Friday, January 27, 2012


Bear with me. I'm working  out how  the idea of branching  is going to play out in my new work. 

My last post included inspiration shots of what other artists  have done with the idea of branching.  Now it's time for me to start narrowing things down.  One of the ways I do that is to list all the possible ways to go and then begin to whittle them down to something I am interested in.  Then I go through my photos to see if there's anything there to prompt  me.  My own photos  or photos of family history make it personal.  I usually find I have been attracted to ideas before I label them.That's what happened with my wallpaper and object work in the Remnants series.

I started with these documentation photos  I received from a relative. They  that were taken of the homes in  Argentia, a community where my father's family lived.  They were resettled into neighbouring communities when a US Naval Base was scheduled for construction on the site of their town.  Newfoundland had three US bases in its history.

Apart from the aching sadness  I feel for all the  families, one of the things that hits me in the photographs are all the fences that direct the flow of foot traffic and keep people out or animals in.   I was surprised by how prominent fences were in a place that was described to me in very idyllic terms from the time I could walk and talk.   How sad  that all this marking of territory was for naught because they lost it all in the end , and received an embarrassingly small sum for their properties.


fences  divide in different directions

 One house , two branches of a family

one branch of a family often lived in close proximity to another
 a business branching out

branching fences to protect livestock

 the prominent use of tree branches for fencing and firewood (protection)

 How Argentia looked in my father's day.

 The main runway and side arteries branching from it that provided the new boundaries for this once fishing community..  My family lived around the pond that can be see at the upper left. 

I have no idea who the original photographer of these  photos was but I give  credit for capturing a dying community.
Perhaps all of this isn't really about branching at all , but, rather, one idea branching into another.  So it goes.


Carole said...

Margaret, I am enjoying hearing your thoughts and seeing the images that are inspiring you.

hw (hallie) farber said...

Such beautiful photographs. I can't help but think "form follows function." Such starkness and beauty; the only decorative elements seem to be the windows and the fences. I wonder what it was like in warm weather--maybe idyllic?

Margaret Ryall said...

Thanks for your comments. I am just doing my usual mental and visual wanderings right now and waiting for "the" idea to present itself.

I wish I had photos of the summer months but I don't think my family members had a camera while they lived there. My father spoke often of the fun they had as children and the games they played. He always made it sound like such a lovely place. In reality it is flat, devoid of trees and very barren. The more I look at these photos the more I know I want to use them in some way.

Martha Marshall said...

I love your investigation into this vein of family and memory and terrain. Will be interesting to see where it takes you.