"Relics" is a collection of photographs of rural southern Ontario barns capturing the beauty of the land while urging us to notice the somewhat overlooked remnants of the an passing quietly away.
We have used warm colours and a nostalgic viewpoint, to invite viewers to breath in the country air, feel the sun and the breeze on their skin and smile.
Every day, many of us leave our homes and commute through rural southern Ontario to reach our jobs in Toronto or the other cities and towns around the area. Every day we drive through the rolling countryside across land that our predecessors cleared and developed into a thriving agricultural civilization.
Littered across the landscape are many derelict barns once used to store the hay harvested from adjacent fields and to shelter the herds of cattle that sustained the economy.
Neil and Lesley hope to evoke both an appreciation of the present and a consideration of the past with the photographs in this exhibition. If some viewers appreciate the images for their simple beauty, then their objectives are achieved. If others take a moment to reflect on what used to be and those who inhabited and worked the land, then that's a bonus.
The Relics collection was part of our "Where we live and play" exhibition at the Georgina Arts Centre and Gallery.
"Water" is a collection of photographs celebrating water and in particular, the waters of Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay. We have attempted to capture the beauty of the land and water that makes our area so unique.
Most of us consider ourselves blessed that we live near Lake Simcoe. We enjoy the nearby lake or travel northwards for recreation to Georgian Bay and many smaller lakes of southern Ontario.
Where once thousands made their living by fishing or cutting timber, we now pitch our tents, anchor our boats or build cottages. The aquatic pathways used by the native inhabitants, the fur traders and the voyageurs have become our sheltered inside passages, routes for our kayaks and generally our summer playground. Little remains to remind us of the people and the way they lived off the land and water. Many places are emptier now than they were a century ago.
Neil and Lesley hope to evoke both an appreciation of the present and a consideration of the past with the photographs in this collection.
The Water collection was part of our "Where we live and play" exhibition at the Georgina Arts Centre and Gallery.
The Red Barn, or "the barn", started up as a theatre in 1949 and produced professional summer theatre for 60 years after having hosted cattle and hay for a previous 60 or 70 years.
We volunteered at the Red Barn Theatre for about seven or eight seasons and developed a huge fondness for the place. It was fun to work there and we began some long lasting friendships with some of our fellow volunteers.
In April 2009, just as the preparations for the 60th anniversary season were starting, the theatre was destroyed by fire. Although several other fires in the area were known to be arson, the fire marshal did not declare the barn fire to have been deliberately started.
Probably in 2002, early in the morning of the summer solstice, I shot this photo of the Red Barn Theatre.
To capture the sun shining on the north wall of the barn, an early start was required. I've always thought it as serendipitous that the shadow of the fence splashed across the roadway so nicely. If I hadn't been up that early, I never would have seen it.
Not long after this photo was shot, the sun moved higher and swung towards the south. The wall was in shadow again.
The following limited edition prints are available in these sizes. All are archival giclée prints on paper.
While you can look at photographs and read books about Tibet, you cannot really even imagine Tibet until you experience it.
We almost didn't visit Tibet on our around-the-world journey. We were feeling a little jaded, thinking that it was too touristy, too clichéed. But it turned out to be a major highlight of our trip.
Tibet is all countryside except for a few scattered towns and one, not very large, city - Lhasa.
Semi-nomadic herders still wander the vast plateau grazing their flocks of sheep, goats, cattle and yaks. Small communities appear on the horizon surrounded by fields of barley. In the background, the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas remind you that you're on the roof of the world.
Buddhism plays a major role in the lives of the local people as well as in the history of Tibet.
We are looking for potential participants in a photography workshop to Tibet in the early summer of 2015. If you are interested or would like to learn more, please contact us.
Note that outside the capital, Lhasa, the accommodations are somewhat basic and the food simple. This is not five-star hotel territory. That said, the journey will be comfortable and unforgettable!
When the snow is falling and the temperatures dropping here at home, our imaginations turn to the sun and sand "down south". Cuba offers a different experience than most other Caribbean holiday destinations.
While you can debate the politics, Cuba delayed most the tourist development that reshaped the land and economies of most of the islands. It's a great place to see some history so offers a definitely "different" holiday and photography experience.
Cuba shares some characteristics with Tibet, although it may not be immediately apparent.
Both are inhabited by people who, for the most part, have no say in how their country (or autonomous region) is governed. The power lays in the hands of a few. In Cuba, the few are a subset of the same ethnic group whereas in Tibet, they are outsiders.
Another shared characteristic, and this is probably true for the entire planet, is that the people love to share a laugh and a smile and carry on with their day.
We are looking for potential participants in a photography workshop to Cuba in the winter of 2015. If you are interested or would like to learn more, please contact us.
Giclée fine art prints look exquisite with superb colour and texture.
Each is individually printed by Lesley or Neil on heavy weight, museum grade, cotton rag paper using archival quality, pigment-based inks. Paper choice and finish varies by collection but all the prints in an edition are the same.
Giclée prints are rated to maintain their colour for a century or more.
The texture of canvas results in a print that looks like a painting!
We have been lucky to find an exceptional commercial printer for our canvas.Tami, our print specialist, helps us to perfect the image file for each work.
Call now to speak to us about purchasing or renting our fine art photography.
Sometime in the early 2000's, I can't remember now exactly which year, we began to volunteer at the Red Barn Theatre. Like most volunteers, we were assigned a performance when we would be expected to help out. Our "shift" was the Thursday afternoon matinee. Occasionally we would work other performances as well but we were dedicated to our Thursdays.
It was delightful working there especially because, once all the tickets were collected and the theatre patrons sitting in their seats, we would find an empty seat and watch the play! Sometimes I watched the same play over several performances and each time it was different. Having seen a play, the volunteers gathered in the lobby and just chatted amongst ourselves, and that way we got to know each other quite well.
Some of the volunteers had been helping out for many years. Between them, they held the heart and soul of the "barn".
After the fire, we decided to try to capture some of their stories. This film is the result of those efforts.
The Red Barn Theatre building, the barn, was owned by the Sibbald family, owners of The Briars resort. Peter Sibbald, one of the three sons of John and Barbara is an established photographer. On the night of the fire, Peter shot footage of the flames and the efforts of the firefighters to control the fire. He generously shared his recording with us and we incorporated it into the film.
Each spring, York Region supports new film makers by holding the Multimedia Film Festival of York Region - a film festival dedicated to films made in York Region by York Region film makers. We decided to enter our film in the festival in 2013.
We are so proud to say that we took a second place in the Open Documentary category!
Celebrating water and Lake Simcoe
In the night of the full moon in July, 2013, Moonapalooza was held at the Sibbald Point Provincial Park as part of Splash Festival.
Just for fun, we recorded some of the activities and made this short video.
The SPLASH Floating Water Festival is a series of events to help people to love Lake Simcoe and the lands that surround it, and understand more about it all, developed through the collaborative efforts of citizens, business and government.
SPLASH is the initial project of the Ontario Water Centre for Innovation, Research and Learning, a new educational organization with CRA charitable status established in 2012. The Water Centre’s goal is to help make the Lake Simcoe area a 21st century living laboratory where a better future is imagined. It will be advancing water thinking, engaging people and creating ripples through collaborative information exchange, building opportunities for recreation, volunteerism, social engagement, learning and enjoyment, and increasing a sense of community and empowerment through helping the environment.
The Splash Festival continues returning with some activities and adding more ways to celebrate the lake.Click here to link to the