Gareth Bate

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North Lake Photography Series

Artist Statement
Gareth Bate
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The North Lake photography series depicts the remarkable shifting storms and clouds over North Lake, Prince Edward Island. This small fishing village is located on the north eastern tip of PEI. The sign says it's the Tuna Fishing Capital of the World.

I shoot them every year from the upper window of the house where I stay for the month of August into September. After a few years I eventually realized that I was shooting the exact same shot over and over. It grew into my longest running body of work which now spans 9 years. I find this view inspiring on an almost archetypal level. The vast sense of space seen in many of my paintings from the Lament series, Moments, Deep Field, Floating World and Many Worlds are inspired by this view or North Lake, Prince Edward Island.

Sometimes I shoot the scene non-stop all day long. By the end of my stay I've shot thousands of photographs of which the yearly body work includes the best ones. For me this view is like a theatre stage with the action continously changing. Around dusk I shoot the scene every few minutes for about an hour. I'm amazed by how only a few minutes can completly change the sky. My interest in this process is certainly related to Monet's Rouen Cathedral and Haystacks series. It is fascinating the way the sky is never the same. Even after all these years I'm impressed that I still get very surprising effects I've never experienced.

One thing I've learned is to always shoot the sky no matter what. Often it looks boring, or the same as a few minutes earlier. But the camera lies and produces a beautiful image. This series has taught me is to never trust the camera. The real life experience and the photographed image rarely match. The photograph is a completed different thing. These photos contain very little alteration other than cleaning them up and removing water spots from the window that appear on every image.

In Prince Edward Island my body seems to be trained to detect sunrises. I manage to wake up for almost every one. In Toronto I never see the sunrise. One of the strengths of the series, I think, is that the main action always takes place off stage. Many of the photos are taken around sunrise and sunset but the actual event is never in the shot. We see only the trailings and full sky effects but never the obvious things.


Location: North Lake, Prince Edward Island.
Date: August - Sept. 2009 to August - Sept. 2013.
Status: Prints Available
Exhibitions: Not yet exhibited.