Sylvia Galbraith, Photographer

Silver Creek Photography,
Fergus, Ontario

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Sylvia Galbraith, Photographer

Silver Creek Photography,
Fergus, Ontario

"Outside of Time"

 

“Everything that moves, whether animate or inanimate, is a flow system. All flow systems generate shape and structure in time in order to facilitate this movement across landscape filled with resistance or friction. The designs we see in nature are not a result of chance. They arise naturally, spontaneously, because they enhance access to flow in time.” 

                                                                                            – Adrian Bejan, Design in Nature, 2012. 
 

Rocks presume a sense of stability, constancy and strength- we imagine them as immoveable and unchanging. Yet they are neither static nor solitary – they exist within a slow progression of time, incrementally changing, or being changed by their environment and other events.  They are hardened liquid, molded, shaped, tossed, and split.  Mountains are ground down and softened by time and weather.  Geological texts describe this activity as “flowing” or “folded and bent” – a history of land and time.

This concept sets the framework for my on-going photographic investigations of ancient landforms throughout Canada, places that reveal some of the oldest rocks on earth, where ancient mountain ranges are still in evidence.  I locate areas where rock has been transformed, often in violent ways, where patterned shapes in the present-day strata mirror the forces that created them. As the scale increases or diminishes, patterns are repeated, creating order and symmetry out of apparent chaos.  I discover micro/macro worlds, scenes that hint at another world, views that mimic grander vistas.  Presented as large-scale prints, the photographs demonstrate an ambiguity of scale, as sense of disorientation that borders on "artifice".

Upon closer inspection, visual clues come into focus - a shell, plant, or other object reveals the true scale, confirming the scene has been accurately recorded within the boundaries of the viewfinder.  Weather and light impose structure on the compositions.  Low or diffused light animates forms in the rock face; rain paints vivid colours on dull shale, and animates dead vegetation.  Light is not inherent to the subject; instead it is the addition of the present moment onto the surfaces of the past.  I photograph the on-going effects of time on the physical landforms, and through careful framing and use of light create a marriage between the creativity of art, the precision of science and the narrative of history.

Through my photographs, I illustrate how these spectacular landforms change so abruptly as one moves from east to west across the country, almost as a way of unravelling history.  All of these regions continue to change in incremental ways through a gradual process of natural events and human interaction, especially as people filter into the most remote areas.  Yet the bones - the original forms -  stand out, providing us with clues to the past. 

Image Galleries:   Georgian Bay    Newfoundland
 

© 2018 Sylvia Galbraith.