Watch the video footage here

Swimming in Lake Linnet, Waterton Lakes National Park 2013

I’m traveling to Waterton Lakes National Park in a few weeks to interview some of the locals about the changing practices around Lake Linnet over the past 100 years. I’m excited to continue to learn more about the nuances of the interconnections between people, pathways, ideas, government, migratory birds, water, and parasites.


I’ve been thinking about the lake since I found this postcard (AE Cross Studios circa 1927) “Swimming Pool Lake Linnet” on eBay in 2007 or so. I’ve attempted re-enact the image from exact spatial location multiple times over the last ten years.

I recently talked about Lake Linnet at the American Anthropology Association Meetings exploring why thinking about changing practices around Lake Linnet matters. The abstract from that talk:

Uncertainty and impermanence in the photographic practices of a Canadian National Park: the matter of Lake Linnet
National Parks and protected areas in Canada are cast through a tension between pristine nature and human activity found in archival records, photographic practices, and in the dual mandate of Parks Canada. Displacing these binaries of nature and culture provides necessary ethical and political grounding for new social imaginaries – ones that can produce a recognition of the otherwise. At the same time, much attention towards theorizing photography rests on the binary of photographs as images or objects. I follow an alternative vein of photographic theory as I consider a photograph as event, one that becomes possible through multiple forces. I draw on ethnographic research of photographic practices in Waterton Lakes National Park, a federally protected area in western Canada, to ask, how do relationships in protected areas, imagined as fixed and unchanging, actually change over time. How is this change reflected in photographic history and practices in Waterton? I suggest that practices of imagining otherwise is an ethnographic endeavor to reveal shifting visualities and fleeting photographic events at play in the park. I ask, what new links between humans and their relationships in the more than human world are made visible by investigating the archival record: A case study of an 80 year-old postcard of Lake Linnet? I follow a sensorial turn in visual anthropology to argue for an embodied understanding of the visual domain and recount an interconnected relationship between people, pathways, ideas, government, migratory birds, water, and parasites on the move.

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