Brian Deignan: Memory, Imagination and Wonder

Barn, Nova Scotia

Brian Deignan, “House with View, Nova Scotia”

Because it is so unusual, the work of a highly-skilled photographic artist who intentionally seeks to blur his images stands out to me.  Such are the mysterious images produced by Brian Deignan, a Toronto-area fine art photographer originally from Montreal and who also has lived in several parts of the U.S.  Unlike typical bokeh photographs — where the subject is in focus against a blurred background — Deignan’s entire subject is out of focus.  The resulting impressionistic images resemble paintings and conjure up deeper thoughts that often elude sharply focused photographs.   Deignan hints at this with the following observation from his portfolio website:  “People, places, things are what I photograph; memory, imagination, wonder are how.” Very nicely stated!

See more of Deignan’s images at his site here.

CROSSWALK#28

 Brian Deignan, “Crosswalk #28” (High Noon in Mississauga)

Winter Wonderland #10

Brian Deignan, “Winter Wonderland #10”

School Bus, Route 332

Brian Deignan, “School Bus, Route 332 — Nova Scotia”

SUNDAY DRIVE 25

Brian Deignan, “Sunday Drive #25”

Sunday Drive

Brian Deignan, “Sunday Drive #20”

Friday Night, Queen Near Spadina

 Brian Deignan, “Friday Night — Queen Near Spadina”

(Image Credits:  Brian Deignan)

Saint John’s Transcendent Old Loyalist Burial Grounds

wDSC_0190

Weathered Tombstone, Old Loyalist Burial Grounds, Saint John, N.B.

___

Cemeteries are places of transcendent reverence, contemplation and connectedness.  I’m particularly moved by final resting grounds that are situated in locations that cause them to be part of a people’s day-to-day lives.  One of the best and most visually gorgeous of these is the very old Loyalist Burial Grounds in Saint John, New Brunswick, which, like Halifax’s Old Burying Ground, is in the heart of the city’s downtown core.  These pictures from a recent trip on a brisk November morning makes clear that the majestic tombstones dating to as early as 1783 are very much a part of the urban environment built up around them.  With its winding walkways, inviting benches and vast shade trees, the Loyalist Burial Grounds is as much a frequented park space as it is a place for memory and serves as a peaceful oasis amidst the surrounding hustle and bustle.

“Stories We Tell” and How We See Things

Earlier today I saw — and highly recommend — “Stories We Tell”, a riveting and thought-provoking 2012 documentary directed by Sarah Polley of Ontario with major support by the National Film Board of  Canada.   While the surface-level story is about the members of a family recounting their personal perspectives on the once carefree and now-deceased family matriarch and a secret that she kept from them, this wonderful, award-winning film goes further by gently prompting its viewers to reflect on the nature of truth, memory, relationships and certain aspects of the human condition.  The way in which this loving family and friends deal with these perplexing issues is a beautiful example of a kind of grace to be treasured.

“Stories We Tell” also very much brings to mind Jeff Lemire’s Essex Countywhich eloquently uses the graphic novel  genre to ponder tricky issues of truth and memory and which, coincidentally, also involves the search for meaning after the revelation of long-held family secrets.

Official website for the film and more info is here.

%d bloggers like this: