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Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Farewell Courtney Milne

Wow - such sad news!  Sunday, a truly inspirational prairie photographer passed away: Courtney Milne

Courtney Milne captured exactly what I love about my homeland.  In fact, 13 years ago when I moved away from Saskatoon, I purchased some of his photo cards from the Berry Barn at a farewell tea before I left.

I kept those photos taped to my wall near my bed for years in my little loft in the big city by the mountains.  I stared at them and cried often for being so homesick for our land and living skies.

After three children, ten years, and a seemingly shrinking townhouse, it was time to move.  My husband said, "you cry all the time when those storms don't come.  You want to move back to Saskatoon?"  So we did.

I still have Mr. Milne's photographs.  They sit on my altar.  Seriously - the land and sky is where I feel power and spirit.  That's my religion.

And so a big part of me is saddened by this death.  To honor his photos (though mine DO NOT compare), my daughter and I drove up and down gravel roads off local highways to take pictures.

Arwen and her Lego camera.
I never met him.  I knew nothing about the man.  My heart just responded to his photos.  All I could think when I saw his pictures was that he really knew where my heart was at.  He really loved the prairies. 

Many people drive through here and joke that there's nothing to see.   My answer is, "then you aren't looking".   There is so much quiet, powerful beauty here.

Maybe that's why it's so meaningful for me to put the prairies to fibre.  There's so much overlooked inspiration; so much disregarded spirit here.  Mr. Milne certainly captured the beauty of our surroundings for the people who missed it.  For that I thank you.

from "My Sweet Prairie"


Anonymous said...

I miss those lovely skies and that golden gift of yellow that glows on a wheat field as the sun goes down. The breathtaking beauty of an early evening drive will never leave my heart,.....

Sam said...


Kitchener Quilter said...

Brings a tear to my eyes, to read your post. I, too, love those wheat fields blowing in a prairie wind. And that smell of the air at harvest time. Part of my own prairie spirit. Though I live far away, these images and feelings are never far from my heart. Thank you for your post on on Milne's and his photos. I share your sadness.

Wendy said...

I am not a "prairie person" but I am connected. My sister lives in Lanigan and my daughter and family live in Regina,and I love the Prairies. The calm, peaceful beauty, and the variety with all the seasons, and the fiesty weather, and the friendly people. I can see why you will miss this photo artist.

Sherrill Miller said...

Dear Monika -- thank you for your tribute to Courtney -- it is always heart warming to be reminded about how people loved him and his work. You might enjoy seeing more of his prairie images online, on a website we created for school kids as a centennial project. You can go to www.coolscapes.sk.ca and log in with a Saskatchewan address, then enjoy the Gallery of 5000 images -- in your spare time!
And if you want to take it a step further in 'seeing with new eyes', have a look at The Pool of Possibilities Daily ecalendar -- you can sign up on our website, www.courtneymilne.com, and receive a new image and Courtney's comments every day for a year.
Either way, continue to enjoy Courtney's work -- he would be honored.
Sherrill Miller [Courtney's wife]

My Sweet Prairie said...

Oh Sherrill,
I'm so glad you found this post! Thank you so much for leaving a message. Michelle Flowers is a good friend of mine. I think you know her - she does energy work. Small world. I wish I had been able to meet Courtney! I'm so sad about that. I had no idea his work had evolved so much! I look forward to the show this summer. Thank you for the note about the calendar! I will check that out.

peace to you!
: )

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