Canadian Kitsch

LivinginaHuuryI admit Kitsch is not ever usually what I’m after photographically, but this image just somehow seems to me an embodiment of landscape sentimentality and it got me thinking about how we perceive images and how difficult it is to make something new.

I photographed the landscape (slow shutter speed and camera movement), and the duck separately and then merged them together in Photoshop. It immediately made me uncomfortable and it took me a little while to figure out why.

Here’s the thing; I feel like I have seen the essence of this image a million times in a million different ways over my lifetime. As though it holds the spirit of so many images (sculpture, painting, photography, …) that came before it. I realize, also, that the composition is imperfect and I think it adds to that sense of kitsch.

Most images echo back to the past in some way, but this photograph seemed particularly striking to me. How does a bird in flight hold so much meaning? And why does it make me feel a bit wobbly? I suppose it is the idea of finding that you have made something that has been made a million times already. The same , only different.

© Karen McRae, 2013