Monday, August 31, 2020

Sunday, August 30, 2020

The Power Of The Ottawa River

Whether in close up or at larger scale, the Chaudiere Falls impresses. Tomorrow I'll finish this visit for you.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

The Mighty Chaudiere

To close out the month, I have posts from a visit to the Chaudiere Falls, taken on the same day as my last two posts. I carried on past the Holocaust Monument, and to the Falls, where the Ottawa River finds its course among several islands and channels, with the main channel a waterfall. When Champlain came up this way in 1613, he first sighted the falls for himself, but First Nations people have lived here for thousands of years.

For the better part of a century, this area was largely closed off and industrial, but the industrial side of things is being removed, aside from a hydro dam that rings around the falls and regulates its flow. This first view is from a platform downstream.

I carried on to the main viewing platform, stopping on a bridge where some of the river is channeled through. The far shore we see here is Tunney's Pasture on the Ottawa side of the river.

Here we're on the main platform, with Gatineau on the far shore. The falls drop fifteen metres in total, spilling over rocks in a swirl of raging waters. Gulls seem to have no problem down on the rocks below. 

Summer is high time for growth around the viewing platform.

But it's those falls that are the most captivating.

Friday, August 28, 2020

A Haunting Place

Edward Burtynsky is a Canadian photographer best known for large scale photography of industrial subjects, but in the case of the National Holocaust Monument, he photographed places in the history of the Holocaust as they appear today. These are etched onto the walls around the Monument, including this one, directly across from the set of panels I left off with yesterday. Site Of Death March, Near Mauthausen, Austria depicts a present day scene of a place where 20 000 Jewish prisoners were force-marched towards those areas still under German control late in the war. 

I found this poignant. Below the panels, someone had left stones and flowers. In the Jewish tradition, leaving stones at a grave is common.

This is another Burtynsky photo. Abandoned Railroad, Treblinka, Poland shows the passage of time and nature reclaiming the old rail line. Nearly a million people were transported to the Treblinka death camp, hidden beyond these woods, along this line.

Behind the wall of the above shot is an antechamber with a flame of remembrance.

Leaving this chamber brings us to two more Burtynsky photographs. Hiding Place, Warsaw Jewish Cemetery depicts a trench below tombstones in the ghetto cemetery.

Prayer Room, Theresienstadt, Czech Republic shows a place that was established in the camp-ghetto at the time of the war- a prayer room created by Jewish prisoners even in the midst of the Holocaust, and a symbol of their own resilience.

Track 17, Berlin, Germany is a current day look at a freight yard where many trains left, carrying victims of the Holocaust to the death camps where their lives would end.

Fence, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland is probably the most difficult of these etched photographs to view. Even in the current day, the place feels chilling. Auschwitz was the largest Nazi killing centre.

I went up to the second level and photographed the view looking east. The Peace Tower is seen at a gap in the trees.

And then I started back down the stairs, photographing into the heart of the monument. It is a haunting monument, fitting for the subject.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Stark And Vivid

Earlier in the month I went out to Lebreton Flats to photograph two monuments. The other I'll be showing you after the beginning of the month. Across the street from it lies the National Holocaust Monument. Its stark design is by Daniel Libeskind, as part of a design team including historians, landscape architects, and the photography of Edward Burtynsky. Approaching from the east, here is one of the entrances, a staircase going down to the main level. An overlook is above, accessible by elevator or two staircases.

I decided to head to the west entrance. The Monument was inaugurated in 2017 and commemorates the victims of the Holocaust of World War Two.

Here we have the west entrance.

Inside the main space with its harsh lines, we have two of the large scale Burtynsky photographs, which I'll examine tomorrow. A close eye going up those stairs will see the Peace Tower of Parliament Hill. The site is angled so that it points out in that direction.

There is a series of panels about the history of the Holocaust, the persecution of Jews and other minorities by the Nazis, and the response of the world by war's end. Each panel is in English and in French in turn. I photographed three of them.