Inside this issue
In Praise of Uninteresting Places
The mindset and experience of the photographer
Kas Stone is a full-time photographic artist and writer based in Atlantic Canada, where her work is inspired by the wild coastal scenery and moody weather right outside her door. She can’t believe her good fortune in being able to make a (modest) living doing what she loves.
“Nothing of interest in this area.” My father wrote these words on a topographic map more than fifty years ago. When I came across the map recently, his words made me laugh out loud because they were written almost directly on top of the place that I now call home. And I moved here precisely because I found the place so interesting!
Negative comments were unusual for my father. He was a glass-half-full person, always seeing a sliver of blue sky when the rest of us were grumbling about the rain. His topographic maps were sprinkled with annotations like “excellent beach,” “picturesque village,” “lovely picnic site on river” and “looks promising for trout.” So his verdict, “Nothing of interest,” was a striking anomaly.
Alas, my father died a decade ago, so I can’t ask him for an explanation. I can only speculate that he drove through this area briefly in dreary weather (not uncommon here), perhaps with squabbling children and a restless Labrador retriever in the back seat (a normal family outing). Even so, his comment is surprising because this is the kind of wild coastal scenery that usually appealed to him – and inspired his photographs – as it continues to inspire me and my photographs today.
The precise location isn’t significant. It happens to be the Tor Bay coast of Guysborough County in Nova Scotia, Canada. But it could easily have been somewhere else. The point is that my father saw nothing of interest and made no photographs here, while I have been tramping happily about this landscape with my camera for several years and haven’t found it tedious yet.