s as the provincial government refused to provide any services to the island community. Hence, every year, the former islanders and their descendants board a small boat and get together for a church service and a reunion. It is a story only too familiar to most Newfoundlanders. It was towards the end of my stay on Wood Island that I managed to talk to one of the last teachers who had taught at the island school. She tried to explain to me just what the island meant to her. This is what she said. “In the winter, I might feel down and my husband knows – he’ll drive me to Seal Cove just to look over and get a fix. It’s awesome.”

131014-LTAIG.018Islands are funny places. Geographers can’t really figure out how to define them and so we don’t really know how many islands are there in the world. You think it would be easy. Tim Robinson, writing about his time on Aran islands off the coast of Ireland recounts the anecdote from his first day on the island: “On the day of our arrival we met an old man who explained the basic geography: “The ocean,” he told us, “goes all around the island.”” What Edmond and Smith call “obstinate separateness” of islands has been drawing people to those specks of land in the sea for centuries. Islands are mysterious, romantic, sites of paradises and prisons. They are difficult to get to and appear stubbornly unique in a world that has “institutionalize placelessness.” The  islanders manage to hang on to the authenticity of their island communities and we all want to figure out how they do it. How do they hold on to a life as Ann Buttimer writes “which is attuned to the rhythms of nature, … anchored in human history and directed toward a future?” How do they “build a home which is the everyday symbol of a dialogue with one’s ecological and social milieu.”

131014-LTAIG.019It’s not easy and it requires generations. There is an art to living on an island and it is a complicated one to master. Talk to islanders and they will tell you that the best thing about an island is that you know everybody. They will also tell you that, after a lousy ferry service, the worst thing about living on an island is that you know everybody. But knowing everybody is exactly one of those things that makes islands such unique places. It takes human interaction – unplanned, unavoidable and sustained random human interaction – for a space to become a place. Another architect, Canadian Avi Friedman, said that sense of place is an outcome of the physical features that surround us, the space between them and the interactions that happen among those for whom the places are built for. It so happens that small islands seem to naturally encourage those meaningful interactions in ways that it is becoming difficult for most of us living in urban and especially suburban environments to experience.

131014-LTAIG.020And when I say difficult, I mean difficult. In urban environments we all live in, and I swear I will be talking about the libraries soon, we have worked really hard to remove even a chance of a random meeting in a public space. Among my photographic interests is street photography. It is a branch of photographic expression with a long history that has created some of the best loved photographs we all know. Cynics would say that street photography appeals to me because I am an introvert who needs a reason to leave his house and an opportunity to hide behind the camera, but that is not true. I love street photography because it is unpretentious, honest, and it requires engagement and involvement with the world outside of our doorstep in precisely the ways that are conducive to place making. Except, it is really, really difficult to do street photography in St. John’s.

131014-LTAIG.021There are no natural public spaces here. Our streets, even in the heart of downtown are mostly empty. I call this photograph “The Optimist.” What else could he be playing to the empty streets? And while we can build our urban environments to encourage place making and development of a shared identity, the fact remains that we don’t. However, I do believe that a quest for a sense of place and a sense of identity is so strong in us that we will find ways to engage in its creation no matter what.

131014-LTAIG.022Let me tell you one more kind of a funny photojournalism story. In 2006, I went to cover a story in Bosnia for a Canadian magazine about Canadian efforts to rebuild Bosnian health care system. It was a very successful program carried out by Queen’s University department of family medicine and funded by CIDA. In the old socialist system in former Yugoslavia, we did not have family doctors in a Canadian sense. You had a GP that was attached to your place of work or to your school. So my mom had her doctor, my dad had his doctor, my brother had a paediatrician as did all other elementary school kids and I had a doctor that took care of my high school classmates. It was a bit of a mess. If you need to see your doctor you would take your health card and you would go in early in the morning to your doctor’s office and you would wait as long as it took to be called in. The Canadians came in, introduce the concept of a family doctor, and, crucially, the idea that you can make an appointment to see your doctor at a prearranged time therefore eliminating hours of waiting time. It worked like a charm and everybody loved it, except the retired people who just would not accept the new system. Canadians and Bosnians got frustrated and decided to conduct a thorough survey and figure out why did these old-timers insist on showing up before the office even opened and then waited until the doctor could see them. It turned out that for the elderly patients, a doctor’s waiting room was a social place. They talked with their peers there, they played chess and backgammon, knitted sweaters and hats for their grandkids. In most cases, they did not even really need to see a doctor at all. So now, some community health centres simply have a community room, where anybody can come and have a cup of tea or coffee and do all those things they did while waiting for a doctor and sometimes there is even a nurse or a student measuring their blood pressure and providing advice about their medication or nutrition. Family doctors’ waiting rooms were places and yet nobody understood that.131014-LTAIG.023There are other such places that we create for very specific purposes, but that perform a dual role. For example, architect Avi Friedman lists farmers’ markets as one of those places. He says that markets “not only provide basic amenities and contribute to economic vitality, but they act as social magnets. They are scenes of trade, as well as places for communal interaction and gathering spots where one can watch the theatre of life.” I would argue that libraries are also such places. And we are enormously attached to them. We have all heard about the cellist of Sarajevo and Sarajevo market where people died in mortar and sniper fire, but one story that we don’t hear very often is the story of National and University Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was a repository of knowledge and identity and in 1992 it was mercilessly shelled by Serbian forces in a campaign designed to erase any evidence of just how complex the identity of Sarajevans and Bosnians really was. I wish I had a better photograph of it. During the shelling, majority of the books and manuscripts did not survive the fire, but nonetheless, citizens and librarians worked under fire to save as many of the books as possible. At least one person died. True places, like libraries and markets, and public squares, matter immensely to us –  enough that we are willing to protest against their destruction, fight to save them, and, as in Bosnian example, even die for them.

131014-LTAIG.024I believe that libraries are vital when it comes to place and place making. American feminist and social activist bell hooks once said that “One of the most subversive institutions in the United States is the public library.” Some 18 years ago, in my first year of college I discovered that I am a photographer in Calgary Public Library. Also there, I attended a lecture, and I can’t even remember who it was that was speaking, but that person was introduced by the director of the Calgary Public Library who said that every single one of us in the audience should be able to find at least one book in his library that would offend us. And if we couldn’t find such a book, than he failed as a librarian. I never forgot that.


Good libraries are much more than repositories for books and periodicals. They are not about buildings, or comfortable chairs. The good ones are true places. That means that they bring together people who would otherwise have no need to meet or interact with each other. They are truly subversive in a sense that, while making us perfectly comfortable, they also make us expand our worlds, confront our ignorance and make us better people whether we want it or not. Every good library is at the heart of its community. That is certainly the case of the Memorial University Library System and places like the Resource Library at the Faculty of Education.

131014-LTAIG.026You as library technicians, archivists, and librarians have enormous responsibility. Avi Friedman, at the end of his book “A Place in Mind” writes that today “The number of meeting places and their quality has diminished. Neighbourhoods, built for seclusion, have fewer people, fewer or no sidewalks, walking or bike paths, benches or civic squares. We have fewer public markets or corner stores.” But we still have libraries and you are the custodians of those places. Neil Gaiman said that the “Rule number one is: Don’t fuck with librarians.” And he couldn’t be more right. We need libraries that are at the heart of their community, the way our library is here at the university. We need libraries that are easy to access and libraries that challenge us to be better when we leave them than we were when we came in; libraries that are true places where communal life is lived to its fullest. I did not photograph library technicians at work, because I am not sure I know how to photograph people whose work is not to catalogue books, answer questions and mend broken spines, but to create places that make the heart of who we are. So instead of giving you photographs, I just want to say thank you.

Shades of blue


Spent the morning in Middle Cove for a work related project.


Meet Spangles

1301-Family 2

This is Spangles, the friendliest and the most playful cat you can imagine.


A dream day trip

My smarter half was doing a bunch of interviews for a project she is working on on Avalon Isthmus and the rest of us decided to tag along as somewhat cute, but mostly useless appendages. She managed to wrap things up in her usual efficient fashion so on the way home we decided to make a detour to Cape St. Mary’s and provide the girls with much needed experiential learning opportunities the school will almost certainly not provide.

Of course making detours with children usually means more detours so when Little Miss F. threatened to throw a massive tantrum over one thing or another was I ever happy to see a sign announcing the Castle Hill National Historic Site. It was a great visit largely thanks to Christopher, a Parks Canada interpreter who was absolutely amazing. We hiked around the Fort Royal and took some funny pictures and than decided to get going. Well, at this point we had two hungry girls and that meant that the good mood would not last long. Luckily for us, we found Philip’s Cafe and Bakery in Placentia. What a treat! To make things even better, Philip was just pulling hot, gluten–free muffins and bread loaves out of the oven as we came in so even the smarter half could enjoy a full blown meal. Philip was funny, interesting and helpful and the food was simply awesome.

Of course, it had to be one of the foggiest days ever at Cape St. Mary’s, but at this point we were well fed, had ton of interesting things to talk about and were enjoying beautiful scenery between Placentia and the Cape. Fog or no fog, we decided to go and I am so glad we did. It was magical. Miss. F. declared, looking at thousands of birds appearing and disappearing in and out of the fog, that she felt like she was flying herself. Little Miss F. announced that a lot of birds make a lot of poop and that doesn’t smell nice, so she spent most of the time around the Bird Rock firmly pinching her nose.

Incidentally, the best piece of advice we got today came from a funny provincial parks officer who told the girls not to look up with their mouths open.

So here we are back home. The girls are asleep and I can’t believe what an amazing day we had.

There were a couple of photography lessons to be learned as well:

  1. Fog augments every piece of dust on your sensor – mine, apparently, has several gigantic dust spots.
  2. Digital gear weighs a ton and, therefore, stays in the car most of the time because I don’t feel like lugging this stuff around – will try not to make a mistake of bringing it along in the future. My film cameras fit in my coat pocket. Nikon, get your head out of you ass and make a Nikon FED or whatever. Yeah, I know there is Leica M9 that would suit my needs perfectly, but I would also like to keep both of my kidneys so that’s not an option.

Croatian word of the day: ptica bird  [pt itza]


Support Island Landscapes exhibit



Rick Hansen relay

Today, I spent a day doing something I used to spend a lot of time doing – working as a photojournalist. I photographed the first day of the Rick Hansen 25th anniversary relay across Canada for the National Post and Postmedia News. It turned out to be a strangely introspective assignment and, once I sort out through some of those thoughts, I’ll write a blog post about it. For now here is the cutline to go with the photo:

CAPE SPEAR, NL: AUGUST 24, 2011 — Rick Hansen talks with Jacob Manning, 13, the first bearer of the medal that will travel across Canada around the necks of 7,000 Canadians raising awareness about spinal cord injury. The 25th anniversary relay started today at Cape Spear, NL. (Bojan Fürst for Postmedia News)

Croatian word of the day: štafeta relay [shta feta]


Support Island Landscapes exhibit



Public servants

Work related post today, mostly because I like the photograph.

Andrew Treusch (middle), associate deputy minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada is discussing the changing role of public servant in Canada while Robert Thompson (right), the Secretary to Cabinet and the Clerk of the Executive Council of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Ron Penney (left) the recently retired city manager for the City of St. John’s and an adjunct professor of political science at Memorial University pay close attention.

I don’t often post work related photographs because they mostly consist of talking heads, but today’s setup landed itself nicely to a different kind of a photo.

Croatian word of the day: javni službenik public servant [yavni  slu zh be nik]




Tearsheets time…

Got my copy of Canadian Art today. If you want to see more photos from that day you can do so here.

Croatian word of the day: umjetnik artist [oom yet nik]


Organic farm

Tearsheets time.

Sometime in August I had a chance to photograph Mike and Melba Rabinowitz’s organic farm just outside of St. John’s. Growing anything in Newfoundland is a bit of a challenge because the nature is working against you most of the time. Poor soil conditions and short growing season are the rule and it takes a lot of work and stubbornness to build a successful farm. Melba and Mike certainly have both of those qualities.

They grow a wide variety of vegetables and herbs and supply some of St. John’s restaurants, farmers’ market and grocery stores with local and organic produce.

You can read the whole story in the latest issue of Saltscape magazine.

Croatian word of the day: povrće vegetables [po vr che]


Canadian Art and William Gill

New issue of Canadian Art magazine is out. It promises to be a great photography issue featuring Ed Burtynsky’s and Donald Weber’s work. Lisa Moore wrote an essay on the work of Will Gill, local visual artist, and I had the pleasure of photographing Will for the story.

I am not sure which photo they ran or what they did with it. If the tearsheets are worth posting, I will post them once I get my hands on a copy of the magazine. In the meantime, this is a set of shots from that day. Most of them are digital, except the square one which I shot on film just because I can.

You can see some of Will’s work on his website.

Croatian word of the day: umjetnik artist [um ye tnik]


Vacation over

Vacation officially over. It was nice to be home for at least a bit of it, but it was busier than I would actually prefer it. I spent a week on Change Islands, which was fabulous- about a quarter of my thesis research got done. I also shot an interesting story for Saltscapes magazine and spent yesterday morning shooting St. John’s Triathlon – the largest triathlon competition in Atlantic Canada.

I did have a chance to spend a fair bit of time at St. John’s Folk Festival this past weekend and Mike Stevens was definitely one of the highlights. Brilliant, brilliant harmonica player. Enjoy.

Croatian word of the day: svirač [music] player [svee rach]



I had the best intentions of spending my vacation doing exactly what my cat is doing in this photograph. Alas… that is, so far, the only thing I haven’t done yet…

Croatian word of the day: odmor rest


Lisa Moore longlisted for The Man Booker Prize

Great, great news for Newfoundland writer Lisa Moore. She is one of the 12 writers on the longlist for The Man Booker Prize for her novel February. It’s a really excellent book  following a spouse of one of the men who lost their lives in the 1982 during the Ocean Ranger oil rig disaster. The book is about grief first and foremost. Lisa has written a very emotional and yet restrained book that never slips into being pathetic – a feat that a lesser writer would not be able to pull off.

This is a photo of Lisa from a shoot earlier this year for The Guardian.

Croatian word of the day: nagrada award


A view from the bedroom window

It’s official. We’ve moved. Not far from the old place. Still, I hate moving. It’s a nice place. This is a view from our bedroom. Lovely sunrises. Normal blogging to continue… Lot’s of interesting stuff coming up.

Happy July 4th to American friends.

Croatian word of the day: selidba move


Banks, Bulgakov, Burtynsky

It’s fairly busy these days, but the reason for lack of blogging is mostly that I have also been doing real world stuff like reading. I finished Iain M. Banks’ The Algebraist which was good – even very good. Banks’ science fiction is quite a different kettle of fish in many ways than your usual run-of-the-mill stuff. It tends to be provocative, imaginative and fun to read. If you like SF, I would give Banks a try. I haven’t read much of him, just two books, The Algebraist and The Player of Games and both were good. I also caught up on my magazine reading and managed to make my way through about a half of Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, which I cannot recommend enough. In fact, I am going to finish this as quickly as I can so I can keep reading.

I also had a chance to attend a talk at The Rooms yesterday. Edward Burtynsky was discussing his approach to photography with emphasis on his latest exhibition, Oil, which opened its Canadian tour in St. John’s. Listening to Burtynsky was very interesting because he seems to have found his political legs, which made for a much more engaging and passionate discussion than any of the interviews you might have seen before. The exhibit itself is quite spectacular. The Rooms were able to hang the entire show, over 60 very large prints, and it is disturbing and breathtaking. I highly recommend it. From a photographer’s perspective, Burtynsky’s talk was also interesting because he talked about a very consciences decision of trying to walk the thin line between not being a photojournalist, but not being an art photographer either. It works for him. If you have a chance, go see the show. It’s in the Rooms until August 15, so plenty of time.

This is a supply vessel for offshore installations moored in St. John’s harbour.

[UPDATE] CBC Newfoundland and Labrador has an online feature on Burtynsky exhibit that, among other things, includes work of a Newfoundland photographer Greg Locke. Definitely worth seeing.

Croatian word of the day: nafta oil [naphta]


The curse

Family blogging today.

Harry Potter is all the rage in our house. In the photo, Miss F. and Little Miss F. are dressed up as witches trying to fit into the muggle world.

This morning, they were playing Harry Potter – dueling. Curses were flying all over the place: Stupefy! Jelly legs! Eat slugs! Stupefy! Stupefy!

And then, in a clear, ringing voice, Little Miss F. yells: PEE HOT SOUP!

Croatian word of the day: vještica witch [vie shti tza]


Spring illusion

Don’t be fooled by the sunshine and bright colours – it’s cold and the wind is brutal.

Croatian word of the day: iluzija illusion [ee lu z i ya]


Second coming… of spring

Local convenience store and ice cream shop Moo-Moo’s this afternoon. We had a preview of spring about a couple of weeks ago. I am hoping that this is the real thing.

Some photo links:

The Jazz Loft Project is an amazing collections of audio recordings and photographs made by W. Eugene Smith during eight years that he lived in ‘the loft’ which also happened to serve as a playground for some of the best jazz musicians ever. There is also a 10 piece radio series which I haven’t listened to yet, but will this weekend. And here you can hear and see a preview at the New York Times.

At the Guardian, you can read a fascinating story about a photograph that came to define class divide in Britain (h/t Dave).

For Johnny Cash aficionados, here is a collection of Folsom Prison photographs.

And take a look at Ashley Gilbertson’s work called Bedrooms of the Fallen. It is an unusual and in many ways effective body of work. There is something that bothers me about it, but I can’t quite put it in words at the moment.

Croatian word of the day: proljeće spring [pro ly e che]


Another photo from yesterday’s shoot. Dr. Duncan McIlroy is showing a rock sample to Senator Fabian Manning with Dr. Ray Gosine, VP Research (Pro tempore), in the back.

Here is a weekend collection of photo links:

Time Magazine has a nice slideshow of Bruce Davidson’s photos. His new book Outside Inside sounds fascinating – a three volume collection of some 800 photographs. The book is available for pre-order from Magnum for $250 US.

David Rochkind is the winner of this year’s WHO’s Images to Stop TB. You can read more about it and see his work at dispatches website.

There is a really nice collection of Dorothea Lange’s photographs at The Selvedge Yard.

The Walrus magazine has a feature by Canadian photographer Donald Weber called Dark Element (text and photos). Weber has won everythign from World Press to Guggenheim for his work in Ukraine and Russia.

Here is an amusing look at the world’s bureaucrats – a selection of photos by Jan Banning. Unfortunately, Banning’s site uses Flash so I can’t send you directly to it. Click on ‘photo series’ in the menu and then choose ‘Bureaucratics.’ (h/t Quipsologies)

Croatian word of the day: birokracija bureaucracy [biro kra tz i ya]



I don’t often post work stuff because, well, it’s mostly talking heads at a podium. Today is an exception just because it was cool news (the university I work at got $3.8 million in funding through Canada Research Chair Program) and I like this photo. Seated from left are Dr. Ray Gosine, Senator Fabian Manning, and Dr. Duncan McIlroy. Back row, from left, are Dr. William Driedzic, Dr. Dale Corbett, and Dr. Qiying Chen.

Croatian word of the day: istraživači researchers [istra zhi va chi]


Lisa Moore in the Guardian

About a month ago, I photographed Newfoundland author Lisa Moore for the Guardian. Today, the Guardian ran the photos and the piece Lisa wrote on grief. Her latest novel, February, is shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. If I ever manage to get through my grad school readings, that is going to be the first thing on my reading list.

This is not the photo the Guardian ran, but it is one that made my heart skip a beat. The morning I took the photos was very cold. Lisa suggested Signal Hill as a location, which was fine. Except, up there it wasn’t just cold, but very windy as well. As she stood on top of that concrete curb, a gust of wind made her stagger. The last thing I wanted was a photo of Lisa Moore falling into the North Atlantic in January.

Croatian word of the day: roman novel


Reggie’s closes

A friend on facebook just announced that Reggie’s closed (it’s facebook, so take that with a grain of salt). Reggie’s was a small diner on Germain street in Saint John, New Brunswick. A truly unique place. Miss F and I (and, eventually, Little Miss F as well) made it a family tradition to walk down for a Sunday breakfast at Reggie’s. I have a lot of memories associated with that place.There was a little old fashioned high chair with Winnie the Pooh carved on it’s back that both girls thought of as their own.

Sometime in 2005 I took a series of photographs in Reggie’s that eventually became a multimedia piece you can see above.

Saint John is a strange place. It doesn’t really have much going for it, but it sort of grows on you. Reggie’s is one of the reasons I will always feel that Saint John is home.

Croatian word of the day: tuga sorrow


Kitchen table mapping, Change Islands, Luminous Lint

As of today, I have managed to transfer two years of entries (2004 and 2009) to the new blog. That leaves me with only four more years to go.

My quick trip to Change Islands has been a resounding success with quite a bit of work accomplished in terms of actual fieldwork as well as planning for the rest of my MA studies. The photo above was made last summer during the ‘kitchen table mapping’ process led by the principal investigator in the project I am a part of. Essentially, through the conversations with the islanders he managed to significantly improve maps of the area that will, hopefully, allow local residents to come up with development projects suitable for their environemnt. It was a fascinating process to observe and it really helped me understand the importance of local geographic knowledge and how much of it could be lost so easily.

On this trip, I did manage to shoot a few rolls of film and am hoping to find time to develop it over the next few days.

A photo link – only one today because I could spend days on Alan Griffiths’ site. The man has created one of the most comprehensive photography websites I have ever seen. Do yourself a favour and check out Luminous Lint.

Croatian word of the day: otočani islanders [oto cha ni]