About the Photographer
Canadian, b. 1969
Nancy Bleck uses photography, film, and video to explore subjects such as ecology, urbanity and wilderness, historical change, and nomadicism. The photograph represented here is drawn from a series of portraits Bleck created as part of the collaborative project On The Threshold (Na Rozcesti), which she conceived and initiated in 1991. Joined by a writer, reportage photographer, and translator, Bleck traveled throughout the former Czechoslovakia for three years, photographing and interviewing over fifty people living amidst the transformational changes that followed the collapse of communism and the country's dissolution into separate Czech and Slovak states. Bleck returned ten years later to photograph for a second time as many of the same people as possible. She ultimately located twenty-five of them.
The subjects of Bleck's portraits represent a diverse cross-section of the population, including factory workers, artists, intellectuals, housewives, coal miners, musicians, students, and politicians, as well as people in other occupations. The photograph included here, made during Bleck's first inquiry, is of two horse loggers from the Sumova mountain regions of the Czech Republic. Bleck writes, "The day I photographed them, their horses were sick and instead they used an old tractor to remove the logs from the forest in selective logging style. Upon returning ten years later, the young man on the lower right had been replaced by the wife (now the boss of the operation) of the primary logger on the left… They had recently purchased a newer used tractor to make their business more efficient."
Bleck holds a BFA from the Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design, Vancouver (2000), and an MA in Fine Arts from Hogeschool voor de Kunsten, Utrecht, the Netherlands (2005). In 1997 Bleck co-founded the Uts'am/Witness project with Hereditary Chief Bill Williams of the Squamish Nation, mountaineer John Clarke, and the Roundhouse Community Centre. The project was aimed at building connections between indiginous and non-indigenous communities in Canada and promoting environmental sustainability. Bleck resides in Vancouver.