View topic - Winnipeg Art Gallery - Richard Harrington Exhibit

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PostPosted: December 4th, 2009, 1:10 pm 
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In Winnipeg, head over to the Winnipeg Art Gallery for the exhibit "Richard Harrington: Arctic Photographer" (28 November 2009 - 14 March 2010). His Padlei Diary is a classic, and is based on trip by dogsled in the early 1950s to Arviat and the eastern Barren Lands to photograph remote camps of the Padlei Inuit.

Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG): exhibit announcement and press release.

There is also a Canadian Press story by Bob Weber:

Quote:
Winnipeg photo show exhibits rarely seen images of 1950s Arctic famine

WINNIPEG - Sometime in late February 1950, a Canadian photographer pulled a camera out of his parka and into the stabbing Arctic cold, focused as best he could in the flickering lamplight inside an igloo, and pressed the shutter.

The resulting image - an Inuit mother, haggard from hunger and dressed in shabby caribou skins, fiercely pressing her nose and lips to those of her youngest child - has since become iconic.

But the story behind Richard Harrington's memorable print, and the many others he made around the same time, is less well known. And that's what a show now on at the Winnipeg Art Gallery hopes to remedy.

"It's certainly long overdue," said Darlene Wight, one of two curators behind the exhibit, which runs until March.

Harrington made six trips to the Arctic between 1948 and 1953. He travelled by dogsled and often lived with the Inuit, who still largely depended on the land. It was a life that informed their traditional culture but depended on the availability of caribou.

Harrington's 1950 trip came in a year the caribou didn't. The result was famine. As southern Canadians were welcoming a prosperous decade of suburbs and big-finned cars, many of their northern fellow citizens were starving to death.

On Feb. 8, a few days before he snapped his most famous picture, Harrington wrote in his journal:

"Came upon the tiniest igloo yet. Outside lay a single, mangy dog, motionless, starving ... Inside, a small woman in clumsy clothes, large hood, with baby.

"She sat in darkness, without heat. She speaks to me. I believe she said they were starving.

"We left some tea, matches, kerosene, biscuits. And went on."

More than once, Harrington photographed someone who would be dead the next day. And when he returned south, it was those images that finally alerted the rest of Canada to what was going on in its Arctic backyard.

Most Canadians are unaware that famine stalked their land within living memory, said Frank Tester, an Arctic sociologist and historian at the University of British Columbia.

"It's not a story that's well-understood or appreciated," he said. "We have an image of this country that excises this period altogether."

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PostPosted: December 4th, 2009, 2:10 pm 
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If you are near Winnipeg, you should go and see this. Harrington's photography is stunning and the images haunting.

If you are not near Winnipeg, it would be worth looking for Harrington's book, "Padlei Diary, 1950," which contains many of his best photos from his 1950 trip. It is a great read (look?) for those interested in the Arctic: unfortunately, it was only published in a limited edition and has gotten a bit expensive in the used book market.

http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchR ... ei+diaries

-jmc


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PostPosted: December 6th, 2009, 10:03 am 
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CBC has a video link to a news story on the exhibit ... including an interview with a descendant from the community.

Library and Archives Canada has also has an interesting project on the Harrington photos and naming Inuit in historical photos. You can read about it here (Phase I or Phase II), or in the CBC story on project.


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PostPosted: February 8th, 2010, 11:14 am 
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jmc wrote:
If you are near Winnipeg, you should go and see this. Harrington's photography is stunning and the images haunting.

If you are not near Winnipeg, it would be worth looking for Harrington's book, "Padlei Diary, 1950," which contains many of his best photos from his 1950 trip. It is a great read (look?) for those interested in the Arctic: unfortunately, it was only published in a limited edition and has gotten a bit expensive in the used book market.

http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchR ... ei+diaries

-jmc

Just to add a few words to John's.

The "Padlei Diary" book was published by Ted Carpenter's Rock Foundation. It is an exquisite publication - a collectors item and expensive due to its quality and very limited printing.

I knew Richard and his wife Lynn. They lived in Toronto. I tried a number of times to persuade him to talk at our annual Symposium. But he was a shy individual who was not interested or unable to promote his work himself.

Ted Carpenter did speak at our WCS event a number of years ago on another topic. He had great respect for Harrington's work and promoted him.

A good alternative to "Padlei Diary" is Harrington's earlier book - "The Face of the Arctic" - it has most of the same images as Padlei Diary (and many others) - and much less expensive
See
http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchR ... c&x=58&y=9


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PostPosted: February 8th, 2010, 12:54 pm 
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Library and Archives Canada also has a project based on the Harrington photos, which they call "Project Naming," where they have been working with Inuit youth to identify family members and elders in the photos. It sounds like a really remarkable and thoughtful way to bring the photos back to the community and use them as a way to reflect on the past, build relationships, and involve youth in telling the story of their community. Phase I (2001-2004) started with up to 500 Harrington photos from Igloolik, Kugluktuk, Taloyoak and Padlei. And Phase II (2005 - 2007) works with additional photos from private and public collections.

The Stephen Bulger Gallery has a website featuring original prints from the Estate of Richard Harrington. They also include a useful bibliography … which I will definitely be looking for, and appreciating. Interesting to hear about his shyness. Padlei diary includes selections from his written diary, and you can definitely sense some of this in his comfort behind the camera lens, he is quite direct about this, and how this possibly adds to his photos and his sensitivity for context.

Quote:
Selected Publications …

2000       Padlei Diary, 1950 Edited by Edmund Carpenter and sponsored in a
               limited edition by Rock Foundation, New York
1998       Richard Harrington: Canadian Photographer, Alaska Northwest
               Publishing Company
1984       River Rafting in Canada
1981       The Inuit: Life as it Was
1976       Richard Harrington’s Antarctic
1974       Richard Harrington’s Yukon
1955       Family of Man
1950       The Face of the Arctic


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PostPosted: February 8th, 2010, 2:21 pm 
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This is turning into one of those threads where the discussion is interesting and informative, and would be a loss if the thread were to be deleted, per forum policy, at the end of the event.

So I'm thinking this thread might find itself a permanent home in the Photography forum at the end of the exhibit date.

Thanks to all the contributors to this thread. :clap:



Barbara

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PostPosted: February 9th, 2010, 2:16 pm 
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I could not get the CBC video link provide above to work, but this links to the same CBC video

http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/News/Canada/North/ID=1346509544

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PostPosted: February 9th, 2010, 4:03 pm 
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jmc wrote:
If you are near Winnipeg, you should go and see this. Harrington's photography is stunning and the images haunting.

If you are not near Winnipeg, it would be worth looking for Harrington's book, "Padlei Diary, 1950," which contains many of his best photos from his 1950 trip. It is a great read (look?) for those interested in the Arctic: unfortunately, it was only published in a limited edition and has gotten a bit expensive in the used book market.

http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchR ... ei+diaries

-jmc

John:

I hope you purchased a copy of the Padlei book at the Symposium some years ago - when it was available.

Background. Ted Carpenter had sent a number of boxes of the book to Richard Harrington. He called me and I went over to his home and purchased two or three boxes - and he was kind enough to sign the individual books. As I can best recollect the Symposium price was something between $75 to $100.

In hindsight it was a great "investment" - :) - for those that still have the book.

Fred Bruemmer recently told me that Ted Carpenter was gravely ill these days.

He is also a very interesting individual. His notes about Marshall McLuhan are classic.
See http://mediatedcultures.net/phantom/Silent%20Sea.pdf

And a couple of other interesting links re Carpenter
http://mediatedcultures.net/phantom/biblio.html#a
http://mediatedcultures.net/phantom/links.html


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