Tag Archives: Assignment 6

Assignment 6 – “Sisu” – Stubborn Perseverance

Artist’s Statement

I chose the little, off-the-beaten track, off-the-grid community of Finn Slough, British Columbia, Canada to study for my interpretation of the Transitions assignment. The community was settled in the 1880’s by Finnish immigrants and is now the last commercial fishing village on the Fraser River and also one of the last tidal communities on the west coast of Canada. The century-old scow houses and gill net houses were built on pilings to protect them from the rising tides.

It is a place that is ruled by nature and more specifically by the ebb and flow of the tide. Situated at the mouth of the Fraser River, which flows out into the Pacific Ocean, makes this little community vulnerable to floods from inland snow pack melts as well as rising ocean levels.  The environment at Finn Slough literally shifts in shapes and colours, reminding us of regeneration and mortality “for you are dust, and to dust you shall return (Genesis 3:19). The cycle of nature is so evident in this ancient habitat as we see nature revealing structures, objects and views in certain months and then reclaiming them in others. The flotsam and jetsam that are washed up in the slough are collected by the residents and displayed as decorations and mementos, each being regenerated in a new purpose, and carrying someone else’s memories, but still subject to nature’s cycle of life.  There is a latent fluidity to Finn Slough where one gradually becomes aware of the shift and change of time. What is left now is a pervading sense of loss and a memory of a time gone by. Nature and time are slowly eroding the Finn Slough community.

 


Preparation, Planning and Reflection

All my preparation, planning posts and experiments for this assignment can be seen in more detail here.  Having discovered this location when working on an assignment for Art of Photography and finding myself totally fascinated with the environment, it became an obvious choice for this assignment. I chose to shoot on a monthly basis, and researched the tide tables for each month in order to find out when high and low tides occurred as I wanted to convey the changes during these times as this is a central theme to this assignment. These appear in my planning posts. In the middle of the project I moved 430 km away, but continued to visit the location each month to shoot, but was severely hampered in my choice of time to shoot.

In reflecting on this assignment I find that the doll could be an iconic signifier representing the residents of Finn Slough (they come, they go, they die – without being disrespectful as one of the residents did pass away while I was shooting the project). While the boat, Eva represents commodification (an indexical signifier), the gill net house with its barriers of blackberry bushes suggests a dying way of life.

This assignment has confirmed my views that landscape is fluid and ever changing.  As the months passed, I found myself quite invested in this space. It was almost as if I had also become part of this landscape. I found myself looking forward to looking at and discovering the minute and sometimes drastic changes that occurred throughout Finn Slough. I was quite dismayed to discover one of the residents had passed away, and similarly when the houseboat residents (and the houseboat) left (even though I had never met them), and rather saddened when the doll disappeared for good. I marveled at the change of the colour of the water, which told stories of mudslides in the interior of British Columbia in November 2018.

I derived the name of my assignment from Finn Slough’s motto which is the Finnish word “Sisu” which translated into English means “severe perseverance”, a very apt motto for this landscape.

If I could have done something different in this assignment, it would have been to include sunrise and sunset times in the set which I had initially planned to do, but which was not practical after my move.


ASSESSMENT CRITERIA

Demonstration of technical and visual skills: Materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills.

Overall, I am pleased with this assignment. In many of my viewpoints where I took the photographs I was limited to where I could stand so did not use a tripod. I found myself often climbing over logs, contending with prickly blackberry bushes and informational signs that were erected since a previous visit. I used my 18-140 lens and tried to keep to the same focal length throughout but occasionally had to zoom in to a scene in order to exclude something that would have detracted from the idea I was following, and thus I made a conscious decision to exclude the object. I also decided to document changes to some of the flotsam and jetsam objects that arrived at Finn Slough, e.g. the doll, to see how they would be impacted over this time period.

I managed to record a variety of weather conditions as well, although it was not pleasant shooting in the rain, if truth be told. The varying tonalities in the photographs also contribute to the ever-changing landscape.

The photographs are presented as a slideshow which draws the viewer in to observe the subtle changes happening to the landscape over the twelve month period. This allows the narrative to be tied together.

 

Quality of Outcome: Content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, with discernment. Conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas.

I presented my WIPs during various Google Hangouts (Live Forum – 9 September, 2018; Landscape Google Hangout, 21 March, 2019) and discussed one aspect of the feedback I had received during the LiveForum regarding the inconsistent horizon lines with my tutor, who assured me that this did not constitute a problem as far as he was concerned. Otherwise the feedback that I received was good. It was generally agreed in both hangouts that music or sound would not add anything to the slideshow, but might in fact prove to be distracting. A few ideas were discussed regarding the ordering of the segments which I have taken on board.

 

Demonstration of Creativity: Imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice.

When I decided on shooting at this location I decided to shoot organically and repeat each view in the subsequent months. There were about thirty-two views that I captured each session. Going into the project I knew that I would to include the boat, Eva as this is an historical icon of the community as well as representing commodification. The other two segments were only decided upon when I was putting the slideshow together.  I did experiment with different methods of presentation (see planning post) and settled on presenting the photographs in a slideshow. I made the slideshow through LightRoom which worked well and managed to keep the length of slideshow down to under 3 minutes without the slideshow feeling rushed.

 

Context: Reflection, research (evidenced in learning logs). Critical thinking (evidenced in critical review).

The write ups on the other photographers that I researched for this assignment can be accessed via the links below:

I have also caught up on my to-do list which  is now complete.

  • I also did an online course in colour correcting in LightRoom which I found incredibly informative and hope will help resolve the issues I was having with printing my assignment 1 images.
  • I discovered the work of Meghan Krauss whose work ties in with my tourist gaze project (assignment 5).
  • During the Landscape Google Hangout the photo books of Shona Grant was mentioned and I took a look at her work for future reference.

I am still planning on going to Vancouver to attend some of the exhibitions of the Capture Photography festival which begins in April, and will add those write ups to my blog before assessment.

Bibliography

CBC Radio (2017) As a B.C. fishing village is slowly submerged, meet the people who refuse to leave [online] CBC Radio. Available at: https://www.cbc.ca/radio/docproject/fighting-to-save-your-home-from-rising-waters-1.4314481/as-a-b-c-fishing-village-is-slowly-submerged-meet-the-people-who-refuse-to-leave-1.4314487 (Accessed 29 March, 2019)

Dorrington, David (n.d.) A Small History of Finn Slough [online] Available at: http://finnslough.com/ (Accessed 29 March, 2019)

Genesis 3:19 In: New American Standard Bible [online] Bible Gateway. Available at: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=genesis+3%3A19&version=NASB (Accessed 29 March, 2019)

Meghan (2013) Visit Historic Fishing Village Finn Slough [online] Inside Vancouver. Available at: https://www.insidevancouver.ca/2013/08/05/visit-historic-fishing-village-finn-slough/ (Accessed 29 March, 2019)

Assignment 6 – “Sisu” – Stubborn Perseverance – Rework

Artist’s Statement

I chose the little, off-the-beaten track, off-the-grid community of Finn Slough, British Columbia, Canada to study for my interpretation of the Transitions assignment. The community was settled in the 1880’s by Finnish immigrants and is now the last commercial fishing village on the Fraser River and also one of the last tidal communities on the west coast of Canada. The century-old scow houses and gill net houses were built on pilings to protect them from the rising tides.

It is a place that is ruled by nature and more specifically by the ebb and flow of the tide. Situated at the mouth of the Fraser River, which flows out into the Pacific Ocean, makes this little community vulnerable to floods from inland snow pack melts as well as rising ocean levels.  The environment at Finn Slough literally shifts in shapes and colours, reminding us of regeneration and mortality “for you are dust, and to dust you shall return (Genesis 3:19). The cycle of nature is so evident in this ancient habitat as we see nature revealing structures, objects and views in certain months and then reclaiming them in others. The flotsam and jetsam that are washed up in the slough are collected by the residents and displayed as decorations and mementos, each being regenerated in a new purpose, and carrying someone else’s memories, but still subject to nature’s cycle of life.  There is a latent fluidity to Finn Slough where one gradually becomes aware of the shift and change of time. What is left now is a pervading sense of loss and a memory of a time gone by. Nature and time are slowly eroding the Finn Slough community.

Preparation, Planning and Reflection

All my preparation, planning posts and experiments for this assignment can be seen in more detail here.  Having discovered this location when working on an assignment for Art of Photography and finding myself totally fascinated with the environment, it became an obvious choice for this assignment. I chose to shoot on a monthly basis, and researched the tide tables for each month in order to find out when high and low tides occurred as I wanted to convey the changes during these times as this is a central theme to this assignment. These appear in my planning posts. In the middle of the project I moved 430 km away, but continued to visit the location each month to shoot, but was severely hampered in my choice of time to shoot.

In reflecting on this assignment I find that the doll could be an iconic signifier representing the residents of Finn Slough (they come, they go, they die – without being disrespectful as one of the residents did pass away while I was shooting the project). While the boat, Eva represents commodification (an indexical signifier), the gill net house with its barriers of blackberry bushes suggests a dying way of life.

This assignment has confirmed my views that landscape is fluid and ever changing.  As the months passed, I found myself quite invested in this space. It was almost as if I had also become part of this landscape. I found myself looking forward to looking at and discovering the minute and sometimes drastic changes that occurred throughout Finn Slough. I was quite dismayed to discover one of the residents had passed away, and similarly when the houseboat residents (and the houseboat) left (even though I had never met them), and rather saddened when the doll disappeared for good. I marveled at the change of the colour of the water, which told stories of mudslides in the interior of British Columbia in November 2018.

I derived the name of my assignment from Finn Slough’s motto which is the Finnish word “Sisu” which translated into English means “severe perseverance”, a very apt motto for this landscape.

If I could have done something different in this assignment, it would have been to include sunrise and sunset times in the set which I had initially planned to do, but which was not practical after my move.


ASSESSMENT CRITERIA

Demonstration of technical and visual skills: Materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills.

Overall, I am pleased with this assignment. In many of my viewpoints where I took the photographs I was limited to where I could stand so did not use a tripod. I found myself often climbing over logs, contending with prickly blackberry bushes and informational signs that were erected since a previous visit. These objects were obstacles I had to contend with in order to access my chosen viewpoints. I used my 18-140 lens and tried to keep to the same focal length throughout but occasionally had to zoom in to a scene in order to exclude something that would have detracted from the idea I was following, and thus I made a conscious decision to exclude the object. I also decided to document changes to some of the flotsam and jetsam objects that arrived at Finn Slough, e.g. the doll, to see how they would be impacted over this time period.

I managed to record a variety of weather conditions as well, although it was not pleasant shooting in the rain, if truth be told. The varying tonalities in the photographs also contribute to the ever-changing landscape.

The photographs are presented as a slideshow which draws the viewer in to observe the subtle changes happening to the landscape over the twelve month period. This allows the narrative to be tied together.

 

Quality of Outcome: Content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, with discernment. Conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas.

I believe the superimposition of the images in the slideshow contributes to the notion of transitions, the slight fade at the end of each image providing a clue to a forthcoming transition.  Stepping away from the norm of reading from left to right/right to left (depending where one is from in the world), the viewer receives each image “front on”, and this fixes the viewer’s attention on the screen allowing him/her to ponder and look around the frame for  similarities and differences, changes in the seasons and the tides. The fact that slideshow is timed so the viewer cannot fast forward or skip over any segment, replicates to some extent nature’s effects on the landscape over which we have no control.

I presented my WIPs during various Google Hangouts (Live Forum – 9 September, 2018; Landscape Google Hangout, 21 March, 2019) The feedback that I received was good. It was generally agreed in both hangouts that music or sound would not add anything to the slideshow, but might in fact prove to be distracting. A few ideas were discussed regarding the ordering of the segments which I have taken on board.

 

Demonstration of Creativity: Imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice.

When I decided on shooting at this location I decided to shoot organically and repeat each view in the subsequent months. There were about thirty-two views that I captured each session. Going into the project I knew that I would to include the boat, Eva as this is an historical icon of the community as well as representing commodification. The other two segments were only decided upon when I was putting the slideshow together.  I did experiment with different methods of presentation (see planning post) and settled on presenting the photographs in a slideshow. I made the slideshow through LightRoom which worked well and managed to keep the length of slideshow down to under 3 minutes without the slideshow feeling rushed.

 

Context: Reflection, research (evidenced in learning logs). Critical thinking (evidenced in critical review).

The write ups on the other photographers that I researched for this assignment can be accessed via the links below:

I have also caught up on my to-do list which  is now complete.

  • I also did an online course in colour correcting in LightRoom which I found incredibly informative and hope will help resolve the issues I was having with printing my assignment 1 images.
  • I discovered the work of Meghan Krauss whose work ties in with my tourist gaze project (assignment 5).
  • During the Landscape Google Hangout the photo books of Shona Grant was mentioned and I took a look at her work for future reference.

I am still planning on going to Vancouver to attend some of the exhibitions of the Capture Photography festival which begins in April, and will add those write ups to my blog before assessment.

Bibliography

CBC Radio (2017) As a B.C. fishing village is slowly submerged, meet the people who refuse to leave [online] CBC Radio. Available at: https://www.cbc.ca/radio/docproject/fighting-to-save-your-home-from-rising-waters-1.4314481/as-a-b-c-fishing-village-is-slowly-submerged-meet-the-people-who-refuse-to-leave-1.4314487 (Accessed 29 March, 2019)

Dorrington, David (n.d.) A Small History of Finn Slough [online] Available at: http://finnslough.com/ (Accessed 29 March, 2019)

Genesis 3:19 In: New American Standard Bible [online] Bible Gateway. Available at: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=genesis+3%3A19&version=NASB (Accessed 29 March, 2019)

Meghan (2013) Visit Historic Fishing Village Finn Slough [online] Inside Vancouver. Available at: https://www.insidevancouver.ca/2013/08/05/visit-historic-fishing-village-finn-slough/ (Accessed 29 March, 2019)

Feedback on Presentation for Assignment 6

I have now narrowed down my segments that I want to present as possible options for Assignment 6 to include the boat segment (I call this one Eva, which is actually the name of the boat. This one is a given to include in the presentation as it represents the essence of Finn Slough) and then either the doll, the shells or the gill net house. I put together a few combination videos and have uploaded them to the Landscape Google Hangout Team drive so that I can get some feedback from my peers at our next hangout. They can also be seen here:

Doll-Eva-Gillnet House:

Shells-Eva-Gillnet House

Doll-Eva-Shells

I will report back after the hangout.

Update post hangout

So the hangout went well. Most of the students on the hangout were able to see the three options that I had uploaded to our shared Team Drive and I distributed a link to my Vimeo site for those who were not able to open the files. I received very positive feedback on the content of the videos, and it was agreed that sound or music was not needed. The consensus was that the doll/Eva/gillnet house combination was the stronger option and a suggestion was made to change the order of the segments. The doll segment ends with a frame of greenery and the gill net house begins with a frame of greenery and the river is introduced in the gillnet house segment which leads to the Eva segment. It was felt that if I changed the order to doll/gillnet house/Eva this would create a better segue into each segment. One of the students also mentioned that it would create a more memorable impression if I finished with the main segment. All good points to take into consideration.

Time Stacking Experiment

I was reading fellow student Nuala Mahon’s Assignment 6 on Transitions and noticed with interest some of the references she used in her Bibliography. I became rather intrigued with the one techniques – namely time stacking – and as I was busy with the exercise on creating a slideshow, I decided to see what this would look like and if I could possibly use it in my final assignment.

Using the methodology described by Matt Malloy in his video tutorial I dragged all twelve images of the fishing boat Eva into Photoshop Elements — yes I know — I need to upgrade to the real thing. I then decided to align the top of the roof of the Dinner Plate School house in the photo throughout all the images and use that as an anchoring focus point that would have minimal blur. I hid all the layers, then working on one at a time slowly aligned the the top of the roof and changed the blending modes to lighten on each layer. According to Matt this only adds the sections of the photo that are brighter than the one below. So far I was liking the effect. Once this was completed I flattened and merged the images and adjusted contrast and highlights. The result is quite Impressionistic I think and I am now wondering if I can incorporate this into my final assignment in some fashion.  I think I was right in using the tip of the roof as an anchoring point because this creates a little ambiguity in the image if one looks at the shape of the boat – there is a distinct effect of movement there as the boat’s position was affected by the tides as well as giving it an ethereal feel to the image. I’ll have to experiment with my other images and see if they will also work as well.

12 months – Eva and Dinner Plate Schoolhouse by Lynda Kuit
References

Malloy, Matt (2015) . This Time Stack Technique Turns Landscapes Into Dreamy Impressionist Images [online]. 500px Blog. Available at: https://iso.500px.com/time-stack-photo-tutorial/. (Accessed 4 December, 2018)

July 2018 Shoot for Plan A

Just one more month to go and I’ll be done with this marathon project. I need to turn my attention to how I’m going to present it and start working on that. Looking back the time really has flown by and this assignment has used up a lot of my time.

There have been quite a few changes that happened this last month. It would seem that the resident living in the house boat has moved – house boat and all. There were some views that were previously blocked and it was only after I had taken the image of the house boat location (first image) that I realised it was missing. So there is now a new angle to photograph the Dinner Plate Island School house and the Eva boat. The day was very cloudy and the light wasn’t too great the day that I did my shoot, but c’est lat vie, I suppose. The vegetation overall has undergone a subtle shift in green hues in that it has taken on a slight yellowish hue and it would seem that some leaves are beginning to change colour already. Hopefully this doesn’t fore-spell an early winter!

With the houseboat residents left all the garbage cans that have been outside their “pavement” for the past couple of months now makes sense. They were obviously having a huge clean out. Their “pavement” now is totally overgrown – all the little nick-knacks covered in vegetation.

It seems that someone has trimmed the tree where the rag doll was left and I was quite surprised to see it once again this month, looking rather worse for wear having withstood all the weather that has been thrown at it, but still relatively whole.

There were a few locations where I normally shoot that I wasn’t able to access this month due to overgrown vegetation and also huge amounts of clutter being piled onto decks which I usually manage to clamber over, but this time there was gaping hole in the deck itself so I wasn’t going to risk it. The memorial that was placed on the bench last month is just down to a vase of flowers now.

All the flurry of repairs that were happening over the last two months seem to have ground to a halt. Lumber is strewn all along the road in front of the houses ready to be used either in repairs jobs or for fire wood.

Finn Slough – 19 July, 2018 – 3 hours 19 minutes after low tide (1.9 metres and 2 hours 7 minutes before high tide (3.1 metres)

July 2018 Tide Table for Steveston Harbour

June 2018 Shoot for Plan A

I’m nearing the completion of shooting for this assignment – only two more months to go. One the one hand I’ll be quite relieved not to have to come to this location (mainly because of the distance I now have to travel to get to it — its a 4.5 hour trip for me) and on the other hand it will be quite bitter-sweet to relinquish the location. Over the months shooting I have almost come to feel rather proprietary about this location which is probably due to the amount of time I have vested here. Next April I will definitely make sure that I take part in the Finn Slough Art Exhibition. I had planned on doing it this year, but it was during the time when we were busy packing up the house for a move.

Nature has continued to claim the slough this past month. The river bed is completely grassed over to the extent that one could easily be forgiven for not thinking there was a river between the houses. I see the owner of the gill net house has trimmed the entrance so that the deck and pathway are once again visible. The little doll has been totally covered over by the foliage. I spent quite a bit of time checking to see that she was still there. I wonder what condition she will be in by the time winter rolls around again? The shell decoration is also covered with verdant growth. The residents have been quite busy bringing about repairs. One of them is replacing the pilings to his house. I don’t envy him getting down into that mud to do that job.  The transitions have not been confined to tides, nature and weather. Sadly since my last visit it seems that there has been a passing away of one of the residents. A memorial was set up on the bench across the bridge. I don’t know who the gentleman is but I have a feeling that he is from one of the original Finnish families that settled here.

Finn Slough – 9 June, 2018 – 50 minutes after low tide (1.8 metres and 5 hours 10 minutes before high tide (3.2 metres)

June 2018 Tide Table for Steveston Harbour

May 2018 Shoot for Plan A

I’ve had to play some catch up and shoot twice this month in order to get my monthly shooting on track again as I am now about 495 km from my transitions site. Within the few weeks since I was last here it has become evident that nature really does reclaim this site in the spring and summer. One of my views that I completely missed last time was almost missed again this time. Now I know the reason why I missed it last time. The foliage has almost totally overgrown the entrance to the gill net house (8th image) and I must have walked past it a couple of times this time, checking behind cars parked next to hedges when I just caught a slight glimmer of it peaking through the foliage – now I really don’t feel so bad for missing it on the previous shoot. The doll that was placed in the bush is still there (I checked very carefully), but it is almost invisible to the viewer now (6th image). Many of my views are becoming restricted due to the growth of the foliage, but I will keep those views as close to the original locations as I can in order to keep the narrative true to form. After uploading my images I noticed that I had changed my focal length a bit on some of my images – trying to shoot past foliage I suppose. I will have to keep my eye on this for my subsequent shoots. The different tones of green in this location at this time of the year have been stunning. Everything looks new and fresh – that lovely light green/lime tone of early spring. The low tide today was quite high (2.5 metres) and I think that is partly due to the Fraser River which has been in flood for about a month, which would account for the muddy hue of the water. The location of Finn Slough is quite unique as it is located at the mouth of the river and is also influenced by the Pacific Ocean tides.

Finn Slough – 22 May, 2018 – 2 hours 33 minutes after low tide (2.5 metres and 1 hour 28 minutes before high tide (3 metres)

May 2018 Tide Table for Steveston Harbour