Things Lined Up Haphazardly

on a grey day…

Monumental-PoplarsThe tree images are in-camera double exposures. One exposure is a still shot and the other is made with camera movement (I think it’s worth clicking on the top image to see it larger). Today is sunny, though, and just warm enough for a bit of melting but there’s not too much spring here yet.


Wired-StarlingsIn spite of winter’s extensive embrace the birds seem rather cheerful. There is lots of singing and fluttering outside my window. I hope they don’t mind another 10-15 cm of snow that is apparently on its way… These are restless starlings ‘vibrating’ on a power line and even though they are out focus I sort of like the smudgy charcoal look of them. Well, happy (sort of) spring.    : )

© Karen McRae, 2014

Collaboration, Creativity and KIN Fables

fog-spiritsFog spirit, © Seb McKinnon with original photography by Karen McRae

I’m quite excited to present some amazing work by Montreal artist Seb McKinnon, starting with the little collaboration above. To create this image Seb worked by shape-shifting three of my photographs together until he conjured up an ethereal fog spirit in the landscape.

When I asked him to describe his creative process these are a few of the words he sent me, “As an illustrator, I’ve developed a personal technique that relies heavily on creating chaos in order to find my subject. In other words, I mess up the canvas in a very subconscious way with digital tools, a very intuitive process, quick actions, quick responses…”

I think this technique is illustrated very nicely when one travels through the collection of artwork on Seb’s blog, which I have had the pleasure of following for the past few years.

Back to the little fog spirit. It is part of much bigger story; Seb is no ordinary illustrator.


KIN Mask Concepts © Seb McKinnon

He, and his brother, filmmaker Ben McKinnon, have been working together on a gorgeous trilogy of short films called KIN Fables which bring together Seb’s extraordinary artistic vision, Ben’s outstanding cinematography, and a myriad of other talented collaborators. Even the haunting music score (Clann) that runs through the eight minute film was composed by Seb.

I hope you take a few minutes to experience the magic of the first film, KIN, which has already won some cinematography awards and was recently featured as a Vimeo staff pick. You won’t be disappointed!

To help support the making of the next two films, Salvage and Requiem, the McKinnon brothers have a Kickstarter campaign on the go until the end of March. You can visit their Kickstarter page here to learn more about the trilogy, and to see some of Seb’s inspired artwork made just for KIN Fables and contributors to the project.

I’m honoured, too, to have been invited to collaborate artistically! I’ll be making some photographs to support the multimedia aspect of the project, which, along with photography, includes a graphic novel, a full length music album, and paintings and illustrations.

You can watch the Kickstarter video below to find out more about this inspiring project, and you’ll “meet” the McKinnon brothers too! This where the power of community and collaboration come together and make things happen.

Places to go ~

Kickstarter: KIN Fables Kickstarter
Production: Five Knights Production
Facebook: KIN Fables

Kin Fables in the Media ~

The Concordion: KIN fables: ‘a musical, visual journey into fable’

The Main (Montreal): KIN, A Journey into Modern Fable

knight&girlKnight & Girl © Seb McKinnon

Road Stories



A winter sky and roadside grasses. The sky actually looked just like this, with rainbow colours shimmering at the edges of the clouds. The little bird flew right into the frame just as I pressed the shutter.

[Photographs made while riding in a moving car.]

© Karen McRae, 2014


TrichotomyThe little foot paths in our minds, firm and grooved from gentle barefoot pacing.

[An in-camera triple exposure layered with another photograph]
© Karen McRae, 2014

World Wildlife Day

Rock-Iguana1Since today is the first(!) official World Wildlife Day I thought I would post some photographs of an at-risk species I was introduced to on my trip to the Bahamas. These are Bahamian Rock Iguanas that live on many of the small islands in the Exuma Cays. These iguanas are on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List as a threatened species. On some islands there are a number of factors putting them at risk such as poaching and other (introduced) animals including cats, dogs and feral pigs (more about the pigs later!), but I was particularly interested in the impact of ecotourism (since I was there as a tourist myself) and the fact that they are often fed by people visiting the islands.

As our boat pulled up to the sandy beach one could see many iguanas sitting there on the sand, and oddly they didn’t move away when our small group stepped out of the boat and walked to the shore. These wild reptiles are now quite familiar with human intrusion and have little fear. They were waiting for food. As honoured as I felt to be walking among these beautiful creatures their lack of fear left me kind of unsettled.

If you want to delve further into the complicated relationship between tourism and conservation here is a paper evaluating just that: Effects of ecotourism on endangered northern Bahamian Rock Iguanas (Cyclura cyclura)
Hines, K. 2011. Herpetological Conservation and Biology Vol 6, No. 2:250–259]


And here are some interesting facts about the Northern Bahamian rock iguana from the Bahamas National Trust website:

  • Rock iguanas used to be eaten by early inhabitants of The Bahamas. Today it is illegal to harm or capture a Rock iguana.
  • The Andros Rock iguana is the largest iguana in The Bahamas and can attain a length of nearly five to six feet.
  • The most threatened Bahamian iguanas are the San Salvador iguanas.
  • The serrated ridge along the spine of the Rock iguana radiates excess heat from the iguana’s body. In territorial displays this ridge makes the iguana appear larger to its adversaries.
  • Iguanas are equipped with breakable tails which cleave off neatly when seized by a hand or a predator.A new tail begins to regenerate immediately.
  • Rock iguanas can live for up to forty years!


© Karen McRae, 2014