Half of all Manitobans live in the capital city of Winnipeg leaving the other half million or so square kilometres of the Province relatively unoccupied. Manitoba is commonly thought of as being a vast, flat and windswept prairie. Although the landscape may seem empty at times, to really appreciate it, one must spend time immersed in the environment to better understand the diversity of its ecoregion, to appreciate the seasons, and the defining union of the land and sky. The sun slowly rising and setting is a key component of this landscape. Although there are certainly views that take ones breath away, for the most part, it is a still and temporal backdrop coloured and highlighted by its most primal and rugged elements.
The selected images play on these themes and celebrate the predominant biomes of the Keystone Province – the western hills, the central Prairies and Lake Winnipeg, the Canadian Shield and the Boreal Forest to the east, the northern tundra and Hudson Bay Lowlands, and the City of Winnipeg.
An image of frozen Lake Winnipeg is the quintessential representation of the Province. The winter whiteness is overwhelming, visually broken only by the rungs of a ladder against a dock, a ghostly shadow of where water becomes sky. One gains a better appreciation for the pleasant aspects of the lake in summer by knowing it in its frozen state.
The images of natural landscapes range from the hard rugged terrain of the Canadian Shield, to hard-working marshlands, to moody prairie vistas, and windswept grasslands. Each image portrays the seasonal diversity of our skies in contrast to the layer of vegetation that lies beneath. Undeniably provocative, the quality of light through the seasons awakens and quiets these landscapes, presenting vivid flashes of color in contrast to subtle tones of grey.
The photos of built landscapes range from the industrial Pinawa Dam: an indicator of change over time, increasing population and increasing need for energy, to the Souris Swinging Bridge, emblematic of small town pride predominant across Manitoba, along with two images of Winnipeg, a sharp contrast of summer and winter scenes.
A fitting conclusion, the striking image of the Churchill lowlands, a remote and isolated place, perfectly captures the desolate beauty of this ‘land of little sticks’. The bare essentials of a landscape are here; rock, trees, water and sky, and the photographers reverence for this land of light and time are evident.