Work in progress

Mark Schacter's Thessalon, Ontario, shot for "Sweet Seas."

Ottawa’s Mark Schacter is at work on a new photo book, Sweet Seas – A Portrait of the Great Lakes. He says the book will be published in the fall of next year, but he’s putting images up on his website as he goes, so you can get a sneak peek.

Why “sweet seas”? That’s what French explorers called the Great Lakes nearly 400 years ago – actually les mers douces. The five Great Lakes were created 10,000 years ago as the glaciers of the last Ice Age retreated, he explains, and hold nearly one-fifth of the world’s fresh water. Their shores vary from still-unspoiled natural paradise to polluted wasteland. In the 1800s the Great Lakes were at the centre of an economic boom fueled by logging and mining. Their ecosystems have been radically and irreversibly altered by industry and commerce, Schacter says.

“I want to present the many and varied faces of the Great Lakes – the beaches, dunes and river mouths, the cities and towns, the mills and the factories, the ports and the power plants.”

He says he’s going to be travelling around all the Great Lakes, on both sides of the Canada/U.S. border, to gather material. Along the way, he’ll be hopping a freighter from Superior, Wisconsin, all the way down the Lakes to Montreal.

Sweet Seas will be published by Fifth House, publisher of his first book, Roads.

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