Erase Me

Description

64 pages
$26.95
ISBN 0-9734588-0-1
DDC 779'.99171243

Publisher

Year

2004

Contributor

Photos by Leslie Thompson
Reviewed by Douglas Barbour

Douglas Barbour is a professor of English at the University of Alberta.
He is the author of Lyric/anti-lyric : Essays on Contemporary Poetry,
Breath Takes, and Fragmenting Body Etc.

Review

Leslie Thompson’s amazing prairie photographs provide the major reason
for getting this book. Using a panoramic camera, and often placing
herself at the spectator-level of such animal inhabitants of Grasslands
National Park in southwestern Saskatchewan as the coyotes, she offers
viewers a series of wide-angle visions in black and white that bespeak a
rare sense of the transcendent rooted in material nature: “at dawn and
dusk with the vantage point of a coyote, I stare into the horizon and
sniff the air.”

Accompanying her on her trek, poet Len Gasparini proffers a number of
comments opposite Thompson’s photographs. When he focuses on her work,
they work, but his references to himself just get in the way. As he
says, correctly, “On the prairie, the ego is utterly erased.” Or
should be, and, strangely, is in the photographs.

Very interesting, however, is Petra Halkes’s essay on Thompson’s
work, “The Grass Is Running.” She catches the particularities of
Thompson’s photographic art in a highly useful manner: “Thompson
sets her camera to a long exposure inviting natural light to linger
inside and paint its own picture. By omitting colour, she pays respect
to the ultimate creator of the photographs, the light with its endless
range of intensities that show up particularly well in the ranges of
gray.”

What is so stunning about these panoramic photographs is the clearly
defined detail, not just the line of horizon and dip of rises, but every
blade of grass, each small branch of bush. Anyone who loves classic
photography will find delight and motive for meditation here: Erase Me
is a work of profound beauty.

Citation

Gasparini, Len., “Erase Me,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 28, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/16127.