Feature Friday: The Incomparable Adventures in Sweetland
That up there is one of my favourite early photos from Toronto based touring songwriter Kristin Sweetland’s self-portrait photography series, ‘Adventures in Sweetland.’ I first met Kristin as one of my husband’s dearest friends, many moons ago when we first started dating. I was immediately smitten with her mysterious and creative ways. She’s the kind of woman who emanates artistic sensuality and a dark fire, yet constant grace and sweet friendliness. An air of fantasy and intrigue embodies all that she does. You at once become entranced with her intoxicating, witchy ways, if you’re lucky enough to meet her.
My husband describes her as a surprisingly and uniquely brilliant musician and photographer; a friend he has loved and admired for 15 years. A mind that flirts the line between the innocent and the macabre.
For years I’ve been blown away by her vision and the flawless execution which she unfurls into her photography. This is completely her alone at work here, using a tripod or mirrors and other tricks she may or may not tell you about. She definitely doesn’t have someone following her around snapping the shots. Most of them feature herself as the subject of muse and at times, she opens up the lens to include those she travels with on tour as a musician.
This collection dates back as far as 1999. That’s nearly 16 years. I would say it’s about damn time she released a book of her work and had an exhibition of equally (to her) fanciful proportions. The book layout is designed by Toronto-based promoter and graphic designer Michael “A Man Called” Wrycraft, who has worked on album covers for Bruce Cockburn, The Trews and Sweetland`s most recent instrumental project: Captain Dirt & the Skirt, amongst literally hundreds of others.
The Adventures in Sweetland series began when Kristin was given an assignment in a photography course at the University of Victoria to document her emotions through a series of self-portraits. The class ended, but the series never stopped. Watch the video teaser for this project…
I present to you some choice moments from the nomadic wanderlust of Ms. Sweetland’s Adventures, often to be cherished; impossible to be duplicated. I agonized over picking my favourite pieces to tantalize you; all of you, lovers of art … the kind that can reach through a computer screen and grab you, even on the coldest and dreariest of days. Get ready to be transported to places of magic, beauty, peace, adventure and seemingly unearthly invention. Please, if you’re local enough to Toronto, mosey on down to her book launch and exhibition at the Fleishman Gallery (inside Wonderworks: 25 Baldwin St.) on Saturday February 28th. The soirée will kick off the official opening of the exhibition during which selected photographs will be displayed until April 4th. The evening will feature musical performances by harpist-violinist Sahra Featherstone as well as Sweetland herself. The Adventures In Sweetland book will be for available sale at the gallery as well as online via her website, beginning February 28th.
If you think you recognize someone below, you are correct … that would be my husband dressed up as ‘an eighty’s rockstar’ who clearly swung on both sides of the pendulum. (All for the sake of Halloween of course.) Basically an excuse for Kristen and her friend to have fun putting makeup on him along with tight mesh clothes and leather under-things. I’m a rather a fan of that too, although it’s been a while.
It was incredibly difficult to choose what I did. I hope you are sufficiently captivated, yearning for more of these Northern Landscapes and all sorts of places in between!