Knife’s Ridge, Dinosaur Provincial Park
Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta
2001, Roberta Bondar
photograph – silver gelatin print
Knife Ridge, Dinosaur Provincial Park is an elegant depiction of a landscape changed by time.
Bondar presents this minimal landscape in an epic and beautiful manner, typical of classic landscape photography. With this image she communicates her appreciation for the organic forms nature creates, suggesting that beauty and perfection lie outside the realm of artistic intention.
In a long standing photographic tradition, Bondar presents this landscape in black and white. This strips away any chromatic distraction a location may contain, leaving the formal elements of shape and texture to bear the aesthetic load.
In this expansive composition, the amorphous cloud vapor contrasts with the defined lines of erosion covering the hillsides. These two pictorial elements have an important relationship within the image.
The sweeping delicate clouds are the vessels which carry the water necessary to carve the hard landscape in its slow progression of change. By capturing evidence of this process in a photograph (an impermanent form relative to geology), Bondar strengthens her suggestion that a similar impermanence exists in the very land (earth) we stand on.
This image becomes slightly politicized when we realize the landscape depicted is in a national park.
In this regard, Bondar asserts that a photograph can only preserve an image, and only we can preserve the land. The lack of plants or people within the composition evokes feelings of solitude, as if we are the only living thing for miles.
Consequently we begin to feel a personal responsibility for the landscape, as if we are its sole protectors and providers.