Thaddeus Holownia reinvents the way we look at familiar imagery in order to provoke extraordinary relationships between viewer and subject. As an environmentalist, Holownia draws on his metaphysical relationship with the ecosystem as a response to humankind’s intervention with the landscape. The photographs from the body of work, Silver Ghost, communicate both the beauty and the possible disappearance of the Atlantic salmon from Canada’s eastern rivers. Employing his signature large-format film camera, the images memorialize and celebrate the habitat of the salmon by taking a “slow look” at its geology, forests, pools and runs, as well as its artifacts.
Silver Ghost honours the spiritual world of game fish and their native rivers. The title refers to the medium of black and white photography, where fleeting images are fixed in a mercurial habitat: as well, it alludes to the looming fate of the Atlantic salmon and the consequences of anthropogenic-driven extinction. Beautiful on the surface, the subject matter of these photographs carries a consciousness of the environmental degradation that is taking place in the landscapes portrayed. Silver Ghost adds to a lifetime of work focused on the tenuous relationship between humankind and its surroundings. Does this work also foreshadow the potential fate of analogue photography?