The impetus for this project comes from a recent CBC interview. It discussed the concern expressed by several municipalities regarding roadside memorials. Specifically, they have been identified as “distracting” to drivers, and targeted for removal. Yet, many individuals are adamantly opposed to any removal. My immediate reaction was that we need more not fewer such ‘distractions’. On reflection, I have found that the presence of these ‘reminders of our mortality’ have raised many valid arguments on both sides of the issue as well as a great deal of intense emotion. It has occurred to me that, regardless of ones opinion, someone should record these memorials before they disappear.

It is not my goal to either glorify or exploit individual memorials. I plan to keep individual cases anonymous, focussing on the collective emotional impact of these sites. I intend to concentrate on exploring the ‘liminal’ status of such sites and their power to remind us of our mortality as well as their ‘shamanic’ value in connecting between this world and the ‘other’. Specifically, I want to explore the contrast/connection between roadside memorials (rigid, unchanging, restful) and the road (dynamic, ever changing, frenetic). I believe the duality inherent in photography (contrast/tension between ‘representing’ and ‘interpreting’) is singularly suited to explore the duality/liminality represented by the roadside memorial. I propose to produce a portfolio of images designed to raise awareness of the (often subliminal) emotional issues of roadside memorials in a society that increasingly seeks to marginalize death.

© Greg Klassen 2017