Why does it take so long?
Recently project participants were asking the very reasonable question why it would take so long for me to provide some imagery for review. Which is why I decided to describe with an example what happens after I have exposed a roll of film.
My sample is out of the 2016 production in Nunavut. In the image you see me taking pictures in the Agnico Eagle Meadowbank open-pit gold mine in the Kivalliq Region. That was in early May 2016. At first the exposed film rolls travelled with me from the mine site back south, 110 kilometres on snowy gravel to Baker Lake, where I was residing for the time of the production. The first film storage place for a number of weeks was the fridge of my generous project hosts.
By June 2016 I had 3 light proof bags filled with exposed material and flew with them to Rankin Inlet, where production was continued for another week. From Rankin Inlet the films' journey kept going to Winnipeg for an intermediate stay, then further to Saskatoon and from there north again, to La Ronge. Here was the next fridge located in which the film rolls were kept for a while. Later in June, after the photography in La Ronge, the film rolls kept rolling and moved with me to southwestern Saskatchewan, to Kindersley. Here they stayed in a nicely cool vegetable cellar of a farmer’s home for some more weeks. After finishing production by the end of July in Saskatchewan, the bags with exposed film went on their next trip, now flying out to Toronto. It's the second time that all film rolls get taken out of the suspicious looking black bags sealed with tape, then, one by one, go through the meticulous hands of airport security personnel.
In Toronto the film rolls' new home was a very hospitable fridge at Queen's Quay West. Some rolls I processed during the 2016 summer in Toronto, though the majority embarked on yet another flight, now going from Toronto via Munich to Berlin in mid-October 2016. The remaining 150 not yet processed rolls got then stored in my own darkroom facility.
Due to the huge amount of material film processing was folding well into 2017. After return from production in Canada, I immediately have to take care of work for income (I do not receive funding for the WorkSpace Canada Project). That naturally slows down the post production of my project work. Finally, on February 20th, I was able to announce in this blog that all 210 rolls from the 2016 production were (manually) processed. By May 2017 the next task, the wet printing of 210 contact sheets, was accomplished. Meaning, one year after I took the pictures at the AGNICO mine site in Nunavut, I actually saw the result of this work.
From the moment on I have contact sheets I am able to print on gelatine silver paper from the negative. But I still had not the digital files from the 2016 negatives. I had planned to digitize them in the fall of 2017 in Toronto but couldn’t afford the travel that year. The next opportunity to catch up was in 2018, when I took two loaded film binders back westward to Toronto in September. In mid-December 2018 I then had the great opportunity to use Ryerson University’s scanning facility for days on end and right now, in the spring of 2019, I refine, crop and touch-up the hundreds of raw scans I gained back then.
I am honestly very sorry that the post-production takes so long. Maybe telling this true sample story can help explain the work load which is involved, causing the long periods of time passing after the actual photography. In case you are a project participant curious about results - thank you especially for your patience and do not hesitate to approach me with your request.
WorkSpace Canada geht in die Verlängerung
Im vergangenen Jahr fiel die wichtige Entscheidung, das Dokumentarprojekt fortzusetzen und WorkSpace Canada geographisch zu komplettieren. Die 2018er Kanada-Reise war daher speziell der Suche nach Unterstützung für die im Jahr 2020 geplante Produktion (North West Territories u. Yukon) gewidmet. Daneben gab es eine Vortragstournee, die mich mit Projektpräsentationen und Workshops unter anderem an drei kanadische Universitäten (Edmonton, Saskatoon, Toronto), an die School of Photographic Arts: Ottawa und ins Hauptquartier der kanadischen Marine führte.
WorkSpace Canada's journey in 2018
In 2018 I made the decision to extend the time frame for the project's production (originally set for 2006-2016) in order to fully accomplish WorkSpace Canada's documentary mission. That relates to the missing Canadian territories - Yukon, North West Territories - as well as to occupational fields still missing in the collection. In order to tackle these objectives, I took off in September 2018 and went on a combined production and promotion tour. Certainly a highlight was the project's presentation in Edmonton, at the University of Alberta, thanks to Sara Dorow and Harvey Krahn. Just to mention a few other highlights along my travels - I had a great meeting with the Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, Admiral Lloyd, and his team in Ottawa, and I was discussing prospects for the project's collection with the director of Library and Archives Canada, Guy Berthiaume.
Focus on Work in Native Communities in Canada
The exhibition "Ideas of Land and Gainful Employment" is featuring specifically First Nations people in Canada in their work environment. The photographs introduce personalities with their occupations, ranging from traditional craft in Northern Saskatchewan, road construction near Thunder Bay to gold mining in Nunavut. The selected portraits and work series are part of the overall photo documentary WorkSpace Canada. For anybody visiting Berlin this year, the show will be on display until mid-December 2018 at the John-F-Kennedy Institute for North American Studies. Admission is free, opening hours are as follows:
Monday to Friday - from 9 am to 8 pm
John-F-Kennedy Institute for North American Studies
Lansstraße 7-9, 14195 Berlin, Germany
The venue is easily accessible by public transit. Please use subway line number 3 (“Krumme Lanke”), the subway stop is called “Dahlem Dorf”, from there it is only a five minute walk.
Ausstellung über First Nations in Kanada
Am John-F.-Kennedy-Institut für Nordamerikastudien wurde am 23. Mai die Ausstellung "Ideas of Land and Gainful Employment" eröffnet. Aus dem Gesamtprojekt WorkSpace Canada habe ich eine Auswahl an Bildern getroffen, die indigene Arbeitsumfelder in Kanada vorstellen und die Menschen mit diesen Berufen im Portrait zeigen. Der Bogen spannt sich von der Innu First Nation in Labrador, über die Ojibway im nördlichen Ontario, bis zu den Woodland Cree in Saskatchewan. Die Ausstellung ist noch bis zum Dezember 2018 zu sehen, bei freiem Eintritt und zu folgenden Öffnungszeiten:
Montag-Freitag, 9:00-20:00 Uhr
Adresse: Bibliothek des John-F.-Kennedy-Instituts für Nordamerikastudien, Lansstraße 7-9, 14195 Berlin
Öffentliche Verkehrsmittel: U-Bahn Linie 3, Station "Dahlem Dorf", von dort 5 Minuten zu Fuß
Für die Unterstützung und Hilfe möchte ich mich besonders bedanken bei Prof. Dr. Harald Wenzel, Regina Wenzel, Carola und Alexander, sowie bei der Leiterin der Bibliothek, Medea Seyder, für die Möglichkeit an diesem schönen Ort ausstellen zu dürfen.
Das Projekt WorkSpace Canada im Jahr 2018
Nach langer Winterpause gibt es wieder Nachrichten zur Fortführung der WorkSpace Canada Dokumentation. In den vergangenen Monaten habe ich mich mit einigen Mentoren des Projektes beraten und die einhellige Empfehlung war, das Projekt nicht geographisch unvollendet zu lassen. Das heißt, daß WorkSpace Canada nicht mit der Produktion im Jahr 2016 beendet sein wird, sondern noch um die beiden fehlenden Territorien - Yukon und die North West Territories erweitert.
Talking about an important province for the WorkSpace Canada Project
Recently I had the pleasure to talk to Sheila Coles, host of CBC Saskatchewan's The Morning Edition. Subject was the project in general but also aspects relating to Saskatchewan specifically, as one of the most important provinces for the WorkSpace Canada photo documentary. In five different years I took pictures in Saskatchewan for enhancing the collection. To be honest, I would be more than happy to add another couple of more production trips to the province's prairies and the boreal forest, as everytime I feel a new door is opening and I find more people and their workplaces to capture. For those who are curios to read a condensed version of the interview, please go to the CBC Saskatchewan website. There is also a good collection of Saskatchewan pictures accompanying the text.
Opening on September 5th
I would like to thank everybody who came to see the exhibition since the installation was completed. The opening on September 5th was packed, I could tell from the pictures that I was sent by email. It makes me very happy that the exhibition conveys a sense of what I would like to achieve with the WorkSpace Canada Project. I am very grateful for any comment on the current show and already have to thank a number of people for their substantial feedback. I hope the show will have many more visitors and that I can be there in person for the next exhibition to come about WorkSpace Canada.
Face to Face with Canada - A Nation at Work
This is the title of an exhibition about the WorkSpace Canada Project that will be opening soon in Downtown Toronto. Thanks to the kind collaboration with Ryerson University’s School of Image Arts / the Documentary Media Research Centre, it was possible to set up a show which is representing a decade of my documentary production in Canada. All photographs on display are original gelatin silver prints made in my own darkroom facility. Some of them were just recently coming out of the drying press, as there are for instance the first 2016 photographs, depicting people from Nunavut or the Canadian Navy. Due to the spatial conditions it will be a very compact exhibition. Nonetheless the show is taking the viewer on a unique journey throughout the Canadian provinces, offering lots of inside views to a great variety of work lives.
I would particularly like to thank the curator of this exhibition, Don Snyder, who is also my long-time mentor for this project. Without his unbelievable commitment and support the show wouldn’t have been possible.
Face to Face with Canada will be running from Friday, September 1st, 2017 – Sunday, September 24th, 2017.
The opening takes place on Tuesday, September 5th from 6:30-8:30 pm.
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend the opening. Due to budget restrictions I can’t make it to Toronto. I am very sorry for that but I still have to cope with the expenses of the 2016 production.
The gallery's regular hours of operation are:
Thursday & Friday 1-8pm
Saturday & Sunday 12-7pm
Since April 2017 a new publication with the title In Canadian Workspaces is out. It is not yet the final and comprehensive book I am striving for, but a smaller publication well printed on excellent paper in duotone. It contains a distinguished selection of photographs from the production years 2011-2016. The image sequences on the 32 pages are arranged according to different relations between person and workspace, taking the viewer on a journey throughout the Canadian provinces. The number of photographs in the book represent about one-hundredth of the project's collection that would be suitable for publication.