I live near Halifax, Nova Scotia. It is a city of transients. Sailors, summer tourists, students, musicians, cruise ship passengers all pass through on their way to somewhere else.
Pier 21 was the Canadian Ellis Island: the gateway for a million immigrants seeking to be elsewhere. Half of the city blew up in an 1907 explosion that killed two thousand while injuring nine thousand more. It was the largest man made explosion until the atomic bomb.
As people pass through a city, they leave bits of themselves behind in the food, customs, language, buildings, music. Their detritus forms the character of the place. A visual archeology of words and images that mirror their rapidly changing lives.
Part of Halifax’s unique character is the steady stream of paper announcements for upcoming events that are stapled to wooden telephone poles and kiosks or taped to metal electrical poles. These posters have a very short life span. They are quickly replaced by others or are ripped down in a futile attempt to make this unauthorized mess disappear. The resultant palimpsest bits of paper, staples, and tape, a collage of chance, formed the raw material of an ongoing photographic portfolio.
In 2015, I spent two weeks in a photographic workshop in Buenos Aires. The morning after the workshop, I roamed the streets and and found a set of construction fences covered with posters that were partially torn off revealing a sedimentary history most often of faces or part of a face. Man is so enamored with his own image that there seems to be a narcissistic need to place representations of the human face everywhere. When I relooked at the work from Halifax, I was shocked by the number of faces I found.
The five images from Halifax were taken over the course of 10 years; the five from Buenos Aires were taken in a single morning.
About Kip Harris
For nearly 30 years, I was a principal of FFKR Architects in Salt Lake City. My wife and I now live in a heavy timber cottage built in 1823 over looking St. Margaret’s Bay in a small fishing village in Nova Scotia, Canada. [Official Website]