Drug Culture in the Okanagan

It is a complex world, that fully engages the mind. Patterns of lines, colour, shape, intensity and contrast are a natural environment for humans, and match the organization of our brains, nerves and eyes, which pre-sort the information along what can only be called human patterns.

Visually, this is our bodies and minds together. It’s quite variable. Here it is from a slightly different angle, on a different day, with different weather. These are meaningful changes. The human body and mind read them well.

I chose to make these images in such a way as to have a sense of balance that maintained complexity and lack of a direct point of focus. It’s not entirely successful, but compare to an Internet search for “landscape Canada”. Compared to the above, this is clearly the mind on drugs.

Photography is not better. Everything has a frame, individualized direction, and oversaturated colours. Drugs for the eye.

So, I tried to get around that. I remember the early days with the Internet when the cleverness of a web search could get you info. Now it is run by AI and the banalities of Search Engine Optimization. That gives this AI version of “bush creek Canada”:

It’s no different! Apparently, the machines think we’re stupid. Or the people who create them do. Perhaps like all dealers. So I tried again, with “wetlands Canada”:

That is a little better, but there’s still a lot of manipulation, especially by the choice of lenses and the framing of the photographs, but also with some exaggerated colour. So, once again, with “creek” and “bush” without Canada.

That’s a bit better. The Australian ones are much better. So, I scrolled down:

So, what’s that, 3 or 4 reasonable photos out of 24? Is 16% a good showing for humans and their environment?

Smooth Sumacs in the Similkameen

Nothing flashy here. But compelling.

If 84% of our interactions with the Earth are manipulations, should we be expecting 16% of the Earth to survive our technological approaches, or is it even less? Everybody, dial it back. Give our bodies a chance to see the Earth. Is drugged behaviour so high because we are not only on drugs, even visual ones, but, to the Earth, are the drug? Look, is this…

Landscape Okanagan

… really any different than this?

Cityscape Okanagan

I mean other than the intriguing manipulation of colour towards blue? Why blue and purple for business and different colours for landscape? Those were deliberate choices. How do you feel about being manipulated like that?

Landscape Okanagan

Art is worse.

You know, the real is enough for 10,000 years of learning.

Okanagan Lake Towards Turtle Point and Fintry

But it’s not a drug.

5 replies »

    • There was often a shallow stream, too. Then craggy mountains, centre-image, became the thing. Hitler himself painted so many of those. Kind of chilling things, really. On the other hand, I picked up an image of a house under a river birch a few years back at an art show, for $10. It was painted with accurate colours, very gentle, and portrays a real, lost part of BC. I like it a lot. It shows attention. So, I guess it can work sometimes.


  1. Wow Harold! You certainly put some huge effort into this post. As an artist, I expend an untold amount of mental energy wondering if my colours should be kicked in up a notch – or several. When did we decide that the colours of a natural landscape were not good enough? I let out a deep sigh of relief at your natural Okanagan Lake photo. Thanks for the effort involved in creating this post.


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