Friday, September 24, 2010

Seeing the Big Picture: Q&A with Mark Kasumovic

Of late, I've really enjoyed some works I've seen by Mark Kasumovic. One, a project on hydro, did a great job of trying to show a diffuse and often-overlooked power grid. Another, a commission on the Greenbelt that's currently up at Harbourfront Centre, showed recreational sites with a serious approach to compositional drama. Today, my Q&A with Kasumovic is out in the National Post. An excerpt:

Q Your Greenbelt project, like your past project on hydro, tries to document massive phenomena. Why?

A I use one or two lenses, all wide-angle. Rather than showing a small fraction of a scene, I like to try to show the entire scene as I feel I truly see it. A lot of photographers capture the little details in an environment really well. But I feel there's something special about trying to see how everything fits together.

The challenge is that these types of projects take time. They rely a lot on things outside your control--lighting, weather and people are hard to gauge when a site is a three-hour drive away. So I just keep revisiting places. For the Greenbelt project, I visited each site at least two or three times. It added up to a lot of driving. I was borrowing my mother's car, and she was like, "How did you put 10,000 kilo-metres on in three months?"

Q What sites did you visit?

A To start, I researched almost every park in the Greenbelt. A lot are really great visually, like the Collingwood Caves--almost every picture turns out amazing. More challenging are flatter places like Kleinburg, where I shot a kite festival. For the second part of the show going up in October, I visited the Ganaraska forest on the eastern limit of the Greenbelt. It's the biggest forest within an hour and a half of Toronto, and it's amazingly beautiful.

But it wasn't just landscape I was interested in; I wanted to capture interactions between people and landscape. So I sought out treeplanting festivals, trail-riding associations, birdwatching clubs, ATV groups, Mother's Day at the Royal Botanical Garden. I even got a great Canada Day fireworks photo. It's kind of cheesy, but I always wanted to do a fireworks photograph.

You can read more here.

(Mark Kasumovic's image of a Rouge Beach pathway from Upfront)

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