Canon EOS XSi EF 50mm f/1.4 at f/13 1/250 ISO 800. Bruised in the pavement, I love the colours of this leaf.
It is a difficult thing to define a country. Such a big thing, an idea, a set of peoples, and perceptions. One starts and stops, begins again and finds oneself up against a barrier of language and expression. Lately I have been listening to spoken word artists like Sage Francis and Shane Coyczan and it is Coyczan's poem "We Are More" that I think comes closest to overcoming those barriers. It is joyously hopeful and very Canadian without being jingoistic.
I wanted a photo that said some of the same things. I wanted it to use Canadian imagery in a non-traditional way. One fall I drove around Nanaimo to photograph the change in colour and I found some beautiful maple leaves. I took some standard pictures then took one leaf home with me. I wanted an image that would go beyond the traditional pastoral landscapes and reflect the growing importance of urban landscapes in the Canadian psyche. I put the leaf on the pavement and drove over it a few times with my car, they are surprisingly tough, to bruise and mark it. This was getting closer but the pavement didn't provide the right contrast yet; it needed more punch so I brought out my hose and wet it down. This left me with exactly the right kind of colour and shine for both the leaf and the pavement and the textures just jumped. I was quite happy with the image, my only hesitation is that the end of the stem runs out of the frame.
The original leaf before I drove over it is below.