the varsity drag


When my photostream becomes over populated with images of my knitting projects I start to feel like my life has become a bit boring and that I am probably spending too much time indoors. This is very true of the past month so to remedy this my chum Tom and I ventured out for a quiet photo excursion to the UofA campus.

The last time we had sort of aimlessly wandered about campus had been in March of 2008. All of my platonic boyfriends had been present that day. We had found some open classrooms and played with the overhead projector, stumbled across a track meet, photographed the same building before finally ending in the Atrium Oasis in the Faculty of Agriculture building. Then we all went for brunch. It was a great day.

a desk is a dangerous place from which to watch the world. if I pray hard enough... vault
sky lit... sentimentality is a superstructure covering brutality. bricks and ladders

Tom and I had both been mutually lamenting our photographic funk, so to address this we decided on a reprise of our past campus adventure. Mostly I wanted to revisit the atrium for a brief escape from winter, but before getting there we made several stops. Campus was much quieter than I expected for a Saturday. What students we did see were crowded around tables in the Student's Union Building, but other than a few lone students who had sought out a hidden corner in which to study, Tom and I basically had the run of the place to ourselves.

This particular excursion ended up being a sort of travel through time as the architecture of different buildings revealed the changing tastes and popular finishes of the era in which they were built. We started with the Arts Building (1912), a neoclassical beauty that houses Convocation Hall.

Much to my dismay Con Hall was locked so we could only peek through the doors to get a look inside. However, I soon found solace photographing the pretty staircase landing between the third and fourth floors. The details of this building were charming. The wooden banister was comfortably worn and the grey trim on the underside of the staircase broke up an otherwise bland facade.


We left the Arts building to walk through the Quad. After trying a few different buildings but encountering locked doors, we managed to find one that gave us access to one of the newest buildings on campus, CCIS (Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science). Although the building seemed bland in comparison to Arts, I could still appreciate the functionality of the new space (at least what was completed so far). I photographed very little in the building, save for a few shots of the empty lecture halls.

Leaving CCIS we somehow ended up in the basement of Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences, representing another era with plenty of orange and wood paneling. The paneled stairwell reminded me of a sauna, fitting, since they led upstairs to the humid Atrium Oasis.


The atrium is an odd little space. It seems a bit haphazardly maintained and somewhat forgotten, as if it's a garden belonging to someone who prefers to let plants go a little wild. It also seems like this secret gardener doesn't really want you to hang around. There's no place to sit and there's always a threat that the little army of birds might shower presents from above.

While Tom was still photographing the dangerous little birds, I discovered the little patio that is just off to the side of the atrium. There were a few utilitarian picnic tables as well as a few cushionless Bertoia side chairs. Spottings like this are not uncommon around the university. The campus is strewn with mid-century modern pieces. I wish I could have just carried these two chairs home to put on my deck. To buy one of these new would easily cost around $500 each.

I returned home chairless but content with a day of successful shooting.