Tuesday September 02, 2014

Chronicles: a documentary road trip


Art lovers of all ages were on hand for the artists' reception of the Don Hall: Chronicles photographic exhibition at Godfrey Dean Art Gallery March 15.

 - Don Hall, back left in partial silhouette, chats with patrons during the artists’ reception Sunday at Godfrey Dean. -

Don Hall, back left in partial silhouette, chats with patrons during the artists’ reception Sunday at Godfrey Dean.

For years Don Hall has roamed the open prairie turning an acerbic eye and his camera on the landscapes he encounters.

Some of the images he has collected are currently gracing the walls of the Godfrey Dean Art Gallery in an exhibit dubbed "Chronicles" running until March 22.

Photography is Hall's life.

"I have different practices in photography," he said. "I have a fine art practice, as well as working at the university managing the photography department, but I also have a commercial practice. "The photography that I'm most interested in is the kind of photography you see here in the gallery, which is essentially from road trips, working with the sense of exploration and using photography to explore certain environments and landscapes."

When he is exploring, he has three main interests in mind, history architecture and landscape and said this work reflects those interests.

"I've always believed that photography is the most democratic medium and an important aspect of photography is a sense of the everyday and common. Photography is about now; it is very immediate and what interests me about certain environments, certain buildings is just to get a sense of the atmosphere and character of the landscape and that sense of the everyday.

"The kinds of images that I'm interested may not be the most beautiful or pictorial, but for me they represent the character of a particular environment."

There is also a sense of preservation in his work.

"I consider myself a documentary photographer," he said. "When I first became interested in photography back in the late sixties and early seventies, it was the documentary photographers that really got me interested in photography, photographers like Walker Evans and Robert Frank. It can be really cliché to say photography is about a particular moment, but that really describes photography and with my interest in history, as well, I think of these as being historical documents.

"That's very important to me when I'm making photographs, that sense of creating some sort of historical artifacts."

 - Keith and Debbie Hayward were all smiles as they enjoyed the artists’ reception Sunday at Godfrey Dean. -

Keith and Debbie Hayward were all smiles as they enjoyed the artists’ reception Sunday at Godfrey Dean.

Also presently on display at Godfrey Dean is a collection of photographs by local husband and wife team Keith and Debbie Hayward.

The collection is also the result of road trips.

"Most of them are pictures from the local area, churches both north and south of Yorkton," Keith explained. "We tried to show what the history of the area has been through pictures."

Debbie added: "A lot of them are photos of places that are meaningful to us, like places where Keith grew up and places where my grandparents were buried. We wanted to just record them for ourselves because they are significant and meaningful.

Keith took the pictures and Debbie created the observations that accompany them.

"To go along with the pictures I wanted to emphasize not only the decline of these beautiful churches that are, unfortunately, a lot of them abandoned out in the country, but also there's a hopeful sign because they're still being kept up and some of them are being almost revived.

"There's one church that we saw that had beautiful statuary someone bequeathed to them just in the last couple of years and now there's these beautiful contemporary statues in this lovely little church yard in the middle of nowhere so there is hope that it is going to continue not just fall into decline.



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