Long Swamp Road Collection
This series features 332 still-life photographs of random objects I found along Long Swamp Road near Moscow, Ontario. During my time living in Moscow, I made it a daily habit to walk at least 7 km. I would follow the gravel country road, passing by farmland and through the swamp. It was during these walks that I became inspired to start my project.
From March 20, 2000, to March 19, 2001, I collected objects along my daily walks, resulting in a total of 332 items over a distance of 2390 km. I sorted these objects into four categories: “Pure Nature,” “Nature Altered by Humans,” “Living Creature,” and “Human Product.” Without a set plan or statement in mind, I simply picked up whichever objects caught my attention and photographed them on my veranda using only sunlight and some diffusers and reflective cards for lighting. To achieve the desired depth of field and image perspective, I used a 4×5 View Camera with a 2 ¼ roll film back. Additionally, I kept a diary of each walk, and I’ve included some excerpts from it alongside the Long Swamp Road photographs.
Excerpts from LSR collection diary.
Day 146, August 12, 2000, Rubber Glove 6th km, 8.30am
14C, Cloudy, No wind
I talked to Gord (my neighbour) in the morning and gave him some red beets. He told me that he has never seen crayfish here. He was very surprised to hear that they live here. Thoughts were about photographs – the round ones of flowers and plants on dark background. Thoughts were also about Rumi, about being transparent, about clear air around me. Also, about lack of opinion and recipe for life. And, about being in all this so fulfilled, peaceful and happy. Over and over this beautiful fragment of music played in my head – Pie Jesu from Requiem by Faure.
ning. It looks like hunting season has started because there are shots all around me. Cold. I record sounds a lot but it absorbs me too much. I don’t like it. I am testing a new digital sound recorder. I almost didn’t pay attention to my walk. At the bridge three pick-up trucks. Most likely the boys are hunting somewhere down the river. There is some road improvement going on. They set up some construction signs and they pick up rocks and soil. I think I will put the “Full cycle” project on hold and I will start now “Moscow – Paris” project and will apply to the Canada Council in March. I have a pretty good vision of this project. There was nothing singing in my head and thoughts were only about sound recording.
Day 190, September 25, 2000, Wild Flower, 8th km, 9.30 am
0C-5C, Sunny, No wind
Like at war in the morning. It looks like hunting season has started because there are shots all around me. Cold. I record sounds a lot but it absorbs me too much. I don’t like it. I am testing a new digital sound recorder. I almost didn’t pay attention to my walk. At the bridge three pick-up trucks. Most likely the boys are hunting somewhere down the river. There is some road improvement going on. They set up some construction signs and they pick up rocks and soil. I think I will put the “Full cycle” project on hold and I will start now “Moscow – Paris” project and will apply to the Canada Council in March. I have a pretty good vision of this project. There was nothing singing in my head and thoughts were only about sound recording.
Day 224, October 29, 2000, Dry plant, 4th km, 8.05am
-5 C, Sunny, Light wind
Change of time to so called normal. That means sunrise will already be around 6.30. Good. I will get up earlier. Today thoughts are about my roots. Grandmothers, Grandfathers and Great Grand Mothers and Great Grand Fathers. Yesterday, an evening talk with my Mom. Mom lately likes to chat and I like very much to listen. I should record that as well. Listening to this gives me a great sense of peace, belonging, reason and continuation. Maybe I should create a family tree. There was something singing in my head but I don’t know the title.
Day 292, January 5, 2001, Tin Can, 7th km, 10.15 am
-4C, Strong wind, Snow is falling vertically
It is blowing and snowing as I like it. I am only looking directly under my feet and I don’t see anything except for just white and white. Even step with some effort, every step important. Like I was in some kind of hypnotic trans. The wind is whistling and snow is cutting into my eyes. The wind is blowing strongly and makes snow banks. Good, solid winter. Thoughts were about the newest project – taking pictures from a car. A new and exciting project. I wonder if it will pass the test of time. Thoughts were also about small improvements in my darkroom. Singing in my head – from Radio Tarifa. Good!
Day 365, March 19, 2001, Roots, 5th km, 2.20 pm
7C, Sunny, No wind
Today the whole day under sign of the LSR collection. In the morning I photographed the leftovers. Sun was great. Then the walk. Such great spring weather. A lot of mud. I forgot Bureck and I could not get to call him. He was sleeping behind the house. But finally, somehow he heard me and went with me. On the road a lot of mud but water is getting lower and it is not so difficult to get by. I thought a bit about collection and about the fact that the year has just passed and it is all done. Right away I feel free to do other projects. I know that before I had too much on my plate to start something new. In the afternoon I photographed the old car tire and floor mat – these were left over from November. I shot everything and it all fit exactly on 3 rolls of film. In the evening I developed the film. So, on the last day I finished everything. Now, the darkroom and some propositions for the galleries. I didn’t know why I started this project a year ago. I didn’t think about it. I was simply collecting something every day. And now, it is all finished and I do not regret that I have done it. There are many different aspects in this project and I am happy about it. It is sort of not “my project”. Anyway, I have always liked photographs of objects and I never could find some sort of reason to do it. The object as itself, simply and honestly represented. All of its details, curves and straight lines. The look but also the fact of existence of this simple object. There is also something in this project about the pure randomness of choice of such different objects. And they still connect into one entirety just because I picked them up and they all come from the same road. Otherwise they are so random. This project is after all like a diary of one year of my life. A lot of steps, a lot of kilometres (ab. 3,000) a lot of days. Every photograph is like one step. I wonder if I will make a show out of it.