As we enter Labor Day weekend, I reflected on a group of images of interior industrial spaces that I created in 2004. I feature these images as a tribute to the workers of the world.
The first Monday of September in Canada and the United States was created to celebrate labor’s contribution. This day is known as Labor Day and was considered the unofficial end of Summer. In many countries across the world, Labor Day also known as May Day occurs early May to celebrate labor and became associated with the beginning of Spring.
When I left the corporate world in 2004, my photography had focused on creating unique landscape images. With the flexibility of time, my objective was to explore different subjects.
In 2004, I identified opportunities in Toronto and Nova Scotia to explore and capture vacant and operating industrial spaces. These were the first opportunities to capture images in a large interior space using available lighting. The blog provides a discussion of the creation process for these images.
The first opportunity was the A.R. Williams Machinery Company building in Toronto’s Liberty Village. Before creating these two images, I visited the location several different times. Finally, it was a bright sunny afternoon and it was the various light plays that inspired me to capture these images.
As a reminder, I capture my images on film. I do not have the ability of previewing the image. Since I cannot duplicate that experience again, it is critical to utilize my composition and lighting skills to capture the image.
There is an anticipation and mystery of the final print that happens in the darkroom. Because of the multiple light plays in each image, my darkroom skills were pushed to ensure the details was maintained throughout the entire print.
During our 2004 Canadian Maritimes travels, we spent a few nights in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Prior to arriving, I had arranged, through the owners of the B & B where we stayed, to gain access to Lunenburg Foundry. Since this was an operating foundry, I was provided an escort and a limited time window (one hour) to capture my images.
With the limited time frame, it pushed my creativity to identify my subjects, compose and capture the image on film. To capture the images, I used the natural lighting within the facility with some areas limited. I captured the images on film at an aperture sitting of F22. Also, because of the limited natural light, extra care had to be taken in the darkroom to recreate an authentic feel.
During the limited time window, I was able to capture several images throughout the facility. However, I was drawn to three images that were captured in the older part of the foundry:
- Foundry Workshop (featured in the blog header), I was able to create the feeling that I was standing in the middle of the shop floor. What do you think?
- Propellers: I was attracted to the image because of the contrasts of the propeller shapes vs the shelf lines.
- Furnace: The textures highlights the essence of the subject.
While in Lunenburg, I walked through the harbor area and one of the waterfront buildings captured my interest. Yes, you are seeing a cathedral ceiling. If you mentally invert the ceiling, you can see a hull of a boat. Interesting fact, the Schooner Bluenose was built in this building.
The textures of “Ship Building Tools” attracted me to create this image. It was a shaft located in same building with a cathedral ceiling.
The experiences I gain from these projects contributed to the overall development of my artistic vision and skills. With limited opportunities to continue with capturing abandon or vintage operating buildings, the focus of my artwork continued to evolve. Today, my body of work ranges from floral and still life (mushrooms and pears) studies created in the studio.