Hannah developed the notion of “community engagement” as stated in our project summary with Portraits on Portland, the main street in Downtown Dartmouth where gentrification is becoming a fact of life. She photographed shopkeepers, small business owners and characters of this street for the exhibition she held in September at Alderney Landing in Dartmouth. She also organized community conversations around a wall-sized, handmade map of the street hanging with the photography in the gallery. It contained all its interesting detail and annotated perceptions of the future of this street as explored in these conversations. The map became an integral part of the show for its duration.
Meanwhile I experimented with the making of a book on a project I completed with a solo show at ViewPoint Gallery in Halifax: Come from Away, Artists of Minas Basin (2004). I wanted to know about costs, time to print, necessary quality for best printing of colour and black and white photography. I first produced a hard copy book with a wrap cover and uncoated fibre paper, which I thought to be best for printing the black and white photography. I printed a limited, numbered edition of 50 which was well received but could not be commercially successful because of the small local audience and the high cost ($52). I then experimented with a soft cover edition and found that combined with coated matte paper this delivered good results for the printing the photographs. I had editorial help from author Susan Haley who taught me that putting a photographic show between two covers does not make a book. You need some kind of story line for that. It took me quite a while to think one up but I believe I succeeded thanks to her encouragement. With a run of about 20 copies the unit price was $26 including tax and shipping.
The experience over the last 6 months took us away from field work but it was essential for the longer term success of the project as we are in a much better position to assess the public impact as well as costs of the approaches we can take in presenting the results of the Ribbon to the Future project.