Pursuading Order

There are times when I really notice order. I admit it’s not usually when I’m looking around my house.
It becomes particularly apparent when I’m looking through the camera lens. In a sense I’m always drawn to order even though I don’t always practice it. I like looking at it, I appreciate carefulness and am also drawn to certain repetition and routine. I relish the quiet rhythms of movement in yoga and climbing or cycling and even walking across the earth. I suppose these kinds of order are like a meditation. A way of centreing oneself in an often uncontrollable world. I realize making images is part of this for me. You might be surprised at the number of times I rearrange them on these pages. Thinking about how one image flows to the next or how your eye is drawn through the series.
It makes me think about the sense of order demonstrated by others when I happen across it. Perfectly lined up trees, immaculate summer lawns, thoughtful gardens or carefully placed tools of industry. And then there are natures own brilliant repetitions of shapes, showing up over and over again. There is a comfort in that order.
I like to think I tread lightly on the earth. It may not be so, but when I tread I am always appreciating the natural order that is underfoot, and trying myself to persuade just a little into existence.

White on White

We were gifted with a significant amount of snow yesterday, perhaps more at once than other snowfalls this winter. It’s been a bit of a lean year so far.
You can tell it hasn’t snowed for a while when some of your neighbours appear genuinely excited to be shoveling their driveways. I was also happy to be out in the falling snow. It was warm enough to stick to you thoroughly as you trudged along. All the gritty greyness covered up.

I should, in fact be out skiing right now but I am nursing a knee injury from skiing in less than ideal conditions. Cross country skiing in the hilly back country of Gatineau Park can be pretty challenging and when you are somewhat limited in skill (clumsy) it can mean a lot of…crashing.
In truth, I am not unlike George of the Jungle in my abilities. Where he is swinging along on a rope, I am careening (or plodding) along with 2 boards strapped to my feet. We are both watching out for that tree…

Back to yesterday. Towards the end of the day I was making pictures in low light. They are underexposed and nothing special but somehow they captured that feeling of intimacy that fresh snow seems to evoke. When I looked at them I could picture that snow-covered girl, the one kneeling in the softness trying to steal the last bit of light. Sinking into the fading white on white, pink cheeked, and for a moment, almost graceful.

All images © Karen McRae

Character Development

Caveat lector: More Wrapped Trees

I‘ve come to think of them affectionately as the “Sad Sacks”. It appears there are other emotions at play but I think overall they are finding the winter long. It’s definitely been character building.

It seems these characters are now starting to regard me with a bit suspicion, I wonder what they are thinking…

A young Treeannosaurus Rex perhaps?

Previous wrapped trees can be found here and here.

All images © Karen McRae

Signs of Life

I‘ve been spying on observing the Fishing Village again.  I sincerely thought about approaching some of the occupants and getting the inside scoop but I decided I like these images from the perspective of an outsider… or maybe I’m just too shy…
Can you call yourself Canadian if you’ve never been ice fishing? Maybe it’s a right of passage. I should find out.

I’m strangely drawn to the trailers. They seem so 70’s to me and in this imperfect light they could be vintage 70’s images. I wonder if they have orange and brown upholstered benches and shag carpeting? I’d like to think so.

Dogs like ice fishing too…
Images © Karen McRae

Hello Alice

Saturday February 22,  1941

A letter from away…

” The night is one of those peculiar to late fall rather than approaching spring.  A ceiling of clouds that appear to be heavily laden with snow, and beneath a margin of strange brilliance that seems always just at the horizon. The air is cold damp and refreshing, bringing with it that urge of the unknown which we ever failingly endeavour to solve, a suggestion that life is still worth living, “though why” we can’t exactly say, nor will we ever be able to do so.
Still the call is there beckoning ever onward to, apparently, the horizon, since there seems no other destination…”    Joe

An excerpt from a letter in our family archives, written by my grandfather, who never came back from the war.

Letter © J.McRae
Image © Karen McRae

The Canadian War Museum 2

If anyone was left wondering what the  War Museum in it’s entirety looks like after my previous Deconstruction post I’ve book-ended this one with two different full views and included a few images I haven’t yet posted. As always you can click on the images for a larger view.

For information about sustainable design and the museum click here
Architect: Raymond Moriyama

All images © Karen McRae

Deconstructing Architecture: The Canadian War Museum

The Canadian War Museum in Ottawa is sustainably designed with the notion of regeneration. At the back it rises gently  out of the landscape in some places barely visible. In the summer its green roof sways with approx 10,684 square metres of native grasses further integrating the building into the surroundings. In the winter I love how minimalist it appears from different angles, how the materials used and the cement in particular, soften against the snow. Every angle intriguing.

While nature may be ravaged by human acts of war, it inevitably survives, regenerates and renews itself.Raymond Moriyama, Architect

All images © Karen McRae