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Walter May • Photographs

Fire pits and Campsites

     This ongoing series of campsites and fire pit images has been gathered over the last 19 years during excursions to natural and wilderness areas located primarily in Alberta and British Columbia.The photographs were taken using various digital cameras, have been printed in several sizes and are usually exhibited in blocks or groups, or as a part of installations that include other objects. When the images are seen together, comparisons can be made between small scale economical campfire constructions and large structures that must have required a great deal of effort. This leads one to speculate on the purpose and intention of the builders. At the present time I estimate that I have amassed a digital archive of over two thousand images as a part of this project. 

     Most of the sites that I have documented are found near water, which has become a secondary theme in the series. Although the location of the site is of interest, I am more engaged by how people have chosen to construct the fire pit using whatever natural materials are at hand to contain the fire.  I have also noticed that in most cases people will remove whatever has been brought to the campsite location that is not of the natural world, however the fire pit itself is left intact. Unless the sites are disturbed by other people, animals or by natural phenomena such as floods, these sites may remain as evidence of human interaction with the natural world indefinitely. 


     A selection of paired photographs that features incongruous, ironic, portentous, futile or unusual situations. Examples of recurring imagery includes falling or fallen objects, black animals, accidental drawings, containers for fuel or fire, the effects of fire and water on the land and strange lighting.    

Big Little Fish

     Small dried fish were scanned at high resolutions. These scans were translated into large inkjet prints that were exhibited with the original fish presented in a test tube adjacent to the framed image. In a later development, a scan of a preserved fish was paired with a fossilized fish of a similar size. 

Chateau Mathieu

     A selection of images taken during a residency project at Chateau Mathieu in Normandy, France. Several of these images were included as part of the narrative section of the "Folly" exhibition (The Esplanade Gallery, Medicine Hat, Alberta, 2012 and The Nickle Galleries, Univ. of Calgary 2014).

Walter May • Drawings

     Examples of early drawings exhibited with the source material included within the composition. Models included string, sticks, stones, feathers, cigars and portions of some animals.  This strategy of including original subject matter, pairs of objects or groups of related components often reoccurs in my other work. 

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