I follow a pretty wide range of blogs – photography, geocaching, hiking, travel, cooking, and more. About a month ago a new post appeared on one of the photography blogs, Nick Exposed. Calling all Creatives invited followers to take part in a Quotography collaboration. The idea of taking a quotation (famous or not) and visualizing it as a photograph sounded intriguing, so I asked to join the project.
Step one was to submit 3 quotations to the collaboration:
- I don’t care how poor a man is; if he has family, he’s rich.
~Dan Wilcox and Thad Mumford, “Identity Crisis,” M*A*S*H
- It’s never just an ordinary day.
~ slogan for the Calgary Science School
- Nature does nothing uselessly.
The co-hosts of the collaboration completed step two by distributing three quotations to each participant. After that, it was up to each photographer to translate words to pictures. The deadline was May 5th, but for some reason my brain registered the completion date as May 15th (perhaps a subconscious mix-up with the date for ADAY.ORG), so I planned to work on the project while serving as parent volunteer for a 4 day/3 night grade 7 class trip to Fort Steele, an 1890s heritage town in the East Kootenay region of British Columbia. Fortunately, the hosts were of the view that a late submission is better than no submission, so here goes…
Submission #1 – If you can dream it, You can do it! ~ Walt Disney
Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. MacDonald, dreamed of building a cross-Canada railway connecting Montreal, PQ to Victoria, BC. In fact, the promise of the trans-Canadian railway was a key reason British Columbia joined the Confederation of Canada in 1871. The Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) mainline was constructed between 1881 and 1885 and for decades was the only practical means of long-distance passenger transport in most regions of Canada. In fact, the CPR was instrumental in the settlement and development of Western Canada. In the late 1890s, due to difficult negotiations between R.L.T. Galbraith, who owned the townsite of Fort Steele, and the C.P.R., who demanded a substantial portion of land in exchange for bringing the railroad to the town, the decision was made to bypass Fort Steele and make Cranbrook the divisional stop. Although a spur line was later constructed to connect Fort Steele to the mainline, it was too late to save the North West Mounted Police fort from slowly fading away.
During their trip to Fort Steele, the grade 7 class spent half a day “constructing” a short section of railway track, including setting the ties and laying the rails. It was hard work and involved the use of purpose-specific tools, including tie tongs, special spike hammers and rail lifts. As they worked, the students learned about the $1/day standard rate of pay and the $5/day premium wage commanded by those willing to risk working with nitroglycerin. The afternoon provided the students with a small taste of how difficult life was for the mostly Chinese labourers who brought John A. MacDonald’s dream to fruition.
Submission #2 – So little done, so much to do ~ Cecil John Rhodes
I first spotted a pair of nesting tree swallows when they kept flying around the back yard at the Pioneer House when the grade 7s were learning how to smoke meat. Later in the trip, when the students were under the tutelage of the master leather worker, I headed out in search of the birds and after just a few minutes located their nesting box. Sitting 6 or 8 meters away, camera lens trained on the entry/exit hole for about 15 minutes netted this shot of one of the birds about to enter the nesting box with another load of nest-building materials!
Submission #3 – There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. ~ Albert Einstein
Most days I find something that reminds me that everything is a miracle, so this was the easiest quotation for me to actively visualize as a photo. I knew I was searching for something just emerging from winter or something that survived winter and was very happy to discover some perfectly preserved poppy seed pods in the back yard of one of the old buildings. I really like the juxtaposition of the three hyacinth flowers blurred out in the background, because they allowed me to capture both of the things I was looking for. And the bonus – the grass spider clinging to the side of the seed pod which was only revealed when I viewed the photo on my computer screen!
Thanks very much to Nick and co-host Shannon for organizing this project. It was a lot of fun and I look forward to seeing all of the submissions!