About George Webber
“Four billion years ago Earth was a lifeless place. Nothing struggled, thought, or wanted. Slowly, that changed. Seawater leached chemicals from rocks; near thermal vents, those chemicals jostled and combined. Some hit upon the trick of making copies of themselves. A new level of order had been achieved on Earth. Life had begun. The tree of life grew, its branches stretching toward complexity. Organisms developed systems, subsystems, and sub-subsystems, layered in ever-deepening regression. They used these systems to anticipate their future and to change it.” (Joshua Rothman)
I have been photographing the people, landscape and built environment of Alberta for nearly 40 years.
Until recently I had little knowledge of scope and importance of Treaty 7. I was astonished to find out that the land on which I have lived most of my life had been ceded to the Crown with the signing of the Treat in 1877.
When I was invited to participate in Treaty 7 – the Land, I travelled to Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park which is near the place that the Treaty was signed.
Andy Warhol once said, “Land is the best art” and that is surely true of this extraordinary place. The roiling, teeming and irrepressible natural world pays little mind to boundaries or laws. I experienced a great visceral joy moving through this space. Could I somehow fit the energy and graphic complexity of this landscape into a photograph?
To our group’s statement “Our hope is the law respects the land” the land seems to reassure us of its transcendence.
This photograph has been created as a carbon pigment print. This relatively recent innovation produces prints of extraordinary permanence. Some experts estimate that this print could have a life span in excess of 500 years.
Statement of Hope
Together, our shared hope for the future of the Land and Law is that the law respects the land.
The word to the group encompassed humility, greater awareness of the importance of the land, the power of the land over humans, and optimism.
George Webber has been photographing the people, landscape, and urban environment of the Canadian west for over thirty-five years.
He was inducted into The Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1999. In 2005 George received the Alberta Centennial Medal “in recognition of outstanding service to the people and province of Alberta.” In 2010 he was the recipient of the National Magazine Gold Award for Photojournalism.
His books include Requiem, A World Within, People of The Blood, Last Call, In This Place and Prairie Gothic. Webber’s work can be found in museums and archives in Canada, France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Australia.