September 11, 2016

Margot Pollo goes to Portugal


Lisbon / Grandola, Portugal; August 2016
Canon E0S-3 / Delta 400

September 5, 2016

Do the Boogie Woogie

How many moons since I last wrote? Too many lovely moons to count. I am sitting at my desk in the middle of mine and Iain's home. The room housing the desk is a pass-through room between front parlour and kitchen. The workroom as I like to call it contains a glass topped work table, a light table, a desk and a piano. Soft light. No plants like it in here. Today is Labour Day Monday. Feels like New Year's Eve a little bit. My anticipation builds as the day flows on.

Tomorrow morning I begin a new position as an Inclusion Support worker at a Montessori school situated in Winnipeg's Exchange District. Children's House Montessori was established on Pacific in 1967 making it the oldest Montessori school in Winnipeg. The building has a neat energy. It is a positive, safe and fun place to learn, to observe and to guide others in their quest. I am really looking forward to getting to know more children and their families throughout the coming months. Last year at this time I was embarking upon my first year as a Teacher of Montessori. 15 little chickens in my care. Art Coordinator. It was a wild and frustrating, hilarious and tender, energizing and exhausting time. Learning Curve in full effect essentially.

It is a fantastic switch in mentality to anticipate something rather than fear it. Empowering!

Below is a sample of some new print work, fresh out of last night's dip. Tony Chestnut! What a hoot of an experience. Jill had a new vision for this season and invitmed me to frame up the magic of her Winter 2016 collection. It's a rough and tumble collection of clothes made for hauling ass in. I would say this is Jill's most gritty and quality collection yet. It gives off a strong front at first but the looks soften as you begin to notice the details. Ceremic buttons made by Lane Delmonico Gibson (!!!) that close the delicate backs of the hardy coveralls (available in wool or Army Duck), little double collars on a long column of a dress made from the loveliest soft knit, funnel sleeves on the boiled wool cardigan that reminded me of the Tinman! So many details in this story it is silly! I love and appreciate the many opportunities to push my skill set in new directions. Thank you Universe.

Six models, six looks worn in their own way.


July 30, 2016

Eagles and Animal Crackers


I am nearly set to leave for a two week journey with my longest running nanny family. We will be holidaying together under the Portuguese sun in the breadbasket of the Alentejo region. 7km from the Atlantic Coast. No complaints here. On Thursday I was looking after the twins and Efram surprised me by asking out of the blue if we could print a photograph he had been thinking about since the last time we spent time in the darkroom together. I always give them free reign of my contact sheet binders, as I quite enjoy their perspective of what makes a "good" photograph. The fact that Effie chose such a special negative to work with made my day. We started with the Golden Eagle and then moved on to Noam's choice negative. He titled the final print "Three Muskateers Eat Animal Crackers on Megan's Back Porch". I dig it. Have a look. I exposed the paper and they did the rest. As always, their wonder over the magic of the developer filled up my soul and made me wonder what on earth it would be like to teach my own children someday. They killed time between two minute exposures by reenacting their favorite scenes from Scooby Doo zombie edition and doing pushups on Uncle Al's rug. Ha! Perhaps I need to take a page from their book.

Here lies some new collaborative work. Meg, Efram, Noam edition; hand printed collectively on July 28th, 2016 and scanned at home on July 30th, 2016. Enjoy!


July 23, 2016

Photo Essay: Meeting Lula Browning

Nice to meet you Lula Browning Colvin. Born to Rebecca & Grant on July 16, 2016.


Dear Lula, these photographs are for you and yours, captured with real deep love. It is important to know what wonderful people you have been born to. Near and dear they are to both U. Beetle and I for so many reasons it is hard to know where to begin the list. I look forward to running free with you in the country in the time to come and watching you grow in the present. As your wise mama says, "day by day". I can't wait to observe your parents introducing you to the Sugar Shack. My heart swells with pride at the thought of you knowing that special land intimately in your own way.

Bless you sweet child; wind in your sails as you traverse this wild and wonderful planet, those bright eyes shining all the way!

Love, A. Madge

Ps. All photos shot on the old faithful Kiev 60 on Portra 400 film. At first I was disappointed I had loaded my camera with colour in lieu of contrast. Then I saw the film and knew it was better this way. Lovely to be content working with colour scans after a long time apart.


July 19, 2016

Welcome to PJB's Classroom


Here lie three scans from the modest mountain of my great grandfather PJB's negative collection. Three examples plucked from a very slim pile of doubly (or triply) exposed negatives. Old, strict Peter was a hawk eye and technically sharp. Or else he was very, very good at editing his own work. Or perhaps majority of his work was lost or dispersed in his transition into old age and forgotten beyond death. Or perhaps he wasn't as prolific as I make him to be in my mind and the negatives in my possession are it. In that case, I shoot a hell of a lot more than he did. 

Based upon the fact that majority of his negatives are 6 x 9 cm, I imagine him shooting on a Voigtlander Bessa folding camera or something of the like. When I am bent over my light table in the basement and thinking about PJB at work in his own darkroom, I become abuzz within (if he even had one that is, as I am 100% unsure upon whether or not he even printed or processed his own work. Never have I seen any original prints). There is something so powerful about handling hundred year old artifacts. Being around old things has always energized my soul in such a way that nothing else can hold a candle to.

My goal is to eventually finish printing my own contact sheets of every single negative from his collection, but the work is slow and daunting at times so sometimes I scan a few to get an idea of what I am working with and to feed my passion for the project like a slow, satisfying burn. Life work. Eventually I will present my own children with a thick binder of contact sheets alongside the preserved negatives of their great, great grandfather. At this snail's production pace, I better live to be 102, no less. When I grow discouraged about not devoting enough of my personal time to bringing his mind's eye musings to life, I try to remember that I have time and repeat the wise words of South African embroidery artist Hendrik Stroebel to myself as a mantra.  I do not limit these wise words to only the PJB focus as they have an ultra affirming and calming effect on my work as an artist as a whole.


Back in the saddle I go hi-ho. Until that glorious day when I am finally ready to hang the hand printed work of Peter JBR with pride, have a look into his classroom in the interim. I like the look of the environment, though I have a strong suspicion there was no Tom Foolery in his classroom. These images must have been shot in the early 1920's as he was establishing his teaching career in rural eastern Manitoba (most likely captured without a thought in the world about where these images would someday end up). Someday, I will have a one room school house on my land and I too will capture photographs of my pupils at work. I hope one of my granddaughters will like them enough to explore the narrative in her own space and time.


Tot Lot

Atlas, myself and a new cat photographed around Easter Time in Morden, Manitoba; 2016. Photo thanks to Iain Petkau / Pentax 67

'Been thinking a lot about kids lately. What good is this world without the hilarious observations of children? They are showing up in my photography work left and right these days. No complaints here.