Fire and Water, Bruce Peninsula, Ontario 2003

medium: a pair of chromogenic photographic prints, each containing a grid of 16 images.
dimensions: each 40 inches high x 60 inches wide (102 x 152 cm);
32 images each 8 7/8 inches high x 13 7/8 inches wide (22 x 35 cm)
collection: Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery, Owen Sound

Travelling along roads on the Bruce Peninsula in September 2003, I noticed many signs in front of businesses and, especially, private houses where people were selling bundles of wood. I saw a wide variety of signs, many of them handmade, announcing “CAMPFIRE WOOD” and “CAMP FIREWOOD” and “CAMP FIRE WOOD”. When I stopped at these spots and got out of the car, I saw smaller messages with requests to pay for the wood by leaving the money in an ‘honesty box’ or a pail if there was no one home.

These signs reflect a human interaction with the land — in particular, the large areas of mixed forest located on the escarpment uplands. The trees here are predominantly eastern white cedars, which thrive on the alkaline limestone terrain. The signs also reflect an interaction between humans on the peninsula — between the inhabitants offering wood and the visitors passing on the road, many of whom, it seems, are camping temporarily in this landscape.

On the other side, the underwater photographs show an interaction between elements — water and stone. In contrast to photographing the signs on top of the escarpment, I took these photographs below the surface of the water that surrounds the peninsula. I walked out on the flat limestone bedrock at the lakeshore, stepped into the water, and held an underwater camera beneath the waves, allowing the water flowing over the limestone slabs to wash over the lens.

Marlene Creates, 2003