In: documentary photography

Julianna D’Intino | Connecting Rods: A Survey of Industry in the Niagara Region, 2015 – 2022
September 22, 2022

Julianna D’Intino | Connecting Rods: A Survey of Industry in the Niagara Region, 2015 – 2022

To talk of the legacy of GM when you live in the city of St. Catharines is akin to how your tongue will always go to the gap in your teeth, seeking something that was there and now is not, leaving nothing behind but a perceptible absence you are unable to ignore.

Julianna D’Intino’s images, both moving and still – and I’ve been lucky enough to see several bodies of work she’s produced – often have a local focus, and in some ways she steps into that role of photographer as social historian. Often this involves her adjacent community in Niagara, exploring her own immediate heritage and circle. One such series can be seen here.

Connecting Rods: A Survey of Industry in the Niagara Region is a family story, as well as a local one. The ‘connection’ in the title of this series is not just a nod to an industrial interpretation, but also the families, communities and city that is part of a network that once had its epicenter in the abandoned wastelands D’Intino presents us with….and in her fine words about this series, D’Intino also draws connections to other areas with similar experience, such as with Atlas Steels or John Deere in Welland.

That potential for ‘nostalgia’ doesn’t mean what D’Intino is telling us is through rose – coloured glasses, nor does it gloss over the reality: her words about this work are as unflinching and honest – and engaging – as her photographs.

“This is but one personal case study in the myriad of lost industry of the Niagara Region. Would the return of the Niagara Region as a manufacturing hub provide a sustainable solution to the region’s economic woes? No, it would not. What is missing in the region is sufficient work at wages high enough to sustain a well-balanced life at the Niagara Region’s new inflated cost of living. The last time that such security was widespread was when manufacturing was a leading industry.”

The legacy of GM in St. Catharines is surely a contested narrative, with ground fertile for those from here – like D’Intino, or myself – to mine. It’s as rife as the industrial damage left behind at the site (an ongoing issue in civic politics here which has led to some grotesque and unsettling bedfellows), and there are differing opinions in play. Anna Szaflarski, for example, offers another perspective on this history here.

D’Intino’s site is here, and more images and D’Intino’s considered words about Connecting Rods can be found here.

~ Bart Gazzola

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Podcast: Peppa Martin talks to Shira Gold
January 18, 2022

‎curated. co-editor and curator Peppa Martin interviews Canadian photographer Shira Gold. This podcastwas first published at thecommotion.ca

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Podcast: Peppa Martin talks to Jurgen Vogt
November 23, 2021

‎curated. co-editor and curator Peppa Martin interviews Canadian photographer Jürgen Vogt. This podcastwas first published at thecommotion.ca

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Untitled, from Joe Martz’s Underpass series
July 15, 2021

Waterloo Ontario based photographer and graphic designer Joe Martz has a strong eye for the architectural. His ability to capture the beauty in the details and structure of buildings and infrastructure we barely notice as we walk by them is powerful. One cannot help but begin to seek them out on one’s own after seeing his work.

A member of the foto:RE collective, Joe seeks the “strong lines, patterns and symetry” of a subject and often tries to find an “abstract perspective to present a different view”.

Joe’s work can be found on Instgram @joemartz and at joemartz.com – Mark Walton

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Metro Station Crowd 1, City of Shadows, 1992
April 20, 2021

Alexey Titarenko, Vasileostrovoskaya Metro Station Crowd 1, from City of Shadows, 1992

I was twenty two when Titarenko captured this image, a freshly posthumous portrait of the USSR – and that was nearly forty years ago. The Cold War, as we knew it, was over, but the uncertainty, both for the bustling passengers of the once and future St. Petersburg, after its decades as Leningrad, and the rest of the world, is encapsulated in this image. Titarenko is an acclaimed photographer, not least for how after “the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 he produced several series of photographs about the human condition of the Russian people during this time and the suffering they endured throughout the twentieth century. To illustrate links between the present and the past, he created powerful metaphors by introducing long exposure and intentional camera movement into street photography. The most well known series of this period is City of Shadows.” More of Titarenko’s work can be seen here. 

~ Bart Gazzola

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Greg Girard: Under Vancouver 1972-1982
November 15, 2021

Self published
Available HERE

“These photographs of Vancouver from the 1970s and early 1980s show the city’s final days as a port town at the end of the railway line. Soon after these pictures were made Vancouver began to be noticed by the wider world (Expo 86 is generally agreed on as the pivotal moment), refashioning itself as an urban resort on nature’s doorstep and attracting attention as a destination for real estate investment. Back then, long before post-9/11 security concerns sealed off the working waterfront from the city, many of Vancouver’s downtown and east side streets ended at the waterfront, an area filled with commercial fishing docks, cargo terminals, and bars and cafés for waterfront workers and sailors.

Made in and of the moment, they show a young photographer’s earliest engagements (often featuring the underside of the city). And although it was never the intention, the pictures now form a record of a Vancouver that has all but disappeared.” – Greg Girard

Greg Girard is a Canadian photographer who has spent much of his career in Asia. His work examines the social and physical transformations taking place throughout the region.

He is represented by Monte Clark Gallery (Vancouver). More of Greg Girard’s work can be enjoyed at his site.

~ Peppa Martin

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Homage II
April 20, 2021

Angela Reilly’s Homage II was one of those magical experiences where art can just overwhelm you. Sitting in a pub in Glasgow on my first night ever in the UK, a series of 5 portraits hung around the room had my full attention. From a distance I thought I was looking at photographs, but close up, it was so much more. You can practically see the blood coursing through the swimmer’s veins trying to warm her up. Angela won the National Portrait Gallery’s Portrait Award in 2006 and shows regularly in the UK.

You can find Angela on Facebook, and on Instagram.

~ Mark Walton

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Prairie Gothic
April 20, 2021

George Webber
Rocky Mountain Books, 2013
$50.00 CND

If I was asked to pick 1 book of Canadian photography to be on a desert island with, it would be George Webber’s Prairie Gothic. I was lucky enough to be in Calgary when George had an exhibition at the small Art Gallery space downtown in 2008. The work, much of it from this book, changed me. Much like Walker Evan’s photographs in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men and the American south of the depression era, Prairie Gothic is a momentous testament to the landscape and people of the Canadian West.

georgewebber.ca

~ Mark Walton

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IOWA
April 20, 2021

Nancy Rexroth
University of Texas Press, 2017
$55.95 CND

This reprint of Nancy Rexroth’s seminal survey of images, taken with a toy Diana camera in the 1970’s, influenced a wide array of photographers, including Sally Mann, who referenced it as an inspiration in her book Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings. Anyone who adheres to the principal of “less is more” needs to buy this.

nancyrexroth.com

~ Mark Walton

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Fractured Flag
April 20, 2021

Amy Weil’s Fractured Flag is an encaustic piece steeped in the tradition of Jasper Johns and the protest movement of the 1960’s. It caught my eye immediately as a testament to the events (and those leading up to them) of January 6th. Weil acknowledges “Whenever I put these colors together, it feels political. I don’t often pair them for that reason.”

You can find Amy on Facebook, on Instagram and at amyweilpaintings.com

~ Mark Walton

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