Andrew Emond is a Canadian photographer based out of Toronto. Studying and documenting how human nature creates and manipulates nature has been his primary focus on documentaries such as Sublevels, Diversion, and Consequence.
In Sublevels and Diversions, Edmond eerily, yet beautifully documents how humans have manipulated the flow of a natural resource: water. The beauty lies in the long exposure of many shots where water flows uninterrupted by unnatural water falls. There's a lone human who stands erect in the center with his light guiding him. The light creates a halo effect from the rounded walls highlighting such eccentricities as each fingertip. Then the eeriness of the scene starts to unfold. Who is this character? Why is he there? Why do we never see his face? He's always steadfast in his statuesque posture as the water glides around him seemingly unaffected by the fact he is there. And then there is this- you realize he must be standing in sewage.
Emond has this to say about Diversions:
"Since returning to Toronto in the summer of 2012, I've been gradually making my way through the city's creeks. These bodies of water spread out like veins across the landscape, and I walk along or wade through them at night with a heightened sense of awareness that comes when one finds themselves alone in the dark.
I've found areas that have been altered. Their banks and beds have been lined with concrete, straightened, flattened and reconfigured; their surrounding lands appropriated, cleared and graded to deter erosion and the damaging effects of flooding; their waters held back by dams and guided through blocks and weirs.
Despite these modifications, nature is managing to reinstate itself. Riparian vegetation is taking hold within the cracks and fissures of aging, brittled cement. An ecosystem exists, yet there are signs where its all too clear that much has been damaged and may be difficult to ever recover.
In these photographs, I use only the ambient light emitted from the city resulting in long exposures that often expose details in peculiar ways. Just as these systems bear some resemblance to natural water courses, the quality of luminosity found in these scenes often mimics daylight, but this is a phenomenon emanating from an increasingly electrified cityscape.
As cities like Toronto continue to expand, I often wonder what will become of these water courses. What else will continue to take root and grow? How much of this will endure given our tendency to quell the presence of water in the city, to take control of its diversions and define its flow?"
We encourage you to ponder the same questions.
© Andrew Edmond