Wade Comer

For the ‘Once Upon Water’ residency, I propose to circumnavigate Pico Island in a boat, capturing its shapes and colours in my method. I am drawn to the Pico Island Residency by the opportunity to continue and expand upon my work of the past three years: Time Passages. The characteristics of Time Passages —encapsulating time and motion, the relationship of the land and the sea, and of attributes of memory and remembrance—are all aspects that I would like to continue to pursue with the Fogo Island Residency. A continuing series of long–exposure photography—essentially, photographic paintings—taken from the decks of ships in motion, Time Passages takes place onboard passenger ships large and small, around the world. Time Passages is a study in time and motion floating on the sea of chance where the process of ‘painting’ with the camera creates images that abstract the real into new landscapes and architecture, recalling somewhere familiar, yet altogether different. Film — a movie — is a series of thousands of frames of stills, hundreds of feet and minutes long,that are then played back to give the clear impression of movement, or transition… and time. “An image as film”, is the opposite effect: a single frame that captures the movement of a thousand frames of stills. Not by superimposition, but supercompression. All that time in one frame. Time Passages is a reflection of remembering and memory. The supercompression of multiple memories into one image, all recalling a place and time. Light and colour, like memory, are details often fuzzy. The title and concept for my residency on Pico Island is called, Circumnavigation. For the ‘Once Upon Water’ / Pico Island Residency, I would like propose to document the circumnavigation of the island, applying the methods and practices I hav eused in Time Passages to create a singular body of work that is both a ribbon of time and space, and an abstraction of it. I propose to spend my time in a nautical circumnavigation of the island, photographically painting the peripheral elevations of Pico Island. The final product of this process will be a series of prints, not unlike a film strip of linear images,

A few years ago I became very interested in the technique and process of long-exposure photography and spent a lot of time experimenting and perfecting the process. The experimentation paid off, but I felt the process didn’t allow for the accident of chance to infiltrate. I wanted to experiment further with long-exposures. Find a new way. My way. With Time Passages, my work of the past three years, I have found that way. By taking to the water on ferries and passenger boats I have gained a new perspective and relinquished control. The technical aspects of photography take command and chance has an opportunity to influence the outcome of the image via the movements of the boats and their course changes, the weather conditions and ocean swells, and the way in which the camera records the scene. The outcome is a series of images that evoke memory and recognition of place; ephemeral landscapes and cityscapes that are familiar yet alien.


As a photographic artist my projects often explore the theme of human impact on the environment and the contrasts of urban existence with nature. Living in Vancouver, Canada, nature surrounds urbanity and that relationship has coloured much of my work. Humanity paves down Nature in its effort to urbanize, and Nature eventually creeps back into dominance through the process of time and decay – a process as old as humanity, and a process I have found myself attracted to. I have documented that process of decay and ‘exquisite decrepitude’ (Wrecks, 2008 and Bear Pit, 2013), abstracted the everyday (Carnage 2009), and used impressionism to convey my ideas on the taming of nature and the quest for solitude (Beaver Lake by the Numbers 2010). For more please visit my website: wadecomer.com

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