This important collaborative work also builds upon an important proposition – Prince Edward County is so much more than the initial impressions tourists might form during a summer visit. Its four seasons are at once beautiful, subtle, dynamic, and wonderful – to know the County in its full, four seasons’ splendour is the surest way to understand it. There is another, more provocative sub-text – what change actually means to a place where a successful, sustainable transformation from a largely rural area insulated from urban development pressures, into something different remains uncertain.
The Four Season creative team has embraced these provocative project themes. Long time County resident and Picton-based photographer Peggy DeWitt has an extensive portfolio of beautiful, evocative works that link the region’s past to its present. Award-winning photo-journalist Phil Norton has made the County his home for many years, where Phil’s subjects have spanned numerous natural landscapes and County features. Wellington native Rob Garden’s love of different County elements is reflected in his art. Jason Pettit, a relative late-comer to professional photography, has developed a compelling perspective of his County, and its meanings in his delightful work.
Multidimensional creative talents Gary and Joanie McGuffin each defy any easy categorization. As the Four Season photo editors, and project consultants, the McGuffins draw upon almost 40 years of their lives together as photographers, writers, film-makers, explorers, and conservationists. Gary and Joanie’s abiding love for the Great Lakes, and their nuanced appreciation of the wider natural world gives this special County work other subtle, attractive creative influences.
Bryan Davies is an award-winning author, commentator, and County aficionado who is writing the Four Season text, and coordinating the project team. Bryan’s Sault Ste. Marie-based UFE Tagona Press embraced the opportunity to promote an important story. The Four Season team will donate 5 percent of all book proceeds to the Hastings Prince Edward Land Trust, and thus help advance the Trust’s efforts to preserve beautiful County spaces for future generations.
A Four Season County also celebrates a place where its people appreciate effective, committed community leadership. For this reason, the project Team is very pleased that the PEC Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors have endorsed this unique creative work. Four Season contributions from all four featured photographers will be made available to the Chamber for its ongoing County promotional purposes after the November 15 2020 Four Season publication date.
… And someone who needs no introduction to Prince Edward County and its wider regional community! Picton’s Peggy deWitt brings her unique appreciation for rural countryside features, and natural world beauty to the Four Season County project. Where a casual passerby might see an old barn, fence line, mail box, or a battered dock as simply part of a familiar scenery, Peggy’s creative eye and composition abilities ensure that these everyday images are permanently impressed into their viewer’s consciousness.
Peggy’s talent for telling a wonderful story through a single, evocative scene is a common link connecting all four PEC photographers whose work provides A Four Season County with its power, and purpose. Peggy also draws on an extensive personal portfolio, one that includes three previous books (County Scenes, A Photographic Celebration of Prince Edward County (2001), Sandbanks, The Golden Beaches of Prince Edward County (2003), and The County through the lens of photographer Peggy deWitt (2008), an annual calendar, and work regularly featured in regional magazines.
Rob Garden, Phil Norton, Jason Pettit, and the McGuffins (Gary and Joanie) will also be ‘introduced’ in the next few weeks as A Four Season County moves towards its November 2020 publication date. The book web portal will be open in mid-October.
As our project moves closer to its late November 2020 completion date, I thought it might interest the PEC Chamber membership (and a wider County audience) to know a little more about the Four Season County creative process … how the magic happens!
Our four County photographers (Peggy deWitt, Rob Garden, Phil Norton, and Jason Pettit) were asked to provide the project team with their favourite works that might fit our overarching theme – to explain that the County is much more than beaches and wineries. They collectively submitted over 450 images spanning Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter, a tremendous body of work selected from the many hundreds of items available in their individual portfolios, effort and pure artistry exemplifying their countless hours devoted to seeking the perfect shot every time out.
And now …. the remarkably tough, back office task – reducing 450 publishable photos to the ‘best of the best’ – a book-sized 90 or so. Gary and Joanie McGuffin lead the way … directing their hard won, world-class creative consulting talents to the selection process, abilities distilled from 40+ years of exploring, photographing, storytelling, filmmaking, and living lives intimately connected with the natural world. UFE Tagona’s Helen Dow, a talented young writer, and I working along side the McGuffins, looking at different ways that we can best supplement such terrific Country visual creativity with mere words.
The examples below provide a peek.
When portrayed on a glossy print book page, these beautifully crafted, thoughtful images and their 90 companions will tell the County story as its never been told before … Our e-commerce portal will be open next week for orders (we are gratified that so many people have contacted us looking for their Christmas copy).
Those details, and more Four Season County team profiles will be published next week.
Bryan Davies, UFE Tagona Press
… and a quick shout out to our friends at the beautiful Sault Ste. Marie Delta Marriott hotel, and their kind support provided to our project… we used a Delta boardroom to spread out our books, notes, and photo editing technology to work through the Four Season County photo selection process …our thanks!!
As befits a uniquely talented individual, photographer Phil Norton’s work lends further lustre to the entire Four Season County project. Phil’s career began in the early 1980s, the now seemingly far off pre-digital photography era. His life long love of the natural world began in the beautiful hills and forests of his native western Pennsylvania. Like Prince Edward County, this Allegheny Mountain region is a photographer’s delight. For Phil, armed with an environmental science degree, his early professional portfolio reflected Phil’s abiding, and wide-ranging interests in energy, air pollution and water purity – ones that remain central to Phil’s County life, and work.
It is depth and breadth of Phil’s career achievements that exemplify his commitment to photographic excellence. Phil has won national awards for photojournalism (Harrowsmith Magazine), and his other impressive credits include travel and biographical features for Canadian Geographic, Time, National Geographic Travelerand various regional publications. Now a County fixture, Phil has led numerous groups across the County and elsewhere, people eager for the opportunity to blend outdoor activities and learning about Phil’s craft.
Phil has not merely adapted to the ever-accelerating technological changes that continually reshape modern photography. Four Season County includes beautiful, sweeping drone images, ones inviting our readers to embrace Phil’s sense of imagination integral to his work.
The Four Season County e-commerce portal will be open by November 15. The book will be available in glossy soft cover, and hard cover editions.
Bracebridge …. London …. Whitby …. Orono …. Toronto …. Pittsburgh, Pa …. The multi-talented Four Season County creative team members have taken wonderfully diverse personal and professional pathways to this Prince Edward story destination. Wellington-based Rob Garden (and fellow County compatriot Jason Pettit) are our two photographers who are PEC ‘born and bred’ –a true badge of honour in a place taking considerable pride in its traditions.
Much of Rob’s life has been devoted to education, and the learning arts. After Queen’s University, Rob returned to his Prince Edward Collegiate Institute alma mater as a teacher. He is a well-regarded youth basketball coach, and over the past 10 years Rob and a small leadership group have helped nurture a basketball culture across the County. Rob is a self-described amateur photographer, portraying himself as someone who simply loves the art as supplementing a busy, often demanding life.
Sport has a golden rule – never criticize a teammate in public – but we shall bend it here. Four County Season readers will quickly appreciate that ‘amateur’ does not do justice to Rob’s excellent portfolio. Through his hard work and commitment to capturing beautiful County landscapes, Rob’s pleasing, often dramatic images reflect his County passions – unique takes on the place he and his family hold dear.
Picton-born Jason Pettit is a relative latecomer to professional photography, but there is no doubt that his beautiful work is inextricably linked to his deep Prince Edward County passions. Jason has a particular life-long affection for the wild County areas, a notion that may seem odd for those who come to the County for its more mainstream tourism and cultural attractions. Jason immediately embraced the creative opportunities Four Season County presented, ones where he could contribute images conveying the simple, but powerful message that resonates across the entire work. The County is not just another rural Ontario tourist destination – it is a place and a reality that must be cherished, and respected.
For Jason, landscape photography is a direct extension and reflection of his own County life experiences. What began as a hobby in his Wellington home is now the basis of an expanding portfolio that is now attracting critical acclaim. Amongst these highlights are Canadian Geographic, a Picton Carbon Art + Design solo showcase (“Neutral Fury”), and his 2020 Nikon Canada gallery grand prize (2020 Contact Photography Festival, Toronto). The recent Wiki Loves Earth global photography contest inclusion of four Jason images reinforces how his work depicting natural heritage sites is now resonating beyond the County.
Four County photographers with four different ‘eyes’ for what makes their region a compelling, enduring study. We are proud that Jason joined our project, and we are certain that his work will appeal to every Four Season County reader.