Guts are back in now….

What a goddamn day it was…… sorry for the profanity, but that’s just what it was, a goddamn day.

First, an apology, for the massive and public overreaction I had to discovering that someone had done a book of the same theme as I had in mind, and had named the collected works the same as my working title for one of the TWO books I am producing…

Really? Well duh… OF COURSE it’s been done before. Resettlement and the fallout surrounding it was a hammer blow to the cultural and societal identity of Newfoundland and Labrador, it wrought seismic changes to the lives of the people who lived and loved in hundreds of small communities dotted across the province. It left 300 communities abandoned in a blink, over 30,000 people were taken from all they knew and put somewhere else. Churches, schools, business were left to crumble to dust. Many homes were dismantled or floated to new locations.

OF COURSE someone thought to photograph the aftermath 30 years or so later….

I’m just disappointed I didn’t discover it sooner….

So, the project continues. I am still awaiting a reply from Mr. Walden re: the Unsettled name. I have a couple of options in mind should he wish I change the title. I will honor that request and I will also likely include in my acknowledgements the hard work completed by Mr. Walden 20 years ago in his project. In fact, as a homage to the work he has done, I am considering visiting some of the sites he photographed and doing MY style of shot, of the same location, 20 years on. I don’t know if those works will make it to the fine art book or not, but they would certainly make it here to the blog.

So, again, sorry for the collapse. I have talked at length about my mental fragility and I am trying really hard to temper my reactions to things. I expect the worst always, and its a horrible way to live. I think that’s why I am so appreciative of kindness and generosity, it always comes as a complete shock to me and leaves me stunned and giddy with positive emotion. That’s exactly how I felt at the end of the day yesterday, the communities outpouring of support and encouragement was nothing short of breath taking in its power and scope. I received emails, messages and even phone calls telling me that the work I am doing is valuable, that it brings some respite to folks in their day to day.

Its all I ever want, is to make people happy…. myself included.

Now, I want to talk about something that’s kind of bothering me. Not in an oh my god the world is collapsing, I can’t go on, this isn’t fair, I’m picking up my ball and going home variety of bothered but bothered none-the-less….

Where are the Newfoundland influencers and the Newfoundlanders with a voice loud enough to make a difference to this project?

I don’t understand why none of the Newfoundlanders who could reach so many are so silent on this. Maybe they just don’t know about it? Again, this isn’t about me now, isn’t about me having a successful Kickstarter or ANYTHING really to do with ME. Ok, well, maybe a little to do with me, as it is my project, and I am the Newfoundlander who is trying to preserve some of our history while trying REALLY hard to carve out an existence from doing it, providing for his family and reinventing who he is and what he does at 50 due to the adverse and long term chronic affects of two spinal surgeries, job loss, bankruptcy and mental health issues…… DEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP BREATH lol….

But yeah. I know when if I become more influential I will always look for opportunities to advance the dreams and projects of folks who are struggling, who have something important to say. Heck, I do that now with the little voice I do have. I want to be clear though, these folks, the celebs of the world, the movers and the shakers, they own me or you NOTHING… NOTHING….. they worked their collective asses off, hustled every day to get to where they are, the level they are. They are to be commended. I’m just surprised that after the media articles, the tags, the shares, the chatter than none of the folks in that circle has done as much as share the project AND what the project is about there hasn’t been more support….

What a friggin ego I have hey? To think that they would do that, to be surprised they haven’t.

Call it what you will, trust me, I have enough self doubts and self hates to balance out that little bit of “WHY AREN’T YOU HELPING ME” ego shout… I could take up couch space in an therapists office for months and talk about crap I am dealing with before we ever got close to the positive part of my ego.

Anyway, if your are a famous entity, throw my project some love would ya? It’s going to be awesome, just like me…. oh crap, there’s that ego again….

Friggin thing….


I am sitting here, in a weird mental state…

First, thank you to everyone who has supported, shared, liked or encouraged my project. It means a lot to me to have so many of you believe that this is worthwhile. Some of you have gone well above and beyond in trying to help. There aren’t enough words to say how I feel about that.

Today, I was asked by a person on Twitter, if I was aware of the book “Places Lost”. I said I had heard of it, but I was frankly unaware of the details. I immediately however went to Amazon to look it up, with the intent of perhaps buying a copy. I have been, as many of you know, trying to help out fellow artists when and where I can lately. In addition, if it was something that I could use to help me in my project, than all the better.

When I saw the listing, read the description, I immediately suffered a panic attack.

This talented photographer, Scott Walden, almost 20 year ago, produced a book of the same format, same theme as I have intended for mine, worse, for me anyway, he had called his collection and subsequent show “Unsettled”…

My world was slipping out from in under me….

I was mortified….

I was shocked…

I was rattled….

I still am…..

I immediately found Mr. Walden’s webpage which thankfully had an email contact on it and wrote him the following letter.

Mr Walden.

I am writing you today with my stomach clenched and my heart racing.

I am a photographer, a graduate from the Fine Arts Program at NSCAD.  For the past 2 years while I recovered from spinal surgeries I have been formulating the idea for a book, two books in fact. 

One is Finding Forgotten Places, which is going to be a collection a travel type blogs while I visit many off the beaten path places in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The second is going to be a collection of fine art edits of the photographs collected on those travels that I intended to call Unsettled – What We Leave behind.

I was recommended your book, Places Lost,  today and when I visited Amazon to look for the title, well, you can likely understand why I am writing you with my stomach clenched and my heart racing.

Not only did you do a similar book, I see that you called your collected work Unsettled.

I want to let you know that I 100% had no idea that you had done this, the approach you took, the titles you used, NOTHING.  When I saw it I was shocked and more than a little rattled.

I have been working on this concept, registering domain names, titles etc. For over two years now but I don’t want to proceed with the Unsettled title if it is going to be stepping on your previous work, I am willing to change the title should you wish.  I am going to continue with the project.  Like you felt at the time you did your work I’m sure, I feel that this is a story that MUST be told, I am compelled to tell it.  I have applied for grants and other sources to complete this project, and most importantly, this has now become a part of who I am.

I felt compelled to reach out to you and talk about it.

Your work is wonderful, we have different treatments of the subjects but we both, I feel, approach them with a respect for what they are and what they represent.

In short I felt I needed to ask your permission to continue using the Unsettled name.  I would be more than happy to credit you in the book with the name and as a source of inspiration for the works I am producing.

Again, I am so sorry this happened, they say great minds think alike, and while I can’t attest to the greatness of MY mind, I assure, this was purely a case where two creative minds arrived at the same conclusion and felt compelled to do the same work.

All the very best to you and I wish you continued success with your endeavours.

Cory Babstock

p.s. Here is a link to a recent video I did where I narrated a sample work I compiled as a concept piece for Unsettled to give you an indication of the work I am doing.  I can also be found on twitter should you wish to see the history of my project.

I said it in the letter, I’ll say it again, I had NO idea that this book was what it was, that I was familiar with the title only as I saw it in my research and had NO clue that Mr. Walden had a series of shows under the name of Unsettled.

I am 100% prepared to change the name of my project. I am awaiting response from Mr. Walden.

I am writing this publicly because I wanted YOU, the folks who have been with me on the journey to know this happened. I also wanted to be clear that this was a case of two separate artists wanting to tell an important story separated by 20 years. That I had no more knowledge of Mr. Walden’s work than he has of mine.

I write this because I don’t want anyone to think I am trying to raise money on stealing someone else’s concept. I am shaking with anxiety as I write this, I value honesty and integrity above all else and I know, on the surface, this looks like I am not only taking Mr. Walden’s overall idea, but I am also taking his titles and words….

This is NOT the case, it simply isn’t.

I never intended this to become something that caused me stress, grief and anxiety. Just today, I noticed that a handful of people, people who have been kind to me, shared my work, bought work from me, no longer follow me. I discovered this completely by accident as I saw postings they had done, visited their profile to see what else they had going on and noticed they no longer followed me. My paranoia, anxiety and dread driven mind immediately made a connection that they stopped following me because they were aware of Mr. Walden’s work, that they thought I was stealing it or that I was asking for too much, too often and they were just sick or it.

I admit, logically, that this might not be the case. I have been through so much though, I was so destroyed mentally and physically, that my mind keeps wanting to lead me on the path of the worse case scenario.

I hope that the way I have openly and honestly conducted myself in my interactions with you all will put your mind to ease on this point.

As for the future of my project, well, its still going to happen. It’s still an important story that needs to be told, and one that I am very passionate about. It needs to be told, it will help my mental health, it will give me a legacy project and one I can build on.

The Kickstarter, I’m not sure what will happen there. I think I am going to let it run to its end but I will no longer be promoting it. I likely should never have started it in the first place, given the reaction to the initial GoFund me I executed. I was convinced to try however, and I figured that if I was passionate about what I was doing, and open about why I was doing it, there was a chance it would work.

Instead its caused me even more anxiety, fear of failure, of telling folks this was a project worth investing in only to have it fall dramatically short of its target. I lay awake at night thinking about what I can do to try and make it a success and suffering flashes of panic and anxiety that I haven’t had in some time when days pass with no backers.

Then this discovery today….

I feel like folks will think I am using the good work of Mr. Walden to raise money for my own project.

I think I am going to lay low for a little while, at least until I hear from Mr. Walden. I think I am going to try and get out in the field more, take more photos, write a little more for the book and keep my fingers crossed that I pick up enough business through calendar and art sales to make it.

Again, I am sorry if I caused anyone discomfort, all I ever wanted was to be successful, to gain back some of the respect and dignity I lost over the past 2-3 years and redeem myself.

I want to let you know my integrity is intact, I am who I am, I am an honest creator who cares about this province, its history, and the folks who live in it.

All the best.

Media – Updated Sept 5, 2021

I’ve had the opportunity to talk to the media several times regarding not only my work, but also about the kindness I have been shown. Here are my media clips from the past year.

CBC Radio – Sept 5, 2022 Weekend Arts Magazine – Spoke to Steve about my current work, the direction I am heading and the new NFT opportunities for artists to showcase and earn from their work.

CBC Radio – August 20, 2022 Crosstalk – This one meant a lot to me, it was about overcoming adversity and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

CBC Radio – August 14, 2021 Weekend Arts Magazine – Interviewed on Location at the Beaches Arts and Heritage Centre discussing a display of my work there.

CBC Radio – July 8th, 2021 -On the Go, spoke with Martin Jones about adversity and my residency

CBC Morning Show – Musician Jordan Harnum and photographer Cory Babstock were supposed to travel to Twillingate for the summer to work, but their excitement around consistent summer gigs has turned into lockdown uncertainty, due to the threat of Covid-19 in the area.

Unsettled – Saltwire, April 10, 2021

Abandoned Places – Saltwire, January 15, 2021

Annual CBC FeedNL Morning Show – Dec 11, 2020 ( My part kicks in at 21:35 but I encourage you to listen to the whole program, some real stories of hope in there )

I am always thrilled when folks take an interest in me, my story, and most importantly, my work. If you would like to talk to me, feel free to reach out!

Unsettled – A Narrative

Thought it would be appropriate for the first post on the NEW Unsettled blog to be a reading of the book that inspired the greater project. This page will be where the “travel blog” portion of Unsettled will come to live. That being said, the “fine art” edits will make appearances as well from time to time, hard to keep them separate truth be told.

Hope you stick around, subscribe to the blog. It’s going to be an interesting summer!

Want to help me get on the road? Here’s the link to my Kickstarter!