PEC Chamber

A Four Season County

2021 North American Independent Publisher Award Winner

A Collection of Photographs

A splendid photographic journey crafted from the work of four diverse, multidimensional Prince Edward County creative talents, as guided by two internationally acclaimed conservation photographers, and an award winning story-teller...available NOW.


This important collaborative work also builds upon an important proposition – Prince Edward County is so much more than the initial impressions tourists might form during a summer visit. Its four seasons are at once beautiful, subtle, dynamic, and wonderful – to know the County in its full, four seasons’ splendour is the surest way to understand it. There is another, more provocative sub-text – what change actually means to a place where a successful, sustainable transformation from a largely rural area insulated from urban development pressures, into something different remains uncertain.

BUY NOW
© Rob Garden 2020

As its title suggests, A Four Season County depicts our compelling Ontario region in ways that extend far beyond beautiful summer beaches, a successful, acclaimed wine industry, traditional agriculture, and vibrant, livable communities. The County is uniquely situated, no matter what particular physical, cultural, or metaphorical vantage point its observer might fancy. Gently rolling County terrain, beautiful woodlands, surrounding waters rich in fish, and fertile soils were home to indigenous peoples for over 2000 years prior to the first European explorers’ contact.


Contemporary County life is much more diverse than its largely agricultural 19th, and early 20th century predecessors, where Picton, Wellington, Bloomfield, and smaller hamlets largely depended upon farming industries as their lifeblood. It is this blend of tradition, and modern social realities that gives Four Season County its essential foundation.


This important collaborative work also builds upon an important proposition – Prince Edward County is so much more than the initial impressions tourists might form during a summer visit. Its four seasons are at once beautiful, subtle, dynamic, and wonderful – to know the County in its full, four seasons’ splendour is the surest way to understand it. There is another, more provocative sub-text – what change actually means to a place where a successful, sustainable transformation from a largely rural area insulated from urban development pressures, into something different remains uncertain. 


The Four Season creative team has embraced these provocative project themes. Long time County resident and Picton-based photographer Peggy DeWitt has an extensive portfolio of beautiful, evocative works that link the region’s past to its present. Award-winning photo-journalist Phil Norton has made the County his home for many years, where Phil’s subjects have spanned numerous natural landscapes and County features. Wellington native Rob Garden’s love of different County elements is reflected in his art. Jason Pettit, a relative late-comer to professional photography, has developed a compelling perspective of his County, and its meanings in his delightful work.


Multidimensional creative talents Gary and Joanie McGuffin each defy any easy categorization. As the Four Season photo editors, and project consultants, the McGuffins draw upon almost 40 years of their lives together as photographers, writers, film-makers, explorers, and conservationists. Gary and Joanie’s abiding love for the Great Lakes, and their nuanced appreciation of the wider natural world gives this special County work other subtle, attractive creative influences.


Bryan Davies is an award-winning author, commentator, and County aficionado who is writing the Four Season text, and coordinating the project team. Bryan’s Sault Ste. Marie-based UFE Tagona Press embraced the opportunity to promote an important story. The Four Season team will donate 5 percent of all book proceeds to the Hastings Prince Edward Land Trust, and thus help advance the Trust’s efforts to preserve beautiful County spaces for future generations.


A Four Season County also celebrates a place where its people appreciate effective, committed community leadership. For this reason, the project Team is very pleased that the PEC Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors have endorsed this unique creative work. Four Season contributions from all four featured photographers will be made available to the Chamber for its ongoing County promotional purposes after the November 15 2020 Four Season publication date. 


For further A Four Season County information, pricing, and pre-orders, please contact Bryan Davies bryan@unitedfrontent.com

Constructing A Four Season County – Going behind the scenes

As our project moves closer to its late November 2020 completion date, I thought it might interest the PEC Chamber membership (and a wider County audience) to know a little more about the Four Season County creative process … how the magic happens!

Our four County photographers (Peggy deWitt, Rob Garden, Phil Norton, and Jason Pettit) were asked to provide the project team with their favourite works that might fit our overarching theme – to explain that the County is much more than beaches and wineries. They collectively submitted over 450 images spanning Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter, a tremendous body of work selected from the many hundreds of items available in their individual portfolios, effort and pure artistry exemplifying their countless hours devoted to seeking the perfect shot every time out.


And now …. the remarkably tough, back office task - reducing 450 publishable photos to the ‘best of the best’ - a book-sized 90 or so. Gary and Joanie McGuffin lead the way … directing their hard won, world-class creative consulting talents to the selection process, abilities distilled from 40+ years of exploring, photographing, storytelling, filmmaking, and living lives intimately connected with the natural world. UFE Tagona’s Helen Dow, a talented young writer, and I working along side the McGuffins, looking at different ways that we can best supplement such terrific Country visual creativity with mere words.


The examples above provide a peek.


When portrayed on a glossy print book page, these beautifully crafted, thoughtful images and their 90 companions will tell the County story as its never been told before … Our e-commerce portal will be open next week for orders (we are gratified that so many people have contacted us looking for their Christmas copy).


Those details, and more Four Season County team profiles will be published next week.

Bryan Davies, UFE Tagona Press


… and a quick shout out to our friends at the beautiful Sault Ste. Marie Delta Marriott hotel, and their kind support provided to our project… we used a Delta boardroom to spread out our books, notes, and photo editing technology to work through the Four Season County photo selection process …our thanks!!

Picton Harbour Inn – Our Four Season County sponsors


On behalf of the entire Four Season County creative and production team, I am very pleased to announce the Picton Harbour Inn, and its Walcott family ownership group as our official Four Season County sponsors. There is a wonderful symbolism evident in our Four Season County – Inn relationship, when one recalls the central themes that we are advancing and promoting throughout our work.


The County is a beautiful, compelling place to visit, and part of this durable appeal is a County history that spans land and water. The Inn is located at the head of scenic, vibrant Picton Harbour, a crucial County conduit for ships, goods, and people for over two centuries. Deep water Harbour capacity means that large vessels can readily access Lake Ontario. From their Harbour commencement point, sport fishers pursue some of the best walleye (pickerel), bass and salmon fishing available anywhere on the Great Lakes. Further beyond the safe Harbour confines, Lake Ontario’s largest shipwreck graveyard lies in silent testament to the risks sailors and fishermen faced in the early County days.  

The Inn is thus intimately connected to County history and inextricably linked with present day County tourism and hospitality, the region now pulsing economic heart. Recognizing that preserving natural County landscapes and wild places is crucial to its future tourism appeal, whilst encouraging visitors to explore County opportunities that abound in every season is the challenge that our Four Season County team, and Picton Harbour Inn have accepted as we work together to tell the County story.   


In the coming weeks, the Four Season County team and Inn will also be announcing some exciting 2021 photo-tourism opportunities for anyone in coming weeks. The Inn and Walcott family share our collective vision that this book is not an end in itself. Instead, like the book photographs and the stories they tell, Four Season County is an invitation to explore this special place at their leisure.


Introducing Peggy deWitt...
Beautiful, spectacular Cape Vessey Falls (Waupoos) as captured here by Peggy is a recent example (County Magazine Summer 2020 edition cover).

… And someone who needs no introduction to Prince Edward County and its wider regional community! Picton’s Peggy deWitt brings her unique appreciation for rural countryside features, and natural world beauty to the Four Season County project. Where a casual passerby might see an old barn, fence line, mail box, or a battered dock as simply part of a familiar scenery, Peggy’s creative eye and composition abilities ensure that these everyday images are permanently impressed into their viewer’s consciousness.


Peggy’s talent for telling a wonderful story through a single, evocative scene is a common link connecting all four PEC photographers whose work provides A Four Season County with its power, and purpose. Peggy also draws on an extensive personal portfolio, one that includes three previous books (County Scenes, A Photographic Celebration of Prince Edward County (2001), Sandbanks, The Golden Beaches of Prince Edward County (2003), and The County through the lens of photographer Peggy deWitt (2008), an annual calendar, and work regularly featured in regional magazines.

 

Rob Garden, Phil Norton, Jason Pettit, and the McGuffins (Gary and Joanie) will also be ‘introduced’ in the next few weeks as A Four Season County moves towards its November 2020 publication date. The book web portal will be open in mid-October. For any other project information, please contact Bryan Davies (bryan@unitedfrontent.com). 

Introducing Phil Norton...

As befits a uniquely talented individual, photographer Phil Norton’s work lends further lustre to the entire Four Season County project. Phil’s career began in the early 1980s, the now seemingly far off pre-digital photography era. His life long love of the natural world began in the beautiful hills and forests of his native western Pennsylvania. Like Prince Edward County, this Allegheny Mountain region is a photographer’s delight. For Phil, armed with an environmental science degree, his early professional portfolio reflected Phil’s abiding, and wide-ranging interests in energy, air pollution and water purity – ones that remain central to Phil’s County life, and work.

It is depth and breadth of Phil’s career achievements that exemplify his commitment to photographic excellence. Phil has won national awards for photojournalism (Harrowsmith Magazine), and his other impressive credits include travel and biographical features for Canadian Geographic, Time, National Geographic Traveler and various regional publications. Now a County fixture, Phil has led numerous groups across the County and elsewhere, people eager for the opportunity to blend outdoor activities and learning about Phil’s craft.

Phil has not merely adapted to the ever-accelerating technological changes that continually reshape modern photography. Four Season County includes beautiful, sweeping drone images, ones inviting our readers to embrace Phil’s sense of imagination integral to his work.

The Four Season County e-commerce portal will be open by November 15. The book will be available in glossy soft cover, and hard cover editions. For any other information concerning publication, pleased contact Bryan Davies (bryan@unitedfrontent.com).

Introducing Rob Garden

Bracebridge …. London …. Whitby …. Orono …. Toronto …. Pittsburgh, Pa …. The multi-talented Four Season County creative team members have taken wonderfully diverse personal and professional pathways to this Prince Edward story destination. Wellington-based Rob Garden (and fellow County compatriot Jason Pettit) are our two photographers who are PEC ‘born and bred’ –a true badge of honour in a place taking considerable pride in its traditions.

Much of Rob’s life has been devoted to education, and the learning arts. After Queen’s University, Rob returned to his Prince Edward Collegiate Institute alma mater as a teacher. He is a well-regarded youth basketball coach, and over the past 10 years Rob and a small leadership group have helped nurture a basketball culture across the County. Rob is a self-described amateur photographer, portraying himself as someone who simply loves the art as supplementing a busy, often demanding life.

Sport has a golden rule - never criticize a teammate in public – but we shall bend it here. Four County Season readers will quickly appreciate that ‘amateur’ does not do justice to Rob’s excellent portfolio. Through his hard work and commitment to capturing beautiful County landscapes, Rob’s pleasing, often dramatic images reflect his County passions – unique takes on the place he and his family hold dear. 

Introducing Jason Pettit

Picton-born Jason Pettit is a relative latecomer to professional photography, but there is no doubt that his beautiful work is inextricably linked to his deep Prince Edward County passions. Jason has a particular life-long affection for the wild County areas, a notion that may seem odd for those who come to the County for its more mainstream tourism and cultural attractions. Jason immediately embraced the creative opportunities Four Season County presented, ones where he could contribute images conveying the simple, but powerful message that resonates across the entire work. The County is not just another rural Ontario tourist destination – it is a place and a reality that must be cherished, and respected.

For Jason, landscape photography is a direct extension and reflection of his own County life experiences. What began as a hobby in his Wellington home is now the basis of an expanding portfolio that is now attracting critical acclaim. Amongst these highlights are Canadian Geographic, a Picton Carbon Art + Design solo showcase (“Neutral Fury”), and his 2020 Nikon Canada gallery grand prize (2020 Contact Photography Festival, Toronto). The recent Wiki Loves Earth global photography contest inclusion of four Jason images reinforces how his work depicting natural heritage sites is now resonating beyond the County.

Four County photographers with four different ‘eyes’ for what makes their region a compelling, enduring study. We are proud that Jason joined our project, and we are certain that his work will appeal to every Four Season County reader