As a self-taught photographic artist, Sylvia Galbraith has employed a variety of methods; traditional analogue, pinhole, and early historical processes have formed the basis of her practice for more than 20 years. With the advent of digital image creation, Galbraith has embraced technology in its various forms; she now works almost exclusively with digital processes including video, scanned objects, and through digital collage. Her creative process has been greatly enriched through the unlimited possibilities available through the digital medium. Experimentation during image capture and post-processing now feature strongly in her practice, yet the basic characteristics of photography remain evident regardless of the technology used, presenting viewers with new/old ways of contemplating the inherent and enduring principles of photography.
As a child of immigrants, I have often felt out of place; somehow I’m connected to adistant country I have never seen, questioning my inherited ideas of belonging withinthe context of displacement, immigration and settlement in lands that once belong(ed)to others. I consider connections to the landscape – the physicality of the groundbeneath me, the stability and constancy of rocks that are millions of years old, thereassurance of things remaining in place. Yet I yearn for other places; I stand with myfeet in the sea, drawn towards a shifting, distant horizon, imagining what might be beyond my view.
My father came from a country in Northern Europe that was bordered by the North Sea.Forced to leave as a teenager during the Second World War, he fled west; Canada became his refuge – here he settled and raised his family, with no apparent desire to live anywhere else. Yet after he died I discovered countless photographs, taken over alifetime here, that depict landscapes almost identical to mine – distant horizons, water below sky, endless seas. Though of different places, they demonstrate a similar sense of dislocation; of being steadily drawn towards “somewhere else”. I wish that I could askmy father about these images that so closely parallel my own. Did he experience the same sense of displacement that I glimpse in myself? Was he truly happy in his adopted country?
Through photography and video, I consider ideas of home and belonging through the visual interplay between parallel experiences shared by two photographers; the scenes are eerily similar, though separated by time and situation. The horizons draw the gaze outwards towards the unknown, tantalizing us with an unobtainable “over there” or“beyond”. By scanning and printing my father’s original photographs on organza fabric, and overlaying them onto my own photographs, horizons align, and movement inherent to the panels demonstrates the shifting views of our individual perceptions.