Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival
Eamon Mac Mahon, LANDLOCKED AND AERIALS, 2004 to present (detail)
Eamon Mac Mahon, LANDLOCKED AND AERIALS, 2004 to present (detail)
2008 Public Installation

Eamon Mac Mahon
LANDLOCKED AND AERIALS

May 1–31, 2008
Toronto Pearson International Airport
Hwy 401 and Hwy 427

Since 2004, Toronto-based photographer Eamon Mac
Mahon has spent three months of each year flying a
two-seater bush plane throughout the wilderness of
Northwestern Canada. Mac Mahon would often find
himself stranded in “landlocked” communities –
named so for their lack of roads – for up to a
month at a time, waiting for the weather to change
or for the next shipment of fuel. Many of the
communities that he documents exist because of
factors beyond their control; in a constant state
of flux according to the demand for the resources
within the surrounding landscapes. Uranium City,
for example, in Saskatchewan near the border of
the Northwest Territories, was a mining boomtown
with a population of 5000 in the 1980s; it has now
dwindled to 70 and the town’s main employer is the
airport. In the October 2005 issue of The Walrus,
Mac Mahon describes his arrival:


At twilight, we land on a crumbling airstrip, with
no answer to our radio calls…as I walked the
weakly lit gravel roads, the sky glowed with the
curling, green waves of the northern lights. I
heard a door slam and in the distance what sounded
like drunken laughter. As I soon discovered, it
was the fiftieth wedding anniversary of one of the
few couples still living in this unlikely place.
They were renewing their vows, and friends and
family had been trickling in from all across the
north. The town’s population would double or even
triple with the arrivals
.


Mac Mahon’s images of desolate communities, barren
landscapes and ancient glaciers, installed along
the airport’s Terminal 1 moving sidewalks, convey
this sense of eerie isolation. A wilderness that
plays with the uneasy idea of “remoteness” yet is
rooted in the identity of being Canadian.


Canadian Eamon Mac Mahon’s photographs and video
projections have been presented in exhibitions
across Canada and the USA, including The Power
Plant in Toronto, Grassroots in New York and The
Detroit Institute of the Arts. His editorial work
has appeared in various publications including the
Walrus, National Geographic Magazine, and
Maclean’s. Mac Mahon was awarded the inaugural HP
Prize for Photography during CONTACT 2007.

Curated by Emily McInnes

Scotiabank CONTACT
Photography Festival

80 Spadina Ave Suite 205
Toronto ON M5V 2J4
Gallery Hours
Tue-Fri 11am–5pm
The CONTACT Gallery
is wheelchair accessible.