Its ironic in a way that things played out the way they did. I ended up having to make changes to the title of my project because it was already in use by a photographer of some renown, Scott Walden. He published a book almost 20 years ago depicting the EXACT same subject matter as I am striving to do and called his collected works Unsettled.
I would imagine, he liked the name for many of the same reasons I did. It’s a play on resettled, it speaks to a feeling of unease, of things left incomplete, of lives interrupted.
Sadly, I knew NONE of this prior to media interviews announcing my project, creating a Kickstarter and registering domains among other things. When it was discovered I had a near complete anxiety driven breakdown. Mostly out of fear that someone would think I was plagiarizing Mr. Walden’s work.
This is not the case. I should have done better background research before going all out, but I genuinely was in the dark as to its existence. I was further shocked to see the similarity in styles and approach. Mr. Walden used a pure black and white esthetic in his work, and I used the same in my first publication of Unsettled, check out these two photos, one is Mr. Walden’s, one is mine.
It’s startling how similar these pieces are. Again, it’s an active illustration of why I was so rattled by this discovery.
I immediately contacted Mr. Walden, explained what I had just discovered and offered to change the name of my project, or, at the very least, give him some sort of accreditation in the book. He contacted me back and after discussion and explanation it was decided that it would be mutually beneficial for us to go ahead and change the name. This would avoid confusion, and would also alleviate any suspicion of impropriety.
So, change we did, to Where Once We Stood – What Was Left Behind.
I am in love with the title. Its a play on the “Ode to Newfoundland” where the line is “where once they stood.”. I prefer the We, it gives is ownership of the history. The other thing I love is that its not tethered as tightly to resettlement. While resettlement was a major source of upheaval in Newfoundland history, change in communities and population densities affected places all over, not just ones that were deemed not viable and resettled. This new title allows more room to stretch and grow the subject matter and the aesthetic.
So, that drama, all of my own construction has moved beyond us now and we are starting afresh. Mr. Walden continues to do amazing work, and I will continue to strive towards my project becoming a reality. I can only hope to reach the same level of quality and beauty of the project be Mr. Walden.
I look forward to sharing images from “Where Once We Stood” with you all.