Spheres & Culture at Celia Duthie's and Nick Hunt's PlaceMonday, July 12, 2010
Saturday evening and Sunday morning were wonderful. Rosemary, Rebecca Lauren and I stayed in the Saltspring home of Celia Duthie and Nick Hunt. They live in a one level home to which expert handyman and carpenter (cook, baker, gardener, etc) has added porches, rooms, etc. Celia’s garden is a combination of the beautiful with the practical. She grows her own vegetables. We had dinner and breakfast that consisted of bread, freshly baked by Nick Hunt and food that was all made with vegetables from the garden or of eggs and fish that came from local origin.
While food was excellent (Rebecca even accepted the challenge of eating kippers for breakfast, but Nick reneged on his promise to make them) it was the good company that made my stay. Celia and Nick were visited by friends Rosemary Allenbach (a producer at the CBC of Bill Richardson’s Saturday Afternoon at the Opera) and Les Stegenga who is a zoologist (an expert on gorillas at the Calgary Zoo).
At the dinner table and at breakfast we discussed books, the Burgess Shale, gorillas, opera, gardening, rap, art, architecture, music and in particular the beautiful lanterns that were hanging around the Duthie art gallery which is next to the Duthie home. Seen here is one set by artist Brent Comber.
Les timed on his watch Lauren’s sprints around the house while Rebecca played with two of Celia and Nick's black cats, Black & Decker. Rosemary enjoyed the cats, too and the garden. It was good to see her relaxed.
Where else would you find piles of good books and at least two or three copies of the New Yorker in every room (including the bathroom)? Our stay was much too short but it served a generous portion of parallel education for Lauren and Rebecca.
I had been invited by Duthie to photograph the lanterns (all made from wood or metal) that were in the grounds of her Salt Spring Woodworks. I had been a bit nervous about it as people not objects are my expertise. But as some of my friends pointed out I do have age and experience in spades going for me. The problem involved showing the light within the lanterns while still showing them in situ. If you were to photograph them at night the background would be too dark. If you photographed them during the day you would not see the light within. The trick was to photograph them at sundown and to use film (since film is what I shoot) that was kind to working with extreme contrast. In this case Kodak colour negative film normally used for weddings was the ticket. The exposure of Brent Comber’s two spheres was over three minutes. To the naked eye the sky was black as was the foliage of the trees. The ground was pitch black.
These spheres were my favourites. They seemed to have fallen from outer space and I could imagine them as being little space ships containing strange but wonderful aliens – shades of Michael Crichton’s 1987 novel Sphere.
In the group photograph, from left to right, your friendly blogger, Rosemary Allenbach, Rebecca Stewart (holding Black), Les Stegenga, Celia Duthie, Rosemary Waterhouse-Hayward and sitting, Nick Hunt (looking very much like English archeological artist Frederick Catherwood) and Lauren Stewart. I am sure that there are other pictures were everybody had their eyes open. But this is the only one where I appeared and you can see me squeezing that bulb with my right hand.