By Karen Bradley
In 2010, I was attending an art gallery exhibit of artists from the Eastern Shore when I came upon a photograph of a water droplet entering the water, revealing the spectrum of colours in the droplet. I wrote down the photographer’s name. Connie Publicover.
At the time, I had been working with a group of dancemakers from around the world on a project we called Global Water Dances (GWD). Out of a retreat in the UK in 2008, a steering committee of five women had devised the idea of a dance done around the world, on the same day, using shared choreography and the same music, in order to raise awareness about issues of water use, overuse, access, and cleanliness.
Connie’s photograph was the perfect illustration of the idea we were promoting: that water is precious to all of us, and we need much more mindfulness around protecting it. I emailed her, and she graciously gave permission for us to use her photograph, with attribution.
To date, the photo/logo has been seen around the world, as choreographers and water activists have come to the website to be a part of a project that took place in 120 cities this past June, including in Halifax (in recognition and support of the water protectors at the Alton Gas site). Connie’s work has also been recognized by Kodak, and the company displayed seven of her photos in Times Square.
Publicover’s work is now part of a gallery exhibition at the Viewpoint Gallery at 1272 Barrington St. I caught up with her just after Christmas to hear her full story.
Connie Fleet (Publicover) was born in Ecum Secum and raised in Moser River. In the late 1990s/early 2000s, she became ill to the point of being shut inside her house, As a result, she was looking for something to do utilizing online technology. After trying out a few web courses in photography, she came across a retired photographer in the States who told her she had a good eye. She began taking private lessons from him online. Early on, he had her shooting outdoors in her backyard, which became a way for her to get out and about.
One lesson he sent her was to shoot a dripping icicle off her patio. In order to capture it, she had to stand on a chair for a long time. Once she put the shot onto the computer, she noticed a dark spot on the drop she had not seen when shooting the photo. When she enlarged it, she saw the spot was a reflection of her own backyard, upside down and backwards.
She was thrilled by this discovery. Connie has spent the past fifteen years wondering and experimenting How could she make it happen again? How to get want she wanted to reveal into the water shots but not upside down and backward?
It took Connie two years to figure out what she wanted to do with her water photography, and how to do it. Now, many photographers have since discovered the techniques she developed on her own.
Branching out recently beyond water, she has been working with mirror images, and is beginning to explore the idea of broken reflections.
ViewPoint Gallery will be presenting her work in an all-photography exhibit called “The Hidden Beauty of Water,” January 4-28. 2018, Thursday to Sunday 12-5, 1272 Barrington St. Halifax.