by Thomas Allen
I am not an art critic of any kind nor am I from the school that any medium of fine art is only for certain people’s enjoyment. Keeping that in mind I was delighted when asked to review a photography exhibit by Neal Livingston at the UCCB Art Gallery.
At the Edge – Cape Breton’s West Coast is a collection of twenty-six high resolution digital photographs that explores beautiful and bizarre shorescapes, cliffs and forests of Inverness County. Livingston, a resident of Mabou who is best known for his film work, has come back to doing stills after twenty years.
He had to abandon still photography before, when he discovered that the darkroom chemicals were making him ill. But now, with digital camera in hand, he is back capturing some very interesting and wildly radiant images. Photographing landscapes in not altogether uncommon, however, Livingston’s collection is, in my eyes, unconventional and even a bit surreal and one can see his love of natural, simple beauty. Some of the photos are basic beachscapes and some more closely resemble abstract paintings with hues of colour that are quite rare to most of our local geological terrain. But in any matter, Livingston somehow managed to seek them out, capture them and bring them to us for our enjoyment – so we should do just that. My personal favorites in the collection were “Maple Forest 1” and “Cliff Tongue”. At the Edge – Cape Breton’s West Coast exhibit is an enjoyable and memorable collection.