Staging Nature

Jaiden George

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The project Staging Nature gives a complex view of the natural world as it is shaped and defined by human interpretation and intervention. As humans, we don’t peer from within into that which is outside, as in looking through a window; rather, in looking, we actively generate an image of the world that is synthesized via an intercommunication between the eye and the mind. I am utterly fascinated by the possibility of giving form to that resulting image; an undertaking made uniquely possible by the photograph, for photography, viewed as a reflection of sight, reveals to us the subtle and nuanced ways in which thought colours vision. In the creation of these images, I sought out and constructed scenes and subjects demonstrative of such transformative, “coloured” seeing, as this visualization reveals that we cannot seem to agree on how we should relate to the natural world. Instead, we commonly appear to hover between the desire to bend nature to our will and a longing for the wild – to possess or admire, conquer or embrace. Against the backdrop of the present moment, wherein nature is rapidly disappearing around us at a hitherto unprecedented rate, the need for careful observation and reflection is more urgently needed than ever before. Above all else, I would like for these images to mediate a space through which such reflection can occur. 

Father (Otter Pelt), Tofino, 2022
Cox Bay, Tofino, 2022
Bear Rug and Dog, Tofino, 2022
Lynx, Bear Paw Taxidermy, Mission, 2021
(From top left): Coyote, Arctic Tern, Bagged Bird, White-winged Crossbill, Common Merganser, Norway Rat, Bagged Bird (Loon), Ruffed Grouse, Coyote 2; Beaty Biodiversity Museum, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, 2022
Diorama (Bear), Royal BC Museum, Victoria, 2021
Private, Sunshine Coast, 2020
Skinless Stag, Tofino, 2022
Fragile; Do not Climb, Jericho Beach, Vancouver, 2022

Jaiden George

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Jaiden George is a photographer and writer born and raised in Tofino, BC, within the territories of the Tla-O-Qui-Aht Nation. A future Hereditary Chief coming from a mixed background of both indigenous (Ahousaht) and settler descent, he began taking photographs with conservation in mind – turning his lens toward clearcuts, vanishing glaciers and at-risk wildlife.

During his time at Emily Carr, he became engaged in a more nuanced form of image-making informed by photography’s history and the wealth of critical and philosophical literature surrounding the engendering and development of the medium. Henceforth, he has undertaken an exploration of the natural world through the lens of interpretation and narration. Drawing from such fields as Epistemology (how we know what we know) and Semiotics (the creation and communication of meaning), he employs photography as a means to visualize and complicate the constructed realities that we project onto the world.

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