In the Southeastern corner of Grey County Ontario sits the tiny hamlet of Maxwell. Holding a rich history, its sistering towns are so widespread you could lose yourself along its country roads. A large Mennonite community lives nearby where roadside stands hold strong memories for the virtue of a talented youth.
Within this farming settlement, it takes a keen eye to notice the subtle changes of how a hundred year old schoolhouse transformed into an Air BNB almost overnight, but the heart is a whirlwind for a girl enrolled in the Fresh Air Fund of 60’s Ontario. With her hand nestled within the palm of her host family’s son William, Jacqueline Milner felt the high energy of a spirited life. Through the orchards and green corridors of the Klein family farmhouse, Jacqueline grew into the naturalist we know today.
Jacqueline’s father Edwin operated a catering truck for several years, delivering foodstuffs and other necessities to construction crews. A quiet man, there was a certain generosity about him that moved Jacqueline. Tagging along on his routes, she’d watch as he went out of his way to fill the empty bellies of the poorest workers along his route.
Jacqueline’s mother Victoria worked as an accounts manager for Canada Catering. It was a job that came easy for her assertive personality, into everything from farming to politics. A fashionable dresser and decorator, Victoria was an expansive hostess, known for cooking huge spreads of rich Ukrainian delicacies handed down from her grandfather’s generation of young immigrants.
A favorite of the Waxwing is the Guelder Rose highbush cranberry. Synonymous with little girls of Ukrainian roots, it brightens the forest to which it thrives, attracting insects, butterflies and pollinators. Victoria’s gift of paying a host family to sponsor two of her daughters at the Maxwell farm was an idea ingrained in resiliency and strong traditional values where Jacqueline became one with the wildness – deep within the hedgerow.
When Jacqueline was 10, she won a game of chance at the CNE and selected a Kodak instamatic camera as her prize. When the camera stopped functioning, she never doubted her talent in putting it back together. Restoring the balance came naturally in a life built on figuring things out for good. In high school, she enrolled in the Arts & Science Program and while there, was introduced to, and worked in a Dark Room.
At 19, Jacqueline was accepted into the Photographic Arts Program at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute. Some years later, she enrolled in the Precision Instrument Mechanic Program (Camera Option), sponsored by the Canadian Government through Humber College. Upon graduation, she worked as both a camera repair technician for Fujifilm and a camera repair coordinator for Dayman Photo Marketing.
In 1999, Jacqueline moved to Summerstown Station and opened Image-ine Photography Studio. Producing a style that’s not overly detailed, her work was borne of encircled relationships with the earth and its vibration. Through the power of image, Jacqueline uses software programs like Photoshop to shine a deep honesty through her lens. With inspirations from photography’s greats V. Tony Hauser and Ansel Adams, Jacqueline’s digital effects soften and blend one’s perspective through a single image. Within nature’s fragile offerings lies a healing quality in the simplicity of striking colors and forested green.
A lovely human being and speaker of truth, Jacqueline lives a modest, moral life guided by nature. Her photography speaks when other fragiles cannot. A simple move beyond wishing for change asks us to read our labels, plant a tree, ride a bike. If we were to buy better – we might just recycle less. Deeply impacting choices like these bring communities together. Just as the environment needs this sort of creative, the wetlands of Cooper Marsh and the tree-cover of South Glengarry are hushed, struggling to survive. As a protector of earth’s wild places, one lives many lives.
With the world at her feet, a fearless child stands atop a young horse, smiling down at the photographer. Her smile wide, she embraces her sense of place between the Klein farm and South Glengarry, nestled among the orchards of fragrant fruit. Along this path bloom true friendships and the recipe for a good life. And challenging us in blistering color, like ripples through time, springs a child’s heart, awake to all – the world.
Lisa is a member of the Cornwall Writer Society, a group that meets at the Cornwall Public Library on the 3rd Monday of each month from 6:15 to 8:15 pm. For more information about this or any program at the library, please call 613-932-4796. To reach Lisa, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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