In This Place: Calgary 2004-2011
Photographs by George Webber / Words by Aritha van Herk
In this Place… is about Calgary.
But it is not the customary view, the postcard tourist view, the souvenir view, the view that lies solely on the surface, oblivious or indifferent to the life that unfolds below that surface, and beyond. This book is about the images, both written and graphic, of the themes that define the city. The overlooked, the feral, the discarded, the unexpected and mysterious. It is about looking backward and forward, inwardly and outwardly, like glimpses through a train window. It is about the images, both written and graphic, that piece together all those the hundreds of little clues to create a grand patchwork that identifies a place you might otherwise not see.
These images are about light – that addictive Calgary light, especially around those sweet hours at the beginning and the end of day. They are about what happens when a shaft of light penetrates a room and cleaves the space in two, a razor edge separating the darkness on the one side and light on the other, the precise place where the photographer chose to place his camera.
These images are about the capturing of all the tiny moments and improbable fragments, all the exquisite little slivers pulled from the stuff of everyday life. They are about the importance of finding beauty, meaning, and mystery in the place you live. These images are about a city that is in the process of transforming itself. They are a little reminder that you cannot take things for granted.
|Dimensions||12 × 9 × .625 in|
George Webber, the photographer/author of books on Hutterites (A World Within), natives (People of the Blood ) and the last days of Calgary’s nowdemolished downtown taverns (Last Call ), has turned his lens toward what many feel is his finest work, a portrait of the real Calgary as it approached, then passed, the million mark. In his own words, “Calgary is always becoming something else, moving on, moving up, moving out, making room for something new, breaking your heart in little ways. But perhaps there is something here that no amount of steel and glass and asphalt can conceal. These pictures make me hungry for the way the city was.”
Aritha van Herk
Aritha van Herk is the author of five novels: Judith, The Tent Peg, No Fixed Address (nominated for the Governor General’s Award for fiction), Places Far From Ellesmere (a geografictione) and Restlessness. Her wide-ranging critical work is collected in A Frozen Tongue and In Visible Ink; she has published hundreds of articles, reviews and essays. Her irreverent but relevant history of Alberta, Mavericks: An Incorrigible History of Alberta, won the Grant MacEwan Author’s Award for Alberta Writing and frames the Mavericks exhibition at the Glenbow Museum and Archives in Calgary. With George Webber she has published In This Place: Calgary 2004-2011 (photographs by George Webber, words by Aritha van Herk) and most recently, Prairie Gothic. She teaches Creative Writing and Canadian Literature at the University of Calgary. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a member of the Alberta Order of Excellence, and the recipient of the Lorne Pierce Medal and the Lieutenant Governor’s Distinguished Artist Award.