Jeffrey Douglas

Haunted Landscapes

Jeffrey Douglas's photographic philosophy evolved not only from his rural upbringing, but also from the haunting obsolescence of the pioneer cemeteries, vanished villages, decaying farmhouses and rusting machinery that decorated the backdrop of his childhood. His stomping grounds, situated on the farm where he grew up, are smack in the middle of several formerly bustling villages and commercial centers—Glenwillow, Walkers, Macksville, North Ekfrid, Napier—now ghost towns with a few lingering houses. Adorning the property are the remnants of horse-drawn farm equipment, overgrown with vegetation every spring, and the decaying cement foundation of the farm's first barn, destroyed by a tornado some 70 years ago, but persisting like a farm version of Stonehenge. Modern technological interruptions of natural, rural, and wilderness spaces—a refrigerator plunked in front of a decaying barn, a soda can at the foot of a deteriorating piano, a Toronto streetcar taking on new life as a rural lawn ornament, an Old Spice cologne bottle adorned with spider webs on the window sill of an abandoned farmhouse—are his artistic objects of desire.

 

Apart from exhibiting photography in cities ranging from Toronto to Calgary, Jeffrey has published poetry, artwork and essays with several Canadian magazines (Qwerty, filling Station, The Torontoist, English Studies in Canada) and has had films screened at the Ottawa International Animation Festival and the Canadian Film Centre. You can find the tome-length espousal of his photographic drive in a dissertation entitled “Refuse to Relic: Neopastoral Artifacts and the Phenomenology of Environment,” currently housed at McMaster University in Hamilton. He is a Professor of English and Communications at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario.

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