Monday, May 22, 2017

First Donation!!

I was unsure if sending the email begging for donations today was the right thing to do. I was filled with doubt after sending it and  again after waking up this afternoon. I do not like doing that sort of thing. I have changed my mind thou. I received the first offer of a monetary donation. A husband and wife that I know from the second Louie Gallery exhibition (they know and spoke to my mother at the show) will send me some money to use in the dump for the families. Ain't that beautiful! People helping people, and it is all connected to the photography, simply wonderful!



Am sending this email out tomorrow (do not have internet mail access at work now) to 30 or so of my photo related friends in Canada. I hope my somewhat impassioned begging will help earn some donations and money for the dump families. I will have $500 of my own money, if I can some how find another $500 somewhere, along with donated goods like childrens clothes, hats etc. I will be sitting pretty heading back to the dump. $1000 plus goods would be a  nice gift for the "Families of the Dump", my friends in Mae Sot Thailand.

In the email I also sent information on the 2 upcoming exhibitions and the artist talk. Hope this email does not piss people off, but sometimes you have to take a chance if you see it as an important opportunity to help others.
Hi everyone.
I thought I would send one final email with all the exhibition info I have along with a plea to PLEASE help those less fortunate than ourselves. I usually do not ask people for money-donations but the things I have seen in Asia have changed the way I feel about email etiquette. Some things are just too important and you have to push hard to help those in need. After seeing first hand in person,  bare foot children run in garbage, people hungry, 10 year olds digging in garbage to raise money for their families, you do not worry about hurting the feelings of rich Canadian friends by asking them for help. I feel radicalized on this subject. So here is my donation plea, I hope it has a positive effect and we can together help the families and the children working the Mae Sot Thailand garbage dump.

Video of my first trips to the dump back in 2013.
Video of some people playing with my view camera
Another old video from 2013
Another old video from 2013 with some photos
Video from 2015 I think
Another old 2013 video with photos and music

I return to the “Families of the Dump” in October of 2017, will stay there for 6 months making photographs and making my first documentary film (on the life of one of the extended families). I am going to be buying food, rubber boots, headlamps (for night work) and also donating to a local school as well as helping the dump children buy school uniforms and pay school tuitions.  The money and or donations (used toys, hats, children’s clothing) I take with me to Thailand will be given directly to the families by me, or I will transfer them through a group working directly with the families that I have grown to trust. They do good honest work there, have seen them helping people in the dump for the last 4 years. A bit of background: I have been visiting, photographing, donating by myself and with this group since 2013. I have probably done over 50 day long dump visits over that time, multiple trips over multiple years. I now have many friends there, have photographed extensively over a long period of time. The growth of babies to children, children to young teens, a wedding, family outings, the life experience of those living in the garbage.
I am asking for a donation from you of money-small toys-children’s clothing and hats. With $10 I can buy and give 2 pairs of boots (cheap Chinese made) to people who work the garbage. I can buy  rice that I leave with the mother of the dump shack to feed her family, I can help a child go to school with tuition fees or school uniforms.  The price of 1 dinner out in Canada can help 2 or 3 large families in the garbage dump. Please, please consider donating some goods or some money to help those in need. We can all make the world a better place if we join in and contribute to the lives of the forgotten. You do not have to give lots, a child’s toy, old baby clothes, $5, $10, $20 everything makes a difference, everything can help. I will take 2 – 50lb check in bags loaded with photographic and film making tools but any room I have left over I will used for donated goods. The money I will use to buy things in Mae Sot Thailand where the families live. I can strike the best deals after negotiating prices at the local markets.  I can speak a fair amount of Thai to negotiate, and I also have several contacts there to help deliver food etc. to the dump which is outside of the main town.

Here are a ton of links to donation stories I have written on my photo blog over the years. PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO READ SOME OF THEM. Giving can do so much good for the soul, over the years what I have done for the families has helped me 10 fold inside my own heart.
As for me, I plan on donating upwards of $500. I am getting a $400 artist fee for the “Trumpet” show listed below, and possibly a $100 shipping credit (am begging for that money now). I am also going to get money for an artist talk for the “Healing Process” exhibition, that money is being donated to the dump children as well as a gift from my father. I figure it should all add up to $500+  in help for the families. This is a great thing because it shows how photography, especially social documentary photography can do some real good. In the past several people (including some on this emails mailing list) have told me that photography does not matter, cannot help etc. I felt at the time that was wrong, and it was, the money from the showing of the photos is going to go back to the families in the photos, beautiful baby, so beautiful!!! Let’s show those naysayers that we as photographers and artists can make a positive difference in the lives of others. Let’s help the “Families of the Dump” together J.
Ok end of donation plea. I did my best..


Here is the information for the 2 exhibitions and the artist talk. I hope to see you there.
“TRUMPET EXHIBITION” Opening Night June 3 at 8pm. The show runs a month. The exhibition is at Latitude 53 gallery. I am the only Edmonton artist, the rest are from Calgary and Lethbridge. There are also CARFAC activities happening during the day and that weekend. Will be showing 5 20x24 fiber paper darkroom sized prints in 26x30 sized frames.

Here are directions to the Gallery

HOURS: Latitude 53 is open to the general public Tuesday to Friday 11am to 7pm, and Saturdays 11–5 pm.
Thanks to the support of our members, Latitude 53 admission is free.
ADDRESS: 10242 - 106 Street Edmonton, Alberta
DIRECTIONS: Latitude 53 Contemporary Visual Culture is located on 106 Street and between 102 Avenue and 103 Avenue on the West side of the street in downtown Edmonton; we are between NorQuest College and Metro Billiards. We are only two blocks north of the Corona LRT Station and two blocks west of the Bay (104 Street) Station and close to bus routes travelling to all parts of the city.
"With the pride of the artist, you must blow against the walls of every power that exists the small trumpet of your defiance."
Norman Mailer
The exhibition Trumpet is framed by defiance: a reaction to the political climate in which we find ourselves and our need to be heard. Each artist shown use their work as a megaphone: to give warning, to speak out, to increase the power of their message. 

Trumpet sought work by Alberta Artists who use their work to question new political realities, on a local, national, and international scale, and who may have a unique perspective that is under-represented or unrecognized within current exhibition and curatorial practices. The six selected artists - Barbara Amos, Lee Deranger, Kazumi Marthiensen, M.E.D.I.U.M., Alice Schoenberg and Gerry Yaum - question the world order in some way. Their art trumpets. It can be a loud lament about an issue, a call to action, a direct challenge to assumptions and oppressive power structures, a vehicle to further understanding or a way to redefine the world around us.
Barbara Amos raises questions, stimulates new conversations and possibly new actions; she offers a new way for people to engage with the world. Since establishing a studio in the Crowsnest Pass area of Alberta, Amos has sought out and engaged with the environmental groups that are fighting to preserve the trees on the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies  - an area experiencing the world’s highest rate of deforestation. Amos collaborates with others “in the field” to make political environmental statements. In the gallery, Amos use concepts of beauty (a moment of receptivity) to open us up to new connections and to an exchange of ideas.

Lee Deranger is a First Nations artist based out of Calgary, whose politics are at the heart of her creative practice. Deranger’s “Reconcile This” confronts a 268 year old “scalp law” that is still on the books in Nova Scotia. She offers the viewer three scalps: one for the British, one for Canada and one for Nova Scotia. Created after 2015’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and exhibited here in the year of Canada’s 150th  birthday, Deranger’s “Reconcile This” challenges privileged narratives and assumptions, and reveals the many blind spots in the dominant cultural discourse regarding the relationship between Canada’s colonial history and First Nations and Metis lives and history. This work slaps the viewer across the face; the slap is totally justified.

Kazumi Marthiensen has been exploring and questioning the environmental destruction and crime arising from the establishment of the American military base in Okinawa, Japan. Marthiensen recognizes and addresses the lack of understanding of the post-war experience in Okinawa by offering us a written explanation, a didactic statement that is all the more poignant for its simplicity.  This simplicity and attention to detail extends to the work itself, and presents an arresting testament to what is (still) happening on this small island 755 kilometers south of Nagasaki.  This work has a stillness, a silence about it, that underscores this under-told story, and exposes the complexities surrounding the defeat of Japan in the Second World War and the resulting American colonialism.

M.E.D.I.U.M. (Metaphysical Explorations, Divination, and Investigations Utilizing Magic) is a Lethbridge-based quartet comprised of Frater Tham, Madame Symona, Char Latan, and Dr. I. M. Auftenhazie. The performative personas are adopted by the quartet to subvert the notion of artistic “ego,” and take “authority,” out of the equation when making art. The collective is very much engaged in the world’s political issues, and use allegory, symbolism and magic to explore (and subvert) notions of what real or concrete truth is. The video and artifacts “Reduce, Reuse, Re-psychic” present us with an alternative “ritual curse and healing narrative” to heal the planet and the creatures upon it, including humans. M.E.D.I.U.M. provides us with new ways to both relate and react to our current political reality, and seek lasting change for the better.

Alice Schoenberg uses her body to create art that attempts to simultaneously divert and analyze the male gaze. As a queer female artist, Schoenberg sexualizes the representation of her embodied self, but retains control of this sexualization.  “Miss Dressup,” employs a childlike aesthetic to both expose and subvert the common cultural narratives around sexualized female bodies. These versions of self are not her - they are fragments of version of stories about what it means to inhabit a queer female shape that wishes to define itself on its own terms. Schoenberg’s art provokes a conversation about power, identity, control, sexuality, and how these forces impact our bodies.

Gerry Yaum is a traditional documentary photographer who works outside his culture and his comfort zone. This place of discomfort allows Yaum to do more than observe his subject; he strives to see them on their own terms. By the second or third visit to a place, Yaum notes, the people he photographs “know you are no longer a tourist.”  Like the artists in M.E.D.I.U.M., Yaum has adopted a ‘persona’ in an attempt to focus greater attention on the issues and ideas conveyed through his images (Yaum is a pseudonym). As records of lived experience, “the Families of the Dump” series presents a deeply uncomfortable vision of the world, the intention of which Yaum describes as wanting to “slap [the viewer] out of their indifference.” People living in ‘first world’ countries will likely never experience the extreme poverty captured in these photographs. The intent here is to provoke a level of discomfort that will lead us to question not only the present world order, but our own complicity in it.
Trumpet player Christian Scott describes his instrument as a political weapon; "I don't just play the trumpet because it's something that resonates with me: I play the trumpet because it's a means to help free a lot of people that ain't free." Like Scott, to get their message out, the artists of Trumpet ask us to question what we hold to be true. They force us to listen. They are Advocates, Activists, and Artists.

Chris W. C.
May 2017

”Healing Process” Opening Night August 3 at 6pm. The show runs a month. The exhibition is at the AGSA, Art Gallery of St. Albert. I am the only Edmonton artist. One of the other people is from the USA, and the third of our group is from BC. Will be showing 7 20x24 fiber paper darkroom sized prints in 26x30 and 28x32 sized frames.

Art Gallery of St Albert
19 Perron Street
St Albert, AB T8N 1E5
P: 780-460-4310
F: 780-460-9537
Regular Hours:
Tuesday to Saturday: 10 am – 5 pm
Thursday: 10 am – 8 pm
Admission: Free
Healing Process
The creative process is a healer. Healing Process brings together three artists who each use their artistic practice to explore the illnesses of their loved ones, to shed light on treatment, pain and tragedy, and reconcile their own emotions and understanding of their experiences.

Social documentary photography Gerry Yaum, seeks to tell the stories of forgotten and marginalized people. His deeply personal series My Fathers Last Days documents the final 13 months of his father's battle with pancreatic cancer. Through a series of poignant black and white portraits, Yaum attempts to understand and capture his father's struggle and create a memorial for him.

British Columbia-based artist Sima Elizabeth Shefrin's innovative series the Embroided Cancer Comic Chronicles her journey with her husband following his prostate cancer diagnosis. The embroidered-fabric pieces focus on the couple's day-to-day and life changing events as acquiesce and experience the unexpected impacts of cancer treatment.

Darian Goldin Stahl's
intriguing installation, MRI IN USE includes a series of life-sized suspended hospital gown prints. These transparent forms seemingly hover between the gallery space and the viewer. The print-based installation emerged from an ongoing collaboration between the artist and her sister---a clinical bioethicist diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Stahl's work offers a glimpse into the experience of navigating a medical diagnosis and living chronic illness.


The Artist talk for the for “Healing Process” is going to happen on August 31. The date thou is not locked in and might change. If you want to attend please email me and I will give you the up to date info when I have it, or keep an eye on the blog, I will post it there as well.
Thanks for taking the time to read my very long email. Together we can work together to make this world a better place, let’s try to do that together as artists and people of good hearts and good conscience.
Best Wishes Gerry
PS…I opened up a second blog for my film work only. The idea being when I try to submit my documentary film (the life of a dump family) to film festivals etc. I will have a link I can send the committees, juries that details the process of making the movie. Please keep an eye on that blog as well. I will be doing daily updates of my life in Thailand making photos, the film and doing the donation work. If you give, you can see the people you helped, face to face and in person. I will give detailed accounts of how everything donated is used.

Links: Weplate Photographer Hattama Masaharu

Found a wonderful Japanese wet plate photographer on YouTube tonight. Check out his extremely beautiful and inspiring work.This it the type of extremely powerful ambrotypes/tintypes I hope to make someday.
Also check out his great wetplate proces video here:

All photos by photographer Hattama Masaharu

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Exhibitions Promotional Sheet

Did up a quick so so quality (about the best I can do) promotional sheet for my coming exhibitions. I I wanted to promote the work, the stories, and hopefully get a bigger turnout at the gallieres. Will try handing this out at the Art Gallery of Albert (AGA) this Friday. I am going to go to an opening night party at the gallery, the first of these I will attend. My hope is that I can give this sheet out to some of the AGA big wigs and some of the people in Edmonton who love art and support it. Sometimes you got to be a bit pushy to get what you feel is important recognized, and seen. To tell dads story, to tell the stories of the "Families of the Dump" I will be bit pushy. The end justifies the means! At least in this case.:))

Here are some screen captures of my little flier. It is printed on 1 sheet of paper, your seeing both sides of that sheet here.

Promotional Exibhition Sheet.

Quote: Nora Ephron (Writer-Director)

"Insane people are always sure that they are fine. It is only the sane people who are willing to admit that they are crazy."

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Partially Satisfied, But So Much More To Do, So Much More Owed!

I am quite happy I got these 2 group shows and artist talk before my 6 month adventure in Thailand. It sort of sets the right mood as I head into the unknown. The work gets seen, the stories get told (kinda) and I earn money that I can donate back to the families in the dump. Helping my subjects is what this is all about, telling who they are and then giving back.

Still with all this recent good news I feel unsatisfied, I feel a bit let down. I need to get solo shows in higher end galleries, I need to move up to the major galleries in the major Canadian cities. I need to have large solo exhibitions. Only then will I have lived up to the responsibilities my subjects have entrusted me with. They welcomed me into their lives, gave me the gift of their image. Part of my photo making bargain is to get the work seen in large important world class galleries and museums, major shows in major places. I have yet to do that. I must continue to push myself and work harder still. My subjects stories must be seen and told. I owe them.

The 5th And Last "TRUMPET" Exhibition Print Completed

Tonight at work did the spotting and faming of my inal 20x24 inch fiber print from the "Familles of the Dump" for the "TRUMPET" Exhibition. Glad this part of it is done, next week in the darkroom I will resume work on the last 2 "Healing Process" exhibition prints.

"Young Girl In The Garbage" the 5th 20x24 print for the "Trumpet" Exhibition

Tonights Two Finished "Trumpet" Exhibition Works, Side By Side

Here are the 2 finished prints for the "Trumpet" exhibition I did tonight. Will do the final one tomorrow, already cut its mat, just need to spot and frame it.

I have come to really love 35mm images enlarged to 20x24, the grain, the effect of bleach on Tri-x film/Ilford warm tone. Is something really special and beautiful. A unique look that in many ways tops large format film work and digital file reproductions. There is a wonderful harshness to these finished works, that speaks so well combined with social documentary photography.

Tonights 2 finished "Trumpet" exhibition photographs 2 of the 5 that will be shown.

Friday, May 19, 2017

2nd Final "TRUMPET" Exhibition Print Completed.

I managed to complete a 2nd final "TRUM,PET" exhibition print tonight. I like the rather harsh bleaching on this 35mm negative. Of the 4 versions of this print I have this one was by far the best, the exposure and bleaching on the babies face work best. This photo was mad in 2013, I photographed this same child numberous times in 2015 and 2016. We became friends, he would pretend to steal stuff from my camera bag and follow me about the dump.

"Baby Boy In Dump Shack" the 4th 20x24 print for the "Trumpet" Exhibition
Here he is on the left playing in a dump suitcase with his younger sister 2015
Here he is in in his dump shack 2016

Writing My Artist Talk For The "Healing Process" AGSA Show

Over the last week or so I have been working on my artist talk for the coming "Healing Process" exhibition in August. I want the talk to be a tribute to my beautiful father and to also show the collaboration we both committed to produce the photographs. This was the last long series of photographs we worked together on, my father allowed me access and posed for me in subliminal important ways that contributed so much to the the finished series.

I need to express in the talk who my dad was as a person and also how we worked together on this thing. Another important theme is how through the making of the photographs I was able to cope with the loss of dad a bit easier. Art allowed me an important outlet during that very difficult year. I was able to hide behind the camera, use it as a tool to express my families shared difficulty, grief and sadness.

I will not read my notes when I speak to the crowd (how many people?) but want to have some key points written on cards which I can refer to before launching into my stories. I will speak in the gallery in front of the work for 30-40 minutes I believe. I still have to go over this with Jenny the curator of the AGSA when she does a studio visit with me on June 20. Am really looking forward to this talk. As mentioned earlier I will donate the speaking fee to the children of the dump in Thailand on behalf of my father. This will be dads last gift, he can help some children in need, BEAUTIFUL!