Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Estuary: the Englishman River reaches the sea. Deciding on what story to tell.

It was time to explore the estuary of this Vancouver Island river ( see earlier posts) and we arrived at the beach when the spawning herring were being eaten by every creature that could swim or fly. Flocks of gulls, long lines of Brant geese, sea lions, porpoises, and the ever present eagles animated the grey overcast day: a calm, ethereal seascape with action added.

I found too that nature was not the only element along the shoreline; an RV park for refugees from colder Canadian climes lined one bank and made a great contrast to the inland mountains with their tree cloaked slopes and icy tops, and while if we faced to seaward all was natural, at our backs were lines of houses. Here man and his works were part of the landscape and while it was possible to frame them out, it would not have told an accurate story.

It reminded me how selective photography can be in presenting what purports to be a 'true record' and how our biases can be hidden behind the 'objective lens'. That collection of metal, movable homes clashed with the greater landscape and the 'nature' story I might wish to tell, and I could easily filter them out. I needed to decide at the photographing stage what my story was to be. I chose balance.

This is what makes photography such a great propaganda tool, we choose our story and photograph to suit.

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