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Sunday, July 5, 2009

During the middle of the nineteenth century, the art and science of photography took a hold on the world. It is impossible to live a day now and not somehow be affected by a photographic image. Photography allows us to capture a moment-in-time, create an image and show it to the world. What would we do without it? Or better yet, what did we do without it?

Once upon a time man used oils, pigments, charcoals; he reproduce the visions he had of the world. He reproduced peoples’ faces: scenes of combat, scenes of beauty: landscapes and cityscapes: urban and rural.

With the advent of photography, the reproduction of life as we saw it became obsolete: at least to the painter. Because of this the age of Impressionism happened.

The age of Impressionism gave us Monet and Renoir. We were shown the talent of Alfred Sisley and Mary Cassatt. There are the beautiful scenes of harvest by Pissarro and the harbor scenes by Morisot.

But what of the greatest Impressionist of all time? A Canadian. Tom Thomson.

Tom was born August the fifth 1877, and he died in his fortieth year of unknown causes.

But he died doing what he loved and in the land he chose to recreate for the world to see: on canvas and in oil.

On that day he set forth in his canoe with his paints and fishing gear. His body wasn’t discovered for many days later. But the treasures he left Canadians are there for all to discover.

Each time that I wander into the bush, whether with my camera, fishing rod or rifle, I’m looking for that same scene that Tom Thomson saw when he gave us Jack Pines.

Tom Thomson recorded for us a Canada that all Canadians should have a great appreciation for. He gave us the Birches, Jack Pine and the Pool. Tom saw Canada as we all should. As beauty, serenity and as proof that God exists. Because Canada does.

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