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Photo : Video : Storytelling

A blog by Paul Bettings

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The Faces of Nature

A rock face reflecting on a lake in the early morning.

The lakes, rivers, forests and streams of northern Ontario have always been my escape from the busyness of the city. It’s those early morning moments where everything is quiet, the lake is calm and everything seems to echo across the water. That’s the space where I can rest.

Deep thoughts on photo projects and nature

As my photography career grew into a client base that allowed me to take on projects and work abroad capturing images in remote regions of the Global South, I often found myself conceptualizing photography projects that would allow me to use my skills in different ways but still gave me a similar sense of purpose in the captured outputs. I was often at a loss while trying to dream up photo projects, but in the end it all came back to the where it all started; nature.

I have always been captivated by the foreverness of nature, I imagine it as an entity that is on a slow march towards an organized chaos of wild life. An entity that, if we are not attentive, will leisurely take over our cities, towns and neighbourhoods and feel no remorse. But, here we are, existing alongside nature, trying to control it and taking what we can.

Beautiful moments

This resolve of nature is what I had been trying to dream up in my late-night photo project planning sessions - a nature that is unforgiving and beautiful, dangerous and evocative. These contradictions are what, for me, make photography a compelling art form. A photo can be visually stunning and heart wrenching at the same time and that contradiction is captured in a specific moment in time, it is a visual record of something that actually happened, it is the documentation of an actual moment, a snippet of time. As a photographer, making that moment captivating, beautiful and true is my goal.

These rock formations stand out because they are the faces of permanence. The trees rise and fall, the rivers move and shift, we will come and go, but these stone faces only shift with extreme force and will be in their place even if we are not around to enjoy their beauty. They convey an authority, a knowing, a calmness that tells of experience.

For those of us in Canada, it’s the long weekend, enjoy it! To all of us, be sure to make your moments beautiful.


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