Artist-in-Residence – Port Bickerton, NS
By Dan MacDonald (www.macdonald-photography.com)
This past June, I had the privilege of serving as the 2015 Port Bickerton Lighthouse Artist-in-Residence in Port Bickerton, Nova Scotia, a small fishing village located in Guysborough County. For two weeks, I lived in a renovated lighthouse keeper’s cottage while I photographed the local landscape. I was surrounded by rugged beauty and immersed – figuratively, at least – in the sights, sounds and smells of the Atlantic Ocean.
Why was I attracted to this particular residency? First and foremost was the opportunity to fully dedicate myself to my craft, temporarily free of other commitments. I was always close to interesting locales: I could study the landscape in-depth, over time, and in varying conditions of light and weather. I could work at my own pace and on subjects of my choosing. And I could, if desired, simply use the time for artistic reflection and personal rejuvenation. I admit that I spent a few hours trying to clear the cobwebs, relaxing in the warm spring sunshine, soothed by the surf and salt breezes.
However, I did maximize my time and work as much as possible. There were days when I was heading out an hour or two before dawn and still shooting at midnight. If I wasn’t behind the camera, I was behind the wheel, scouting new locations or returning to earlier ones to capture them in different light and weather. I spent two days on a personal project, photographing lobster fishermen at work while also capturing some of the landscape from a seaborne perspective. I even tried my hand at new techniques and experimented with different genres. A few months later, I’m still combing through my files, reviewing and editing select photos from among the several thousand I captured during my stay.
While there, I took some time to get to know, and learn from, a few of the residents. Port Bickerton has a rich history that’s not easily captured or conveyed through contemporary photography. And the people exemplify Maritime warmth and hospitality.
I want to thank the Port Bickerton Lighthouse Association, not only for selecting me as the 2015 artist-in-residence, but also for making such a unique and wonderful residency program available to Atlantic Canadian artists. I also want to thank artsnb for supporting my residency with a Career Development – Artist-in-Residence grant.
The deadline to apply for the 2016 Port Bickerton Lighthouse artist-in-residence program is 22 January 2016. Application information is available at: www.portbickertonlighthouse.ca/call-to-artists-residency-application/
*Notice: artsnb deadlines for Career Development will be changing as of April, 2016. New deadlines for Career Development grants are: Jan 1, Mar 1, May 1, July 1, Sept 1, Nov 1.