December 24, 2019


Found files from IDP's great aunt Josephine's collection. This one stood out amoung the rest :)

Merry Christmas Eve. May your holidays be mellow, cozy and one good bite after the next!

xo Madge

December 17, 2019

Shed / Flow

Self reflection at TCHQ. Winnipeg, MB; October 2019. Kiev 60 / FP4

I swallow the lump in my throat, breathe in the briny smell of the ocean. I think of Diaghilev, with his utter terror of any open water. Of his nervous half-smile when he watched Vaslav swim in the Lido. Of his relief when my brother, in his striped swimming costume, ran toward us, cold, dripping, splashing us with water he managed to carry in his cupped hands. "Come on, Serge, you coward. Come with me."

Will I find the strength for another struggle? After all I have lost?

Kolya is a few steps away from me, his face dense and heavy with waiting. I see his chest heave; I note a pulse throb in his throat. Don't blame me, Bronia, his eyes plead. If I could give my life for Levushka's I would.

Harsh winters strengthen trees. The ring that forms through a time of stress is stronger than the ones formed in milder ones. The Chosen Maiden, my brother once told me, is a warrior, not a dying swan. She dances to make life possible again. 

This is an old memory, but Vaslav's voice remains urgent: Are you ready, Bronia?

I nod.
I step forward and raise my hand.

An excerpt from page 408 of Eva Stachniak's "The Chosen Maiden".


Shed / Flow

Ain't that the truth, whether we like it or not.
 "She dances to make life possible again". Ah HA!


November 11, 2019

One year of loving you

Minutes old. There you are! 

Happy first birthday to my sweet Bernard Elgin!

Words fail me this evening. I am awash with wild waves of emotion as I reflect upon the day you were born. Today, every time I glanced toward a timepiece, be it on my wrist, upon the wall, in the car, my mind would register the time and the corresponding memory would play out in my mind's eye.

At 4:00am, after labouring hard for four hours, a doctor broke my water without asking me first. Mon dieu! Invasive! I was so deep in my work riding the waves of labour I had no voice to oppose. Things really picked up after that. I didn't like labouring in triage so your dad and I walked up and down the gritty stairs. I would stop with each contraction and moan through it as your dad quietly and patiently looked on. At 9:15 on the morning of your birthday, my mother arrived--your dear Granny Kim--and while I couldn't register more than her warm voice in the hubbub of triage, I took great comfort knowing she was there. At 10:00am your Auntie Erin and my midwife/ cheerleader Emily showed up. Again, I felt the circle of strong women widen around me but was unable to utter words beyond "MERCY"! At 11:30am, an earth angel/ labour & delivery nurse named Kristen turned up to say hello to Emily. Praise the moon above for their connection and teamwork. They agreed to ride out the rest of your birth as a team. I was moved from triage to a lovely private room with a shower. You, my little Scorpio water critter appreciated this (as did I) and together we moved you downward, closer to the light. By three I was 9.5cm dilated and Emily called for the warming table. By this point I was coherent enough to know we were close. Wrong! You took many more hours untangling yourself from the cord. I was so frustrated to be hung up for four more hours with only half a measly centimetre to go, but alas, as Emily put it then: You must cross this bridge alone as we cheer for you from both ends. And so, I hauled myself out of a dark place and crossed that bridge with determination.

At 7:11pm you slid out after six or seven incredible attempts to push you out. That work is not for the faint of heart! I was sure my head would fly off before I had the chance of admiring you all fresh and new. Thankfully, we both lived to shore up against each other, awash in relief. Home at last.

How easily you have carved out a spot for yourself in this family of ours in the course of one year. Your dad and I would be lost without your cheeky play, curious little spirit and hearty appetite for life. Benny boy, straight from the stars you are! One whole year of loving you kid.

Cheers to a hundred more!

Love, mum (and dad)

First new morning, happy as a lark in your dad's loving arms.
Tiny little bird with big mitts.
Birth of a proud mother.
Lovely little creature.
Home at last.

October 1, 2019

Teenage Mutant Ninja Baby

This was my last frame on the roll. As the camera rewound, Robert Falcon Ouellette walked into the frame. What are the chances of that? Missed encounters.
Sometimes Ni and I walk along Portage on Sunday evenings and play funny Cruise Night games.
Father and son watching the world go by on one of the last warm evenings of September. 
Simple pleasures of the Witching Hour.
Benny's first time at the track.
People watching. I am trying to challenge myself capture people (other than Benny) again. It's virtually impossible.
Watching the horses thunder by.
There they go! First horse track experience. 
I spy: long limbs. Typical scene.
RIP Westminster Tot Lot. Benny and I miss that playground space so much!
Suddenly I have a teenager at my table. How?!


I shot this pink-sopped roll on 40+ year old colour film from long-dead Laurence, using the little pocket cam Iain received from his mum and dad for his 16th birthday.

Olympus Stylus / very expired Kodak 400

September 25, 2019

Club o'clock

Oh the hilarity of hide and seek with Uncle Beetle! 
First bites; camping edition.
Cool dad alert!
It is always Club o'clock with these dingos!
Mama and girl pick flowers along the way.

Nice little roll to welcome back. This one shot on IDP's trusty old Canon AE-1 on FP4+ depicts a lovely weekend getaway to Spruce Woods over the Labour Day weekend. Love this gang of good folks.

Canon AE-1 / FP4+
Spruce Woods, MB; September 2019

September 18, 2019

Dog Daze

Popsicles on a hot day with Rebecca & Evey.
Miss Arlo multitasks in the shade.
Little Miss Evey girl! 
Benny's first popsicle.
Pearl & Arlo, Beatty cousins!
Experimentation in good company between B and Evey.
Girl, its MY turn.
Leo and Benny.
Leo gives it away for free.
Evey and Benny go for a swing.
Home again, home again, jiggety jig. Bernard happily reads with his dad.

Quick! It is essential that I tuck away this summer roll before the snow flies! This day was one of those random, super lovely, good company, sticky, easy breezy kind of days spent with our Beatty-Petkau clan. Cousin party all around!

Winnipeg, MB; July 2019
Canon AE-1 / FP4 400

September 17, 2019

Here & Now

Father and son scope out the Assiniboine River valley at Spruce Woods, MB; September 2019.
Petkau family portrait on a beautiful ridge. September 2019.

September 11, 2019

Mad Scientist

Megan the Mad Scientist, age 8 / Grade 3; 1994.

I am going to lay this photograph here as it is a favourite of mine, captured by my mother during a pivotal time in the development of my character. Halloween 1994. Grade three class party. Blue food colouring in a wacky bottle to complete the Mad Scientist look. Why was my mom there I wonder? Glad she was to catch the moment. I remember feeling very empowered by this look. Dad's blazer, Grandpa Syd's tie. Not pictured, an enormous pair of trick ears that one could pull a string back and forth through each ear via a tube style headband hidden under the wig. Hot and tight contraption, not for the faint of heart. This character was one of my favourites to play on my "Mad Scientist radio show" (which in reality was just me recording a meandering, nonsensical program in different voices--nary a thing to do with science).

Today I slipped this physical photograph into a letter addressed to my dear friend Leo (nearly eight himself and in Grade 3 this year). Had Leo and I been children at the same time, we would have been fast friends methinks. Two little weirdos looking from the outside in, bonded in eccentric solidarity :) Had I discovered Harry Potter at seven, my mind would have been blown also. Thanks be to Leo Isadore for the introduction of dear Harry into my life.

I am not really sure what I am trying to say here. I suppose I simply miss my young friend since he moved to Vancouver last week. Two weeks before he left for the west, his mom Colette (a mentor and friend of mine) gave me a ring asking for a favour: "Hi Meg, would you be willing to bake a cake and attend a surprise Seven and a Half birthday party for Leo in the next hour? He needs this." Why yes, yes I could. Never in my life have I whipped up a carrot cake so quickly! With the addition of some shitty store-bought icing, about an inch of rainbow sprinkles and a pack of ten marble balloons from the corner store later, we were in business. One half plus seven candles flickered as Leo blazed into the parlour with his caregiver Mel and exclaimed in delight, "IS THIS FOR ME??????". Why yes! We had a delightful party (Leo, his best bud Jo plus three women who love him). I gifted him a special navy woollen cape with a brilliant red interior that I had thrifted about a decade ago and have been hanging on to. I wore it about once a year when I needed to pack a punch for my annual Witch costume at Halloween. But he needed it more than I.

In the card I wrote "wear this cape for courage". Well, it has been three weeks and he has been wearing it everyday I hear. My hope is that someone takes note of his courage and appreciates his bold spirit and welcomes him into their fold.

Love from one Mad Scientist to the Harry Potter of my heart. Wind in your sails, boy!

August 29, 2019

Dear Benny Bird

Benny 9.5 months cruising around the back yard on Home.

Yashica 72-E half frame goodness with 40+ year old colour film. WHY NOT eh? Pretty good!

This morning you woke me up with your chuckling coming from the foot of the bed. Then it was the sound of your little hands whacking the bed situated on the floor. I am guessing you were feeling frustrated by the fact that you haven't figured out how to climb up yet. It won't be long. I rolled over and out of my nest and reached to grab your tiny diapered body. You grabbed my nose like a piece of low hanging fruit. Good morning to you too, boy! While you nursed, you warmed your cold hands up in my armpit and in that little pocket under the other breast. Smartie. Satisfied in the meantime, you left me and crawled from the bed onto the chest, onto a pile of books and pulled up to standing on the laundry basket. Impressive feat for seven in the morning. Grinning with pride four feet in the air, I hauled you down and we walked into the kitchen in search of coffee / bananas / slippers. Diaper, pyjamas, slippers. Fingers slipping through the handle of my favourite mug. Baby sounds. Ah Uh and then the sweetly whispered Ah babababa ma ba Tuh Huh uh.

Breakfast appeared: oats, blueberries, banana, yogurt. Fresh watermelon from Auntie Daryl, watermelon fairy. Your eyes twinkled at that sight. Your pajamas never to be the same again after that feast. Satisfied yet again, you banged your spoon on the table to let me know what was what until I washed you up and put you down on the cold floor. You zipped over to the pram waiting in the mudroom and yelled in short "uh" bursts until I came, donned my boots and packed you in for a stroll to the Tot Lot. You are a funny, determined little person Bernard. I like you so so much. I especially appreciate the look / side smirk you give me when I catch you doing something naughty and the way you hold all of your giggles in your belly until your dad magically gets them out and we delight in your delight for the billionth time. Time speeds on. Every day is a new adventure. More brave steps between A and B. My encouraging, outstretched hands don't cut it anymore. You want to do it BY YOURSELF. And so you do, exploring more of the house on foot every hour.

I just want to sniff your neck and kiss that juicy spot at the top of your shoulder and nibble on your ears and smooch your cheeks and feel your lips against mine and gently tug on the small thatch of hair at the back of your head with my lips all day long. But no, you are too fast, too busy to let me linger. Too much to see! And so I let you go, running, crawling, speeding, tumbling head first into this insane world. Okay! Bye bye! Have courage and know that your momma loves you!

Now you are sleeping and I am enjoying a cup of Rooibos tea in solitude while classical music drifts in from the kitchen radio. Oh yes, this week you have been working on your head-bopping rhythm when music comes on. Everyday something new. Everyday more love.

Love you forever my boy!



Experimenting with sound in good company. July 2019

August 26, 2019

Red Rock Lake 2.0

Cousins take a sink bath, cottage edition.
Sink bath, party of one.
My dad teaching us how to knot lures properly.
Granny and grandson.
Dad and son.
Mama and boy.
Bubble machine wonder.
Sun prints exposing under hot midday sun.
B rinses her work.
My print post 15 minute full sun exposure, pre water and peroxide rinse.
Self portrait in the hydrogen peroxide bowl. Can you make out my cyanotype as it oxidizes? 
Sun prints drying on the line.


Red Rock Lake July 2019 2.0 // 35mm edition
Canon AE-1 / FP4 125