I’ve just spent some quiet time poring over Planet Digby, and I had to keep telling my brain I was looking at photographs and not paintings. The collection of images – photographs of reflections of fishing boat hulls in Digby harbour – is complemented by a selection of poetry and even Biblical passages. Together, the photos and poems act as a commentary on the Earth, its ecological changes and humankind’s relationship with the two.
“What will the Earth look like in 100 years, 1,000 years, 10,000 years?” Smith asks. “What you see on Planet Digby may not be familiar. Looking thousands of years into the future may be unsettling, but the Earth, with our help, might still be beautiful.”
Smith created the breathtaking photographs, which have not been edited or enhanced in any way, over a period of two days in October, 2018. “At times, I could not believe my eyes and it seemed like it was out of my hands – that someone or something else was taking the pictures,” says Smith.
The photos in Planet Digby were originally displayed in a show at the Artz Gallery in Halifax, NS, during Nocturne Festival in October, 2019.
Questions for H.M.S. Smith
Q. Scott, in the Planet Digby’s Afterword, you mention that the photographs are reflections of fishing boats’ hulls. Were you actually on the boats themselves or on a smaller boat alongside (or on the wharf) when you took the photos?
A. We were on the wharves that the boats were moored against James.
Q. The colours! These look like oil paintings and not photographs, which you claim are “all raw images and have not been processed or enhanced in any way”. It’s difficult to believe that due to them being so abstract. Surely you must have employed some type of photographic “tricks” to get these types of images?
A. No, I swear they are all raw images. Sometimes I don’t believe it myself but the late afternoon light in October was very rich. A few of the images have been cropped to fit the page.
Q. Do you plan to do any more of this type of compilation?
A. I have enjoyed matching the poetry passages to the images – such a pleasure to revisit such beautiful language. I have lots of abstract images but this experience was surreal – lightning in a bottle. As I said, something took over, like I was a passenger. I think the message is positive – that the planet could well survive and still be beautiful – but different.
About the author: Photographer H. M. S. Smith is a former architect and project manager. Born in Montreal, he attended Mount Allison University and the Technical University of Nova Scotia (now Dalhousie University). He co-founded SS Publications Ltd. (now SSP Publications) in 1995 and has authored three best-selling architectural histories of Prince Edward Island.
- Publisher : SSP Publications (Nov. 15 2020)
- Paperback : 60 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1989347088
- ISBN-13 : 978-1989347089
- Item Weight : 505 g
*Please note if you choose to purchase this book through Amazon using the link below we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. If you cannot see the Amazon ad below (if you are using an ad blocker, for instance) here is the link: https://amzn.to/3oJCbwc Thanks!
James M. Fisher is the owner and editor-in-chief of The Miramichi Reader. He began TMR in 2015, realizing that there was a genuine need for more book reviews of Canadian literature. It has since become Canada’s best-regarded source for the finest in new literary releases. James has been interviewed about TMR on CBC Radio and other media sites. James works as a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Technologist and lives in Miramichi, New Brunswick with his wife Diane and their tabby cat Eddie.