Recorders and Keepers

Some of the features on this page require that JavaScript be enabled.
view previous artwork view next artwork
Evangeline's Mother
photograph, black and white photo, gelatin silver print on paper, Saskatchewan Highway 41, capturing the soul, photographer's gaze, photographer eye, background, foreground, composing a photograph, recording life in photographs, gardening in Saskatchewan, a pioneer's garden, settlers' diets, glimpse of the past, connecting with the land, seasons, cycles of nature, nature's cycles, recording the moment, nature's bounty, earth, prairie soil, people, portrait of a prairie life, prairie woman 1993, prairie gardener, prairie garden, woman, elderly, standing in strawberry patch,buckets, Evangeline’s mother, rural community
description

The photograph presented here, Evangeline’s Mother, was one of a  seriesA number of things or events standing or succeeding in order, and connected by a like relation; sequence; order; course; a succession of things; as, a continuous series of calamitous events. (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary)  taken along Saskatchewan Highway 41, which links Saskatoon to Melfort. Bonne Madone is one of several small communities along the highway where Pepper stopped to record the activities and lives of some of the province’s pioneers, particularly the women.

start quoteI wanted to show the inner strength of people and I wanted to get a facial expression that would show that.end quote
-- Thelma Pepper (ARTSask 2008)

An anonymous photographer once suggested that when you take a  colourProduced by light of various wavelengths, and when light strikes an object and reflects back to the eyes. Colour is an element of art with three properties: (1) hue or tint, the colour name, e.g., red, yellow, blue, etc.: (2) intensity, the purity and strength of a colour, e.g., bright red or dull red; and (3) value, the lightness or darkness of a colour. When the spectrum is organized as a color wheel, the colours are divided into groups called primary, secondary and intermediate (or tertiary) colours; analogous and complementary, and also as warm and cool colours. Colours can be objectively described as saturated, clear, cool, warm, deep, subdued, grayed, tawny, mat, glossy, monochrome, multicolored, particolored, variegated, or polychromed. Some words used to describe colours are more subjective (subject to personal opinion or taste), such as: exciting, sweet, saccharine, brash, garish, ugly, beautiful, cute, fashionable, pretty, and sublime. Sometimes people speak of colours when they are actually refering to pigments, what they are made of (various natural or synthetic substances), their relative permanence, etc. (Artlex.com)  photo you take a picture of the person, but when you take a black and white photo you capture a picture of the person’s soul. Perhaps this is why Pepper takes black and white photos of the people she photographs. In this photo of Evangeline Kovacs's mother, the eye naturally comes to rest on her image, and the rest of the scene recedes into the background.

Looking at Evangeline's Mother – while she looks back at us through the  cameraIn photography, a tool for producing photographs, having a lightproof enclosure with an aperture and a shuttered lens through which the image of an object is focused and recorded on a photosensitive film or plate. In video, a device that receives the primary image on a light-sensitive cathode tube and transforms it into electrical impulses. (Artlex.com) Find out about 35-mm cameras at Wikipedia:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/135_film  – we wonder how many summers she has tended this garden, and a substantial number it is!. While during pioneer times the summer garden likely meant welcome additions to the settlers’ diets after Saskatchewan’s long winters, in 2001 it probably represented another season of opportunities to connect with the land and participate in its fertility and generous bounty. 

Evangeline's Mother has obviously seen her share of years come and go, and yet large buckets are close by as she prepares to harvest from her garden. There is dignity in hard work, Evangeline's Mother is saying, and in being in sync with the cycle of the seasons. How fortunate that Pepper was present to record the moment.

additional resources Honouring Pioneer Women
Duration: 2:11 min
Size: 9935kb
Photography: A Life-long Passion
Duration: 2:02 min
Size: 9396kb
Printing Old Negatives
Duration: 1:49 min
Size: 8162kb
Revealing Soul and Spirit
Duration: 2:10 min
Size: 9730kb
Thoughts on Wallace Stegner
Duration: 2:12 min
Size: 10082kb
Things to Think About
  • Do you think Pepper has succeeded in letting us see a bit of Evangeline’s Mother's soul? Why, or why not?
  • What do you think this photo would look like in colour? Do you think it would be considered as good a photo as this black-and-white one?
  • Other photographers whose works are presented here on the ARTSask website manipulate their artwork or use elements from several photographs to create a new work. Pepper simply takes photographs, although the gelatin silver printing process she uses produces very detailed black and white photos with a rich range of grey tones. What do you think makes a photograph a work of art?
  • Another artist whose deep regard for those whose toil brings forth the earth’s plenty is Vincent van Gogh. Look at some of the the gardeners of Van Gogh’s era and his paintings of them, and compare them to Evangeline’s Mother. Do you think gardening has changed so much? Why or why not?
Online Activity
Hello, you either have JavaScript turned off or an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.

Many  documentaryAny artwork the purpose of which is to present facts objectively, without inserting fictional matter, recording and/or commenting on some content, often political or social, by accumulating factual detail. Many conceptual art installations of the 1970s were overtly documentary — e.g., Post-Partum Project by Mary Kelly (American), the various Reading Rooms by Joseph Kosuth (American, 1945-), Guggenheim Trustees by Hans Haacke (German, 1936-). More common examples: documentary films. Not to be confused with documentation. (Artlex.com)  photographers work in black and white - the grey scale replacing colour.  Black and white images sometimes allow us to concentrate more on the  contentThe subject matter of a work of art and what it suggests about that subject matter. This includes the ways in which that work of art can be plausibly interpreted.  of the image while still giving the richness of a grey scale - black and white can show how things look without the distraction of colours. Some photographers, however, prefer  colourProduced by light of various wavelengths, and when light strikes an object and reflects back to the eyes. Colour is an element of art with three properties: (1) hue or tint, the colour name, e.g., red, yellow, blue, etc.: (2) intensity, the purity and strength of a colour, e.g., bright red or dull red; and (3) value, the lightness or darkness of a colour. When the spectrum is organized as a color wheel, the colours are divided into groups called primary, secondary and intermediate (or tertiary) colours; analogous and complementary, and also as warm and cool colours. Colours can be objectively described as saturated, clear, cool, warm, deep, subdued, grayed, tawny, mat, glossy, monochrome, multicolored, particolored, variegated, or polychromed. Some words used to describe colours are more subjective (subject to personal opinion or taste), such as: exciting, sweet, saccharine, brash, garish, ugly, beautiful, cute, fashionable, pretty, and sublime. Sometimes people speak of colours when they are actually refering to pigments, what they are made of (various natural or synthetic substances), their relative permanence, etc. (Artlex.com)  as they feel it gives more details of both form and content.


Compare the colour and black and white photos below. Which works best for the  subjectA topic or idea represented in an art work.  matter, form or content?

Studio Activity

Thelma Pepper’s photographs are about community.  A community is any group of people who share a social, religious, occupational, cultural or historical connection, or who have any other shared interest or specific locality that connects them.

Create a  seriesA number of things or events standing or succeeding in order, and connected by a like relation; sequence; order; course; a succession of things; as, a continuous series of calamitous events. (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary)  of photographs that documents a community.

  • Decide on a community that you would like to document. Remember, it could be any group of people that are connected to each other in some way, like a school, a family, a neighbourhood, a sports team, a dance class, a music group, a  group of friends, an office or any other workplace, or simply people who live in the same street or location.
  • Documentary photographers record cultural, social or political situations and convey information through the pictures they take. Decide what information you want to convey about YOUR community.
  • Take a number of photographs. Find shots that will convey information.

Public art intervention

The  subjectA topic or idea represented in an art work.  and title of Thelma Pepper’s photograph is Evangeline's Mother. Gardens can create and enhance community.

Art interventions are performances, actions, or artworks presented or placed in public areas.  You can use gardening as an art intervention in your community.

As a public art intervention, plant flowers in neglected areas of your school yard or neighbourhood to build community and visually enhance the neighbourhood.

  • Continue to nurture the plants over time and reflect on the project with your growing community as the plantings progress and mature.

For more information and examples of public  art interventions See Wikipedia on Art Interventions for further information (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_intervention).  visit the National Film Board’s of Canada’s site Citizenshift.

And for further gardening information, go to:

References

Author unknown.  ‘Thelma Pepper, Abundant Life: The Journey Home.’  Exhibition write-up.  Past Exhibitions, Acadia University Art Gallery, Wolfville, Nova Scotia.

http://www.sherbrookecommunitycentre.ca/docs/Untie_the_Spirit.pdf

Pepper, Thelma.  ‘Decades of Voices: Saskatchewan Prairie Women.‘   Artist StatementA commentary by an artist on an artwork, and exhibition, belief system, or any other topic.  for Anna in her Kitchen, 1989.  Saskatchewan Arts Board, 2001.  Retreived from the Internet on August 8, 2008 from:  http://www.artsboard.sk.ca/showcase_collection_results.cgi?display_result=1659&SessionID=1201291278

Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning