The Man with Red Sash was shot on a hot bright morning in July 2007. I saw this man standing near the entrance to my
Vancouver studio and was immediately struck by the colours and forms. It took me a few moments to realize what I was seeing: as his forward gaze remained fixed, he gestured purposefully with his left hand. I had just enough time to decide how best to photograph the scene. Later, a number of important elements emerged.
The sash at his waist did not immediately strike me as anachronistic, but it slowly became a significant and lyrical part of the picture. His left hand, which he had repeatedly thrust forward, later appeared to be holding a dagger. I wanted the image to resemble figures and compositions I had seen in Piero della Francesca paintings in Arezzo. Burial of the Wood instantly came to mind. I knew I had to create a long vertical picture. To make it taller, I combined photographs to grow the tree and its foliage vertically. It took me several months to realize that one of the strongest atmospheric qualities was the picture’s contra light appearance – which perhaps seems dioramic or theatrical after some looking. The final pictorial composition was an assembly of many of the photographs shot that hour.
Man with Red Sash 2007
ink jet print
184 × 106 cm
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa