Between Water and Light: Jordan Manley’s Hydrologic Reality

The interaction between water, light and the ecosystem of British Columbia’s coast is my constant muse. Each day, predictably, the sun completes an arc across the sky. But as sunlight passes through our atmosphere and makes contact with water, there are infinite and unpredictable ways that the two will react, depending on geography, time of day, season and weather. These variables are the ingredients for making photographs. Just as a woodworker might collect cedar from the forest and transform it through rehearsed craft, I create photographs from found elements in the environment and at the same time learn about the ecosystem and connect with it. Whether I am consciously aware of it or not, by making pictures I am designing with those materials, engaged in an exhilarating process of construction and experimentation. Like so many photographers, I share in the joy of creating an unfamiliar image from familiar objects.

Photography, like fishing, draws me into wild(er) places. Both activities invite me to explore the broad landscape of BC’s raincoast. But fishing and photography also provide an excuse to study the world in closer detail, often slowly, allowing time to discover what’s hiding in plain sight. Whether I’m looking for signs of fish or looking for my next shot, I’m often down on my hands and knees, peering into a pool, like a child. Photography, as with fishing, is a way to reach out and connect with the world, but also connect with a younger part of myself…

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