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Photographer reflects on 12 years of shooting Vancouver through puddles in new limited edition book

Head to photographer Jonathan Dy's Kickstarter campaign to take a look at the captivating photos and grab a signed copy of EYE ON THE GROUND
Jonathan Dy kickstarter EYE ON THE GROUND
Photo: Jonathan Dy's EYE ON THE GROUND / Kickstarter

There's nothing like a shift in perspective to stoke appreciation for the familiar. 

Shifting the common perspective to showcase familiar scenes in a new light is exactly what Vancouver-based photographer Jonathan Dy accomplishes in his latest project, a limited edition book of reflection shots titled EYE ON THE GROUND. 

"In 2008 after a night of heavy rainfall I shot my first reflection," Dy explains on the Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign he launched in support of the project. "At the time it felt like discovering a new world and Vancouver proved to be the perfect place to explore it. While most people in this city dreaded the rain, for me, it became a source of inspiration and another way of seeing."

But as anyone who calls themselves a Vancouverite will know, the rain never lasts forever. 

"In 2009 when the season changed and dried up, I tried pouring water on concrete with little success," Dy says. Instead, the photographer decided to try creating his own reflective surfaces with materials like plastic, water and food colouring—"an act of necessity, not something I've seen before or since," he writes.  

"I also made paintings on paper that I would lay on the floor and douse with water then shoot within the puddles of pigment. From there I began noticing/using reflections in all kinds of surfaces and objects."

Dy—a self-taught artist whose background in painting often seeps into his photography—would turn his lens toward these reflections over the next decade, capturing people and places throughout the Lower Mainland in a unique light.

But it was the coronavirus that ultimately served as a catalyst for Dy to assemble these photographs and put them out into the world. 

"At the beginning of the COVID19 pandemic I had to confront the fact that procrastination led to a situation where printing was impossible," he explains.

"And the thought of my work stuck on a hard drive sparked a new sense of urgency."

 

The result is EYE ON THE GROUND, a 130-plus-page collection of stunning, largely unedited photographs snapped by Dy from 2008 up until now, printed and bound on Sterling Premium Silk paper. 

"After 12 years, deliberating between thousands of photos, and countless revisions, this is a definitive collection - the best I have to offer at the moment," Dy says. 

 

Fans of Dy's work can pledge $25 to receive an 8" x 10" print of any shot from the book, or pledge $50 or more for copy of EYE ON THE GROUND. Dy is also offering a hardcover rebind of the volume in return for a pledge of $100. Along with the book, customers can pay $550 or more for a reflection photoshoot with Dy, or opt to drop $1000 for a hardcopy book with a custom reflection portrait of yourself included in its pages. 

The main purpose of the Kickstarter campaign is to determine how many copies will be printed for the limited edition, Dy explains. While he plant to make a few extra books, "the value of what's leftover will increase significantly," he says. 

Dy credits the influence of his hometown, Windsor, Ont.—as well as that of its American counterpart, Detroit—with "uniquely shaping his artistic pallet."  He previously self-published a book of portraits that focused on artists and musicians, called I NEED TO SEE YOU, in 2013.