Shades of Cyan

12 – 30″x15″, metallic photo paper, float mounted (2023)

Shades of Cyan is a series of photographs taken with various cameras including drone stills of the algae blooms on the east coast of Lake Winnipeg in September of 2022. I have edited the photos from their original form using an effect that gives them shine and sparkle. Completely out of character from my usual abstract realism, I decided to do this in a fit of pessimism giving way to the idea that people only pay attention to what sparkles in these times of excess.

Although there are multiple types of algae in Lake Winnipeg, it is cyanobacteria also known as blue green algae in abundance that is poisonous to humans and wildlife. It drains the water of oxygen when it breaks down leaving cyan-coloured goopy and crusted deposits on the shorelines.

Cyanobacteria is an integral part of most lake ecology but the growth of volume due to phosphorous travelling from sewer waste and farmlands into ever-increasingly warming water has created an alarming imbalance in the freshwater treasure we currently call Lake Winnipeg. To become more informed, read an easy to understand and entertaining book called “The Devil’s Element”, by Dan Egan.

The map below shows the algae blooms on one of the days that I took the photographs.

There are many groups and volunteers working hard to protect Lake Winnipeg. I would like to thank Dr. Karen Scott for providing her expertise. More information can be found on the Lake Winnipeg Research Consortium website.

This project was funded by the Manitoba Arts Council