Where are you, Kearston Constable, Adam Hunt and Chad Gilmet?

When these students were in grade seven, I had them write a letter to themselves, words inspired by three guiding questions.  All of my grade seven students did!   They self-addressed the envelopes and every year, when the students reached grade nine, I would add the postage and send them off in the mail.

Only once did I have to hand-deliver the letter to a student’s parents because they had lost their precious son during his grade eight year.  Jarrett Alley, all of these years later, continues to be loved and missed.  I was only so grateful that Jarrett left his words behind for his parents, words of faith and hope.

Because they are so precious, I didn’t ever want to lose the letters, if it turned out that the students had moved from the community or some such event.  So, this brings me to Kearston, Adam and Chad.  I’ve held onto these letters for years now.  I would truly love to know where these three young adults are by now.  I’m posting this, in the hopes that they will surface or that someone will know where they are.

Kearston Constable, Chad Gilmet, Adam Hunt

Finding Adam…in 2015.

I received this message.  Adam, as I recall, was a sweet and happy, round-faced boy who delighted in sports and was very kind-mannered.  For a young boy, he had such an ability to share empathy.  I was able to send Adam’s letter to him after he connected with these words…

Hi Ms. Moors-used-to-be-Hanrahan, it has been a long time. If I’m correct, I believe it’s been roughly 19 years! Wow, that really is a long time when one has to write it down.

I would love to read that letter; life has definitely been far more exciting then I remember wanting it to be.

And what good timing as my wife and I just moved back to Calgary in April of this year. I haven’t lived here since I moved away in grade 7 and have barely lived in Canada.

 I still have that beautiful letter you wrote me when I moved and it’s traveled with me all over the world. The letter was a great source of confidence and help when things were a bit tough. Thank you for that and for being a part of the strong cast of individuals that believed in me. I hope to have made everyone proud and plan on doing so, moving forward. Adam Hunt

History in the Making: The Last of my Film!

Continuing with the sorting of items in the house, I’ve rounded up the last of the instant cameras, the Fuji and Kodak film canisters and sent them away for development.  The images will be complete surprises.  I’m so grateful for digital and its immediacy, as well as the potential to review the photos.

Never again!

Changing My Own Landscape: A Bag at a Time

February 29, 2012: 11:00 a.m.
Weather -6 degrees and overcast, with a threat of snow.  Mountains looking strangely close.

Such a lovely wetlands area.

Demitri, a sheet metal worker, has only been in Canada for two years and finds the weather very similar to the weather of his own homeland.  He was glad to take our photograph for the archive, while puffing on his cigarette over break. 

Demitri: today's witness to my life.

This is our second day out at the pond, gathering up one bag of discarded and manufactured items. Tim Hortons coffee cups are quickly becoming my nemises, as is building insulation.  I found myself mumbling, about people who gripe about owners who do not pick up dog poop, “What about picking up your own ________?” 

Tim Hortons: Thoughts about social responsibility cross my mind.

Today’s findings: plastic, five Tim Hortons cups with plastic lids, 25 pieces of foam insulation, a cardboard box, many random pieces of plastic (too many to break down), at least 20 bags for candies and treats such as jelly bellies, 20 sandwich bags, two beer cans.

Decision to include a close-up.

Demitri's 'capture' and I ask myself if I am quickly becoming a 'bag lady'.

As I deposited today’s  ‘bag’, I noticed that yesterday’s remained at the bin.

February 29, 2012

Exploring My Own Landscape: A Bag At a Time

February 28, 2012 6:00 p.m. Beautiful yellow/orange arch to the west. -12 degrees, the sense that the weather is changing.  Sun set while out on our walk so that the photo images were subdued.

This is the location where I most often find myself running my border collie, Max.  It is a beautiful place…and daily, the weather creates a different environment through changing colour/season/ and light.  The discouraging thing is that it edges on a highschool football field, a sports center and highway 22X.  As a result, I noticed this past autumn, a huge collection of garbage, plastics and fast food containers in the pond and blowing through the brush and tall grasses.  It makes me so sad, observing this juxtaposition…gorgeous birds nesting at the pond’s edge…but, surrounded by manufactured items.

My Project

I made a decision that each time I visit the space, I will pick a bag full of garbage and deposit it in a bin.  This evening, the sun set and there was just a soft yellow glow on the western horizon when I rounded the far end of the pond.  A young man…maybe in his 20s…said, as he passed me, “Thanks for doing that for us.”  I felt really happy about his connection, however brief, and that he valued what I had decided to do.

Findings…at least 20 Tim Horton’s drink cups, with plastic lids, 14 plastic bags of various sizes, 15 pieces of industrial insulation of the foam variety (likely blown from the construction area, an extention of the sports center), a large sized plastic bucket from the same site, burned book pages, fast food containers and hamburger wraps, two bags of dog poop and a large purple plastic hoop.

#1 Collection

 I try to leave out the parts that people skip. Elmore Leonard

Where are you, Marie Delorme? Thinking about a photograph!

Container Ports #10, Delta Port, Vancouver, British Columbia Photographer: Edward Burtynsky

As I continue to look back upon the Glenbow exhibit, Encounters,  I am very much intrigued by the people who were guest curators and their approach to selecting a single photograph by Edward Burtynsky for the exhibit.  Marie Delorme is the CEO for the Imagination Group and is a mentor to many, it seems, in every aspect of her life.  I was moved by the narrative that was exhibited alongside her selection of Container Ports #110, Delta Port, Vancouver, British Columbia.  The gist of Marie’s narrative is that manufacturing and consumerism pulls humankind away from our connection with nature.  I can’t agree more.  I agree that there has to be some reconciliation happen between humanity’s need to consume…and its ability to protect the planet, all at the same time.  This can no longer be a matter of (P)olitics and/or polarized views…somehow we have to come more to a middle in our understanding of the issues.  Thank you for your selection, Marie Delorme and best wishes on your journey!

As you view the Burtynsky photograph,  there is a pathway.  Where does it lead?

It was good to meet you, Chris Flodberg!

I have admired the work of Chris Flodberg for years.  From the time I used up my father’s leftover pots of oil colour (He was a real fan in the late 50s/early 60s of paint-by-numbers.), I’ve enjoyed the smell of linseed oil.  The memory of the years and years of painting with oils when most artists were using acrylics, makes me smile.  Such a yummy medium!  It is also a rich experience to work with the paint over a longer period of time than what polymers will allow.  It is his sensitive use of this medium, that causes me to really, really enjoy Chris Flodberg’s work

On the day when I believed it to be unfortunate to be a day early for On Common Ground: Conversations About Our City featuring A Matter of Trust, hosted by the Public Library, I ended up being very-much blessed by the Encounters exhibit at the Glenbow Museum.  Second to that, I was exiting the second floor by the stairs,  just as the artist, Chris Flodberg, and a friend were heading up those same stairs.  Initially, we shared observations about the way that his painting, Love and War in the World of Men (2004) was mounted in the stairwell.

It was a surprising and pleasant conversation because Chris then examined the context of the painting, its symbolism and explained how he staged his environment for the work.  It was such an awesome and serendipitous event!  I  recently wrote Chris, asking his permission to post the image of this interior here, so that I might more explicitly share some of those elements, so stay posted.

Uh huh!  Chris has given me his kind permission to post an image of his painting, Love and War in the World of Men (2004) here.  A grander description to follow…but now, on to the off-leash!  Thanks, Chris.

"Love and War in the World of Men" 6'x4.5' 2004 Chris Flodberg

Chris pointed out some of the connections between Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait and his own painting, Love and War in the World of Men.   If you look at the details; the orange perched on the window sill and the pair of shoes in the lower third of both compositions.  These elements create whimsy, along with an interesting continuity of what it means to be ‘a guy’ in a very intimate space.  I challenge my readers to find other such similarities in the content.

Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck


The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write a book about it. Benjamin Disraeli

Where are you, Linh Ly? Spending time with a photograph…

I first saw Linh Ly’s work while viewing an art talk at the Triangle Art Gallery/Museum of Contemporary Art MOCA.  On exhibit, was the most intriguing piece, a huge tapestry constructed from what seemed to be a zillion photographs.

Reoccurances: Photo Tapestry by Linh Ly 2005

I was absolutely captivated by her talk and felt that it made references that I had formerly used in some experimental pieces in the studio, where I had reconstructed blocks cut from my oil paintings, into traditional quilting patterns on panels.  It was a wonderful thing to see that she was one of the guest curators for the Glenbow exhibit of Edward Burtynsky’s work, Encounters.

The piece that she selected for the Glenbow exhibit was Uranium Tailings #12 Elliot Lake, Ontario.  I chose to feature this piece because I was curious about which of Burtynsky’s pieces would captivate another photographer, someone who has also explored the notion of environment, but from a different point of view.  Linh Ly has published a book titled, The Spaces Between Us.

Be obscure clearly. E.B. White

Uranium Tailings #12, Elliot Lake, Ontario, 1995 Photographer: Edward Burtynsky

A moment, missing my boy….Laurie-dog.

Katie Melua – Just like heaven – Piece by piece

Show me how you do that trick
The one that makes me scream he said
The one that makes me laugh he said
And threw his arms around my neck
Show me how you do it
And I promise you I promise that
I’ll run away with you
I’ll run away with you

Spinning on that dizzy edge
I kissed his face and kissed his head
And dreamed of all the different ways I had
To make him glow
Why are you so far away? he said
Why won’t you ever know that I’m in love with you
That I’m in love with you

You, soft and only
You,lost and lonely
You, strange as angels
Dancing in the deepest oceans
Twisting in the water
You’re just like a dream
You’re just like a dream

Daylight licked me into shape
I must have been asleep for days
And moving lips to breathe his name
I opened up my eyes
And found myself alone alone
Alone above a raging sea
That stole the only boy I loved
And drowned him deep inside of me

You, soft and only
You, lost and lonely
You, just like heaven

You, soft and only
You, lost and lonely
You, just like heaven

Dreams are illustrations from the book your soul is writing about you. Marsha Norman


Where are you, Cayley Hanrahan?

I traveled by LRT to the Central Public Library yesterday at lunch.  I felt rushed and scattered and it was windy-cold.  I fiddled in my purse to gather up the 2.75 for my fare…of course, just missed a train…waited for the next.  I don’t like riding sideways or backwards…it always gives me a discomforting sense of going the wrong way…but, the only seats free were sideways.  I had glanced quickly at an event flyer (I’m always looking at freebees around the city) when I noted On Common Ground: Conversations About Our City, featuring A Matter of Trust…all that really stayed with me was a 1:30 time slot and the fact that George Webber was one of the four panelists including Louise Gallagher, Max Cielsielski and Rosemary Griebel.  I’ve always wished to meet George Webber!

When I arrived, I found that I was a day early!  “CRIPES!”, as my mother would have said, in the day.  She doesn’t say such things anymore.  To make the best of the trip down to the core, I went down to the Edward Burtynsky exhibit instead…and as you can likely tell from the number of posts that have been pouring out of my finger tips, as a result, the change of event was certainly no loss!

Well, upon leaving the Public Library and heading into the cold unsheltered wind of downtown, I pulled into Insomnia (if you DO click on the Insomnia link that I am handing you here, please don’t judge them that they misspelled the word, ‘happening’, the young folk really DO treat you well there!) for a sandwich-to-go.  I told the boys, while ordering, “The day hasn’t been going all that well, so, heap that sandwich with good stuff, please…lettuce and whatever you can find in that fridge of yours.”  Mmmmm….even the bread was grainy and healthy-tasting.  I was so grateful, because I hadn’t eaten a thing all day, to that point.

I stopped to enjoy the three skaters who were doing figures on the Olympic Plaza skating rink, while munching.  Then, I moved on to the Famous Five where I enjoyed the fact that someone had tied a coral coloured winter scarf around one of the lady’s necks.  On I went to the Glenbow, consuming the last of the sandwich  and feeling very satisfied.  I recognized a young man who was standing near the entrance to the Glenbow.  Had I seen him on a social media site?  Did I know him in person?  He seemed so familiar to me.  In moments, I realized that it was Tyler Stalman, a photographer who had worked with my daughter on a couple of previous occasions.  Wasn’t she supposed to be filming something out and about with Tyler this weekend?  Looking to the left, I saw my daughter!  Cayley?  We gave one another hugs and then I formally met Tyler and the producer, Peter.  I hope that Tyler won’t mind if I take liberties in posting one of his photographs here.  Exceptional subject…exceptional photograph!  Serendipity at the meeting of a Mom and Daughter who love one another!

Cayley Hanrahan, as photographed by Tyler Stalman, Calgary, February 24, 2012, the day before the Calgary Public Art Panel Discussion

Where are you, Tanya Harnett? Connecting with photographs!

Cold Lake First Nations: Damaged Spring at Blueberry Point 2011, Collection of the artist, Tanya Harnett

Directly from the Glenbow Museum Exhibition Schedule…

Tanya Harnett is a photographer who uses her art form to explore notions of spirituality and materiality, technological modes of representation and hierarchy of media. Join Tanya as she discusses how her practice as a photographer engaged her in this curatorial process and how her own photography shaped her decision when selecting a Burtynsky photography for the exhibition.”

If you wander the internet, you will find all manner of project that Tanya Harnett has been involved with.  As guest curator for Encounters, she selected another Edward Burtynsky piece that is powerful for me, Nickle Tailings #30, Sudbury, Ontario.  Through my university-years 1973-1977, I used to travel back east by train, to visit my parents in Ontario.  I remember the view out my window, forehead against the glass window, as we journeyed early in the morning through the devastation of Sudbury’s landscape.  This was my place of birth.  This image spoke to my heart as I stood before it in the Glenbow Museum yesterday afternoon.  Thank you for selecting this particular piece, Tanya.

Nickel Tailings #30, Sudbury, Ontario Photographer: Edward Burtynsky