AN DI NA CA
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S N O I T A FEATURING THE WOMEN OF TEA & BANNOCK ALEXIS MARIE CHUTEâ€™S THE QUIET REBUILD TWO PHOTO COLLECTIVES PLAY PHOTO-MARCO-POLO MONTREAL PHOTO DUO: LM CHABOT HOW-TO: GET PHOTO CONFIDENCE
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WHAT YOU’LL LOVE IN THIS ISSUE: 8 FIVE CANADIAN PHOTO BOOKS TO INVEST IN — NOW
Photo by Rob Blanchard. BEHIND THE SHOT: “My wife Betty and I were sitting on our front deck when we noticed two superheroes casually walking by. One of the boys lives across the street from us and is always doing something creative, but we had not seen him in costume before. I grabbed my camera and two off-camera flashes. I set up one light in front of them and one light behind. The lighting created some additional drama to the heroes and that made it possible for me to darken down the background. I was only able to take a couple photos as it was past one of the heroes bedtimes, his powers were fading. I am very happy with this shot but even happier knowing there are two superheroes in my neighbourhood”.
12 THE WOMEN OF TEA&BANNOCK by Krista Stevens
“Regardless of how you feel inside, always try to look like a winner. Even if you are behind, a sustained look of control and confidence can give you a mental edge that results in victory.” —Diane Arbus Cover photo by LM CHABOT. From the TRUE COLORS series. See page 18 for the full story.
18 LM CHABOT: “ONE DOES NOT GO WITHOUT THE OTHER” by Briar Deacon 20 TWO PHOTO COLLECTIVES: TORONTO V. FREDERICTON by J. Brown 32 HOW-TO: BUILD CONFIDENCE PHOTOGRAPHING PEOPLE by Lauren Lim 34 N ADYA KWANDIBENS’ CONCRETE INDIANS by Cece M. Scott 38 TAM + KYT: PHOTO DUO by Christopher Blanchette 40 A LEXIS MARIE CHUTE’S THE QUIET RE-BUILD
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photo by: www.margaretmulligan.com
HELLO! Welcome to PhotoED MAGAZINE’s 50th ISSUE!
YEAH! In the 16 years since this magazine started, we have produced 50 issues and have had the great pleasure of working with hundreds of photographers, students, educators, and sponsors from all across Canada. It has been good times. And there is SO much more to come. I am super excited to be taking over as the magazine’s editor, furthering what Felix Russo started. I very much look forward to working with the incredible network that he founded, as well as making loads of new friends who are as passionate about photography as I am. My first issue as editor features CANADIAN COLLABORATIONS in photographic practices that we thought were unique, inspiring, and outstanding. From online blogs like www.teaandbannock.com (created by a group of Indigenous women who connect online to share their lives, work, and stories), to a Montreal-based commercial photo duo known as LM Chabot, I wanted to find out more and share the stories behind the experience of working collaboratively. For this milestone issue, I also wanted to try an experiment. I reached out to two established photography collectives, one in Toronto and another in Fredericton. Through an image exchange over a few weeks, the two groups
D TOE 0 0% PHO E IS 1 DA! ZIN ANA GA M A E I N C U FO R D MA ANK YO PORT! TH R SUP YOU
played a photo-based game of Marco Polo. (The full story and results are on page 20.) Feedback from the enthusiastic participants strongly indicated that the collaboration added fuel to their individual creative fires. When coordinating this little game, I knew the images would all be great, but no one could predict where the visual narrative would take us. I suspect that for many, including myself, it is the beautiful unpredictability of collaboration that is the driving force for creation. The complex and intricate processes behind creating a photograph (or a magazine about photography!), while often invisible, can also often be the most extraordinary part of the story. Future plans, you ask? Well, besides creating more stunningly gorgeous printed pieces like the one you’re holding, we’ve got some awesome stuff happening online. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up for our e-newsletter to keep up! Your editor,
Rita Godlevskis firstname.lastname@example.org
WWW.PHOTOED.CA @photoedmagazine @PhotoEdCANADA @photoedmagazine
FALL 2017 ISSUE #50 ISSN 1708-282X
See www.photoed.ca for subscription/advertising information. Publications Mail Agreement No. 40634032 PhotoED Magazine 2100 Bloor St. West, Suite 6218 Toronto ON M6S 5A5
Christopher Blanchette J. Brown Alexis Marie Chute Briar Deacon Lauren Lim Cece M. Scott Krista Stevens
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for home delivery of hot, fresh, print photo goodness.
5 CANADIAN PHOTO BOOKS TO INVEST IN — NOW Photography books are a great example of collaborative work. The art of the book takes many eyes of review and critique, and many hours of revisions and research. Check out some Canadian photographers whose series work over the course of YEARS has culminated into these results. For these artists, the presentation quality of their images is paramount. The stories they tell in this compact, high-quality form are worth every penny.
Bathers by Ruth Kaplan, $65 Text by Marni Jackson and Larry Fink. Bathers, by Toronto-based photographer Ruth Kaplan, explores the social theatre of communal bathing. Ruth’s journey began in the nudist hot springs of California in 1991. She then travelled to Eastern Europe, seeking a more traditional form of the practice in the bath towns of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, and Romania. The unique display of individual body types and ages became a component of the work, as did the decaying architecture of the interiors. Later, she travelled to highertech spas in Germany, France, Italy, and Denmark, completing the series in 2002 in Moroccan hammams and Icelandic hot springs. Hedonism, sensuality, innocence, and social bonding are some of the underlying themes that have emerged.
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REGISTERED The Japanese Canadian
Experience During World War II
Looking for Marshall McLuhan in Afghanistan
by Leslie Hossack, $125
by Rita Leistner, $43
Leslie Hossack’s images in Registered are accompanied by her thoroughly researched and carefully crafted observations about the experience of Japanese Canadians in British Columbia during World War II when they were registered, rounded up, and removed. Registered consists of three installations: Vancouver newspaper clippings from the 1940s; individual registration cards issued by the RCMP; and interpretive photographs of buildings in British Columbia where the story played out.
In 2011, conflict photographer and critical theorist Rita Leistner embedded with U.S. Marines in Afghanistan as a team member of the experimental social media initiative Basetrack. What resulted is Looking for Marshall McLuhan in Afghanistan. Rita uses iPhone photographs she took during a military embed to apply the pioneering Canadian media theorist’s ideas on language and technology to contemporary warfare. An homage to McLuhan, this is a new kind of photo book.
Ritual by Vincenzo Pietropaolo, $39.95 Documentary photographer Vincenzo Pietropaolo has made it his life’s mission to photograph the immigrant experience, working-class culture, and social justice issues. In Ritual, Pietropaolo brings together a retrospective collection of 150 photographs spanning 46 years. The book is an historic documentation of the Good Friday procession — an elaborate event that takes place annually in the streets of Toronto’s Little Italy, the largest Italian immigrant community in the world.
Yes Yes We’re Magicians Jonah Samson, $34.95 Yes Yes We’re Magicians, co-published by Figure One Publishing and Presentation House Gallery, is a compilation of anonymous, vintage black-and-white photographs mostly found on eBay from the personal collection of the Canadian artist and writer Jonah Samson. Titled after a line from Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot, the book reflects on the absurdity of life through slapstick and dark humour, and a warmhearted affection for the mysteries of human gestures. Jonah has created a carefully orchestrated narrative flow between various kinds of vernacular photographs. Whether a blurry snapshot or a formal portrait, the images draw out the uncanny and magical qualities of photographs. Free of any description, the compelling pictures are allowed to speak for themselves.
RUTH KAPLAN BATHERS
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Bathers by Ruth Kaplan, $65 Text by Marni Jackson and Larry Fink. Bathers, by Toronto-based photographer Ruth Kaplan, explores the social theatre of communal bathing. Ruthâ€™s journey began in the nudist hot springs of California in 1991. She then travelled to Eastern Europe, seeking a more traditional form of the practice in the bath towns of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, and Romania. The unique display of individual body types and ages became a component of the work, as did the decaying architecture of the interiors. Later, she travelled to higher-tech spas in Germany, France, Italy, and Denmark, completing the series in 2002 in Moroccan hammams and Icelandic hot springs. Hedonism, sensuality, innocence, and social bonding are some of the underlying themes that have emerged.
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A Roundtable Discussion with the Women of Tea&Bannock BY KRISTA STEVENS
TEA&BANNOCK IS AN ART COLLECTIVE born out of Tenille Campbell’s wish for “a community, a group of women I can talk to about editing, writing, art, and what it means processing all of that through Indigenous eyes.” Visiting Tea&Bannock is like sitting around the table with smart, thoughtful friends; their excitement and passion for interpreting their experiences through stories, art, and photography is both inspiring and uplifting. We spoke with the women of Tea&Bannock about community, inclusion, cultural appropriation, and breaking down Indigenous stereotypes.
KS: You started Tea&Bannock on a whim. What surprised you about a project that began as a spontaneous idea? Claudine Bull: The most surprising thing about the project is how much it has grown into a strong community of women. To me that’s amazing, fascinating, and a privilege.
Tenille Campbell/Sweetmoon Photography. Teacups and Beadwork, Lace and Birchbark. The Indigenous Mad Hatter. Collaboration with MUA Kacey Beaudry (Cree), hairstylist Shayla Weisbrot (Cree), and model Danitra Marchand (Métis). Set Styling by Alexandra George (Dene).
Tenille Campbell: For me, it was the instant support. This was a personal art project for myself — I saw a void and I needed support and encouragement from like-minded women — but I never thought about how this need would be reflected in a larger community, and that the experiences and stories at T&B would resonate so strongly throughout Indian Country. It opened my eyes to the amazing artists, photo ED 13
“IT OPENED MY EYES TO THE AMAZING ARTISTS, PHOTOGRAPHERS, CURATORS, BEADERS, AND PAINTERS OUT THERE, WHO CAN IDENTIFY AND SHARE AND LAUGH WITH US NOW.” —TENILLE CAMPBELL
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Left page, top image: Tenille Campbell/Sweetmoon Photography, “Campbell Girls, Kelry, Aerie, Ava.” Summer 2016. Left page, bottom image: Jessica Wood, “The 27th Annual February 14th, Downtown Eastside Women’s Memorial March, Vancouver BC, 2017, Coast Salish Territory.” Elders lead the march. They stop, say prayers, and leave medicine at locations where women missing from the
photographers, curators, beaders, and painters out there, who can identify and share and laugh with us now. Tea&Bannock built a community, and I’m grateful for that. KS: What’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a result of sharing your work on the site? Joi T. Arcand: It’s not so bad to put yourself out there. As a photo-based artist, I am usually behind the camera. That is a conscious decision. I am private and so sharing bits of my life and my artistic process was a little bit daunting at first. However, I’ve received a lot of positive feedback through the site, which has been a great encouragement to continue doing what I’m doing. Amanda Laliberte: I have a voice. As contributors to Tea&Bannock, every post we share speaks from our experiences as Indigenous women photographers. There is always something new to be said. With the light — and camera in hand — we continue to document our lives and raise each other up so that our voices are heard. Claudine Bull: My voice matters — no matter how controversial or “scary” it may be to share my opinion or thoughts on different subjects — it matters. People will agree and disagree. It doesn’t make it less valid. KS: Of all the stories shared at Tea&Bannock, which story resonates most with you?
community were last seen or found murdered. This page; left image: Claudine Bull, “Claudine with one week old daughter, Alba.” December 2016. Right image: Shayla Snowshoe, “In Her Element.” Gwich’in Jijuu (Grandmother) Mary Effie Snowshoe. Preparing the hide. Dempster Highway by Fort McPherson, Northwest Territories.
Shawna McLeod: Tenille Campbell’s “Teacups and Beadwork, Lace and Birchbark,” which was a collaboration with several female Indigenous artists who recreated the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party from Alice in Wonderland. I think I connected to this story and photography because that is ultimately what I like to do with my own photography — create, collaborate, and capture! Joi T. Arcand: I love the post that Claudine shared when she announced she was expecting. She got personal and I appreciate her bravery in discussing the topic in such a thoughtful way. I related to a lot of what she wrote, even though I am not a parent. The best thing about Tea&Bannock is that while we have never met in real life, I feel we’ve gotten to know each other by reading each other’s posts. Caroline Blechert: One of my favourite stories on Tea&Bannock was about Nicole Lapierre. She mentions collaborating with other photographers and creatives as much as possible, and how sharing is the key to growing. I’ve been implementing this advice in my life a lot lately since reading about it, so thank you Nicole! Jessica Wood: Indigenous women are often presented through lenses that we did not ask for and do not see ourselves through: Hollywood maidens both virginal and savage. We are portrayed as stereotypes or we are erased entirely. So often our regalia is appropriated for fashion, but we are excluded from even that imagery. photo ED 15
Images this page, left: Caroline Blechert, “UrbanNative” featuring jewellery by Creations for Continuity. Model/ makeup by Dezbah Evens. Right: Amanda Lalibert, “Abby raises up her daughter Eva Edna Kitai Coon from the `Namgis First Nation.”
My favourite posts of my own have been on the Memorial March and Shane Sable. My favourite posts from others include Tenille’s stylized Alice (in Wonderland) shoot, Shawna’s post about Dene Games, and Amanda’s post “Making Bannock.” Here we get to share our interests, our experiences, and our experiments without it being in relationship or contrast to anything or anyone else. It’s so powerful to see the variety of our lived experience captured and shared. We can explore our strength, sexuality, representation, politics, and insight together. I feel very supported as a queer Indigenous woman who works in a lot of activist spaces. I feel like I have colleagues. That’s new for me as an Indigenous photographer and as a professional. It’s such a stark contrast to my family and community life. Amanda Laliberte: The post that leaves me most in awe is Tenille Campbell’s “Teacups and Beadwork, Lace and Birch Bark.” Her words and photographs do an amazing job of giving light to the Indigenous female experience. Like Tenille, I also grew up in wonderment of Alice’s adventures and to see Tenille take that story and indiginize the Mad Hatter Tea Party through her lens was simply mind-blowing. And of course, she collaborated and shared the space with family, friends, and community to execute her idea and create, as Tenille says, “a little bit of Indigenous magic.” It reminds us that we do our best when we are able to work together. When I scroll through Instagram and Pinterest looking at other people’s stylized photographs, I am inspired by some; yet most of 16 photo ED
Right side page, top left: Shawna McLeod, “Dene Beauty.” Collaboration with designer Heather Dickson from Dickson Designs (Tinglit), MUA Angela Jack from Kamamak Cosmetics (Cree), and model Charlene Menacho (Dene).
Top right: Joi T. Arcand, “Tombstone Territorial Park, Yukon, 2011.” Bottom: Caroline Blechert, “Snowfest16’.”
the time I am left searching for more that I can connect with. The worst is when the collaborators appropriate Indigenous content into their stylized photo shoots. That’s why I like Tenille’s post so much, because it’s for real. I am able to connect with the work because I get it. For me what lies beyond the frames and beneath the layers of tea cups, beads, lace, and birch bark is the voice of Indigenous women. KS: T&B’s tagline is “Indigenous women photographers, telling story, sharing light.” What does it mean to share light and why is it important at Tea&Bannock? Claudine Bull: Sharing light ties into the belief that what I have to say is important, and that there are others out there who will share and spread that same light. Shawna McLeod: I want to share my story with a wider audience and to educate people about the Northwest Territories. Living North of 60 isn’t easy but it sure is amazing. As an Indigenous photographer from the Northwest Territories, I often feel it is my duty to shed a light on where I come from; to capture the variety of Indigenous cultures, the beautiful pristine land, and to celebrate all that the North has to offer. I hope that people will learn, feel, and take away positivity through my photography and stories on Tea&Bannock. Tenille Campbell: There are a lot of magic spots in my urban community of Saskatoon that have amazing light. These are spots
“THE BEST THING ABOUT TEA&BANNOCK IS THAT WHILE WE HAVE NEVER MET IN REAL LIFE, I FEEL WE’VE GOTTEN TO KNOW EACH OTHER BY READING EACH OTHER’S POSTS.” —JOI T. ARCAND
in back alleys, behind a cluster of trees, down a hidden dirt road, off the beaten path. Places where the light shines evenly and clearly during that magic hour, the light that all photographers chase. And I found a lot of these places through driving around and looking, by accident, by chance. When asked about where I shot a specific image, I’ll share. I’ll tell them how to get there. I’ll bring up a map and stick a pin and text it to them. I’ll warn them about times to go, when to avoid, and what worked best for me. I’ll share my light. This concept is a foundation of Tea&Bannock. But instead of actual locations on the land, we are sharing knowledge, experiences, frustrations, and accomplishments. We are sharing communities and the people within them. We are showing each other our families, our favourite foods, and what makes us giggle. We treat this blog as a place where we get together to share our daily thoughts — no matter how mundane it may seem to us at the moment, it’s often appreciated and understood within our group, and now our larger online community, on a deeper level. When we tell our stories, we are sharing our light. Text reprinted with the permission of Discover WordPress: discover.wordpress.com
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LM CHABOT: “ONE DOES NOT GO WITHOUT THE OTHER” BY BRIAR DEACON
JOLIANNE L’ALLIER MATTEAU AND ALEXANDRE CHABOT (a.k.a. LM Chabot) are a Montreal-based commercial creative photography duo. They refer to themselves as “a fusion in all aspects. One does not go without the other.”
The pair met 10 years ago when Jolianne attended a photography class that Alexandre was teaching. In the last decade, their professional and personal relationships have blossomed, giving way to successful photography careers, a loving relationship, and recently, their first child. Growing within a partnership has allowed their styles to evolve into something truly distinct. Their love for each other and their work drives them, and is responsible for their unique brand of photography. Professionally, they have each found what roles and actions work best for them. Jolianne handles communication and directing the models, while Alexandre shoots and focuses on details of framing and lighting. Both hold a lifelong passion for art and photography, and a desire to express themselves creatively. Alexandre, the son of a painter, dreamed of becoming a photographer from age 15. Jolianne always imagined “living from [her] art” and loving her work. Inspired by Alexandre’s freelance career and her photography classes, Julianne found photography was the perfect way to pursue this dream. The pair are deeply influenced by their surroundings, both in their home city of Montreal and across the world on their global adventures. Rather than citing specific photographers as influences on their work, they are inspired by familiar, everyday situations and spaces. A movie, an art trend, or even a colour combination can spark ideas for new projects. According to Alexandre, “Our ideas often come from an absurd, yet unremarkable, life situation that we push further with a playful pop of flavour.” Tr ue Colors, shot with a Nikon D810, involved collaboration with what the couple dubs their “Dream Team.” 18 photo ED
This core group of friends and coworkers includes Alexandre and Jolianne, hair and makeup artist Valeria Amirova, and stylist Mélodie Wronski. LM Chabot take care to include the other members of the team from the very beginning of the project and have brainstorming sessions to make sure that everyone is fully involved in the creative process. The duo like to see “every image as a build-up,” starting from a main idea or concept and having each team member add their own input, resulting in a “strong and surprising image.” This inclusion of other voices also extends to the models that LM Chabot work with. In this shoot, with four similar looking red-haired models, they encouraged the models to play and strike creative, theatrical poses with their props (random accessories chosen for their shape or colour), rather than traditional fashion poses. The pair’s willingness to be influenced and aided in development as artists by their friends, colleagues, and the world they walk through every day has allowed them to build a reputation as creative photographers to watch out for. They are side by side in all aspects of their lives. As Jolianne explains, “I think it’s awesome to be able to execute personal and professional projects with the same person and still be excited about it after all these years.” Alexandre believes their partnership is “now [their] trademark, and [they] can’t go back.”
Hair + Make up : Valeria Amirova Styliste : Mélodie Wronski Retouche : Victoria Lord Modèles : Kate (Folio) Cat (Folio) Marie-Christine (Montage) Marie-Claire (Montage)
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COLLECTIVES A TALE OF TWO CITIES : FREDERICTON V. TORONTO BY J. BROWN
AT A TIME WHEN the commercial photographic industry is being disrupted by technology, photographers have risen to the challenge, redefining a creative-based movement. If you thought photography was an individual pursuit, think again. The Internet and its various platforms have fired up photography groups, playing an important role in pushing the medium in new directions.
Traditional photography collectives are unique associations that promote professional photographic practice. Here are a couple of behind-the-scenes stories about how two different established Canadian collectives strive to keep fine art photography in public view by working as groups to achieve their goals as individual creators. The f8 Photography Collective hails from Toronto, Ontario. Natalia Shields initiated the group with fellow local photographers to participate in a group 20 photo ED
exhibition. While meeting to discuss the plans for the show, the participants came to the realization that by working together as an established collective, they could take their craft to a whole new level. A brainstorming session, fuelled by wine and goodies, got the creative juices flowing. They chose the name f8: Focus of Eight Photographers. The collective explains, “f8 is the sweet aperture spot on a camera lens, and because there were eight people in the group, it seemed an appropriate name. Our first exhibition was mounted at the Dignam Gallery in April 2010.” There have been a few changes in membership since the original creation of the group, but six of the members have been there from the beginning, creating a strong sense of belonging. The f8 Photography Collective has also invited guest photographers to participate in their exhibitions: “An interesting element of f8 is that it has a ‘feeder group.’ We have a small list of photographers
S WE INVITED THE TWO COLLECTIVES TO COLLABORATE. Each member was emailed an image from the other collective. The chain of this visual conversation is what you see above & continued over the next six pages.
We started with the SilverFish Collective’s Karen Ruet and her image Call me Kat. Images from left: Karen Ruet (SF), Call me Kat. From a photo session featuring Kathleen GoreyMcSorley.
John Wallace (f8), Rape of the Sabine Women. “The feminine component and the curves echo the previous image, but the violent drama portrayed, my use of monochrome, and the fact the figures are stone rather than flesh present stark contrasts.”
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A SUCCESSFUL COLLECTIVE REQUIRES ONGOING COMMUNICATION AND COLLABORATION WITH A COMMON GOAL IN MIND, AND INCLUDES OPPORTUNITIES FOR INDIVIDUAL PHOTOGRAPHERS TO ADVANCE THEIR SKILLS AND PORTFOLIOS.
whose work we respect, and when one of the f8 members cannot participate in a specific exhibition, one of the photographers on our list is invited to participate as a guest, so we are always eight in number.” The additional guest members bring their own ideas into the collective and create further networking links within the community. Assisted by a marketing professional, the collective has continued to develop. Formal mission and vision statements were created to outline the 22 photo ED
goals of the group: “f8 is an artistic collective that consistently challenges and supports each member to produce and exhibit high quality photography... to be acknowledged by artists, art lovers, and critics as creators of must-see photography.” The collective feels that the new marketing strategies are helping them attract their desired audience. The group meets regularly to discuss exhibition themes. They consider face-to-face meetings essential, so momentum is not lost. Before the exhibitions, there are always two critiquing sessions. The critiques are valued by
Images from left to right continue the chain from the previous page. Roger Smith (SF), Shogomoc River, NB. “The falls respond to the smooth lines of the sculpture, with soft flowing water replacing the hard, smooth marble.” Rod Trider (f8), “In contrast to Smith’s flowing curved falls, the Marina Condos on the Chicago River are creative curves of man’s making.” Lori Quick (SF), Looking Up. Felicity Somerset (f8), Co-dependencies #12. “In response to the curved
lines, sculptures, and lighting in the previous image, I move in closer and play on the idea of sculptures: a broken sea shell with a curved form. Peter Gross (SF), “My image was shot during a meditation retreat at a Buddhist monastery in Cape Breton. For me, bones and driftwood share both physical and metaphorical qualities. They are traces of past life.”
capture the landscape from a distance.” Mike Meade (SF), Grandfather’s Wharf. “Taken from a lake in northern NB, a spot where my grandfather had a cabin. Neither he nor the cabin are around any longer, but they both had a great influence on me.” Margit Koivisto (f8), “My image is similar in mood to Mike’s. Both have an ominous feeling through sky and composition.”
Natalia Shields (f8), “Similar to the previous image, mine includes water and a background softened by mist; however, I take a wider view and
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each member of the collective and have helped raise the standard of everyone’s work. The f8 group are all quite different in their interests and backgrounds, which contributes to a diversity of opinions. All decisions are made collectively, which has contributed to their success. The f8 Photography Collective states that the most important thing they have learned over the years is that “there is strength and learning in our collective, and that together we can achieve more.”
get there. We shared printing ideas. We spent our time together socially. It was a golden era.” The collective’s membership has almost completely changed since it started, with people moving away, having children, moving into different careers. Additionally, the mission of the group has evolved and now we’re focused on exhibiting our work. The general photography conversation is now more focused on planning and logistics for our exhibitions.
The SilverFish Photography Collective is based in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Members came together originally as emerging photographers, many of whom attended the same college (New Brunswick College of Craft and Design). They were driven to keep conversation and passion for photography going after graduation. Andrea Crabbe spearheaded the first meeting with classmates and the group that met at her house became the contributors of their first exhibition in 2001. Karen Ruet, a SilverFish member, comments about their time in school, “We talked non-stop about photography: photographers, innovations, ideas, our shoots, where we were going, how we thought we might
Membership has grown from eight to twelve over the years. SilverFish stays small to enable individual members to exhibit bodies, or small series of works, while still fitting all the members works inside a gallery space. The collective meets monthly to discuss themes and ideas and share their work amongst themselves. Between meetings, there is always communication over email. The group works together and keeps careful notes from each exhibition. Building on past experiences and incorporating new ideas helps to advance their future projects. Ruet says, “Mostly we work together on thematic development. Members are autonomous and shoot on their own.”
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Images from left to right continue the chain from the previous page. Jeff Crawford (SF). Michael MacLaverty (f8), Holding Her Own. “Jeff’s image is a well composed shot of a privileged woman. Mine, in contrast, is a shot of a poor woman on a busy, grubby street in India. While the women pictured are about the same age, that’s where their similarities stop. The Indian woman is desperate
to receive anything of use for herself and her child. She will never be offered a rose.”
would. This changed my view to one of hope. That a child can still be a child no matter the circumstances.”
Rob Blanchard (SF), “When I looked at the image of the Indian mother and child, I initially felt despair. After a while I shifted my thoughts to the boy sleeping on the ground. I wondered if despite his situation and surroundings he still dreams, plays, and has happy times, like we would hope a child of his age
Maureen Littlewood (f8), “This image struck a mood in me that drew me to present a dusk versus dawn contrast. The human forms’ triangular stances are reminiscent of the shape of the lighthouse.”
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Moving their work past the New Brunswick border has been their biggest obstacle. Finding more galleries to show their work would give them more exposure and opportunities. The collective aspires to push even further and tour an exhibition that they have created. â€œWe would love to collaborate more with other groups in other provinces. We are accomplishing this by showing Canada 150 work in June at the ViewPoint Gallery in Halifax with the ViewPoint Photography Collective, and then by moving the show to Fredericton in September.â€?
passion for photography. A successful collective requires ongoing communication and collaboration with a common goal in mind, and includes opportunities for individual photographers to advance their skills and portfolios. They all just want to make creative photographs, talk about those photographs, and spend time together while expressing their ideas through their own unique lenses. We also suspect for both groups that meetings with treats may also be a part of the ties that bind!
Although these two groups live in different geographies, what rings true about everyone involved is a deep-seated
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Images from left to right continue the chain from the previous page. Denise Rowe (SF), “I chose this photo to contrast Maureen’s. A lone tree in the dry desert with a high-noon blue sky opposes the cold and damp seascape.” Catherine Mackinnon (f8), Indian Falls. “I contrasted Denise’s work with an opposing experience. The colouring is similar and each image depicts a fierce pride and independence in a unique natural environment. Denise’s image may be similar year-round, whereas the ice formation was part of an unusual March when Lake Huron was mostly frozen over.”
Burton Glendenning (SF), Home. “Home for one man in his solitude now; home for one King and his entourage in bygone years.” Mandy Wright (SF), Van Ad Pop!, “In contrast to Burton’s image, bright pop-art colours belie what a man’s life might be against the grey pall of what a man’s life has become. Visually my image sympathizes with the vertical colonnade in Burton’s photo.”
Peter Bjerkelund (SF), Chime, August 11, 2010 8:51 pm. “It’s about timing. My image documents the moment when the Earth’s orbit around the sun is closing off the final rays of light, which are caught on the edge of a cloud blowing in the wind over the surface of the planet. A simultaneous clockwork creating what looks like a different reality. Gone in the next moment.”
Oliver Flecknell (SF), Power to the Popular. “Advertising signage in Mandy’s image and the ubiquitous social desire to gain social media followers inspired my response.”
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MANI SINGH & THE ART OF BECOMING A CONFIDENT PHOTOGRAPHER BY BRIAR DEACON
“I love to review my old photos. Being able to see my progress helps me gain confidence and encourages me to keep shooting.”
MANI SINGH is a recent graduate from the photography program at Georgian College. PhotoEd magazine asked him some questions about his creative process and how he tackles the issue of confidence when photographing people.
Are there any photographers that have influenced your art? Joseph Cartwright, Renee Robyn, and Steve Richards. My teachers at Georgian College have also inspired my creativity as a photographer.
How did you get started in photography? I was on an excursion with my classmates and professor while completing my Bachelor’s Degree in Animation and Multimedia. During the trip, my professor handed me a DSLR camera and asked me to take some photos. That was my first time using a DSLR and I immediately fell in love with the process. I loved it. I had finally found a tool through which I was able to express my thoughts and feelings in a concrete way, and I had the power to “capture the moment.” Soon after, I bought my first camera, a Canon 600D, and have been shooting since.
What do you think is the best way to gain confidence in yourself as an artist/photographer? I believe the best way to gain confidence is to believe in yourself, even from the moment you’re starting out. Don’t be afraid to share your work and ask people to critique it. Listen to the feedback and apply those suggestions to your future work. The most important thing I learned during my two years at Georgian was to get out of my comfort zone. By only doing one small thing everyday, you can definitely create results.
Did you study any other photographers work as a way to grow your confidence? I always check social media for new work from other photographers. It helps me to learn new techniques for future shoots and motivates me to get out and create more and more.
How did you gain your confidence? Describe the process. I used to be a very shy person who didn’t talk to many people, but my teachers always encouraged their students to be brave and use creativity as a means of overcoming that shyness. I slowly began engaging with peers and asking them to model for me. photo ED 29
“I believe the best way to gain confidence is to believe in yourself, even from the moment you’re starting out. Don’t be afraid to share your work and ask people to critique it. Listen to the feedback and apply those suggestions to your future work.”
I also showed my work to my classmates and asked them to critique it, which helped me see what aspects of my work I needed to concentrate on improving. Did you have any difficult experiences or setbacks? I used to get discouraged when my photo shoots didn’t go well or I didn’t get the results I was looking for, but I never gave up on pursuing my art. Instead, I would rework my plan, such as keeping the same concept but using a different technique, and try again. I also find that if I am having trouble coming up with a creative idea, I give myself a week’s break before revisiting that concept. Do you have any areas you’d like to improve in? There is always room for improvement and to learn new techniques. Right now I’m concentrating on improving the poses for my models, which I think are a vital part of my photography. Do you ever review your old photos and feel like you’ve grown since that time? How does that process affect how you see yourself? I love to review my old photos. Being able to see my progress helps me gain confidence and encourages me to keep shooting. It’s a great idea to look at your previous work when you feel discouraged, it helps to keep you motivated. How did you create the “Running Girl” image? There were a lot of challenges that I had to overcome to finally get this image right. I planned the shoot two weeks in advance, as it was taken in a parking lot and relied on the weather. I used a three-light setup: two lights with grids and one light with a medium soft box. I also grated sidewalk chalk to make a powder, which I used in the background. Finally, I had two assistants throwing different coloured powders while I took the shot. It was very challenging to get the model into focus while she was running, so I had to take about 200 shots to get the perfect one. What are your aspirations for the future? My hope is to continue developing my skills, learning more techniques, and producing creative and exceptional photographs through which people can become inspired.
WWW.MANIPHOTOGRAPHY.CA 30 photo ED
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BUILD CONFIDENCE PHOTOGRAPHING PEOPLE CONFIDENCE IS believing in yourself, your skills, and your value. It’s one of the best photographic techniques possible. It’s honest. It’s genuine. It’s a direct reflection of your passion and excitement for what you do. Having your photo taken is a stressful experience for many people, and unless the photographer acts in a way to ease that stress, the photos will not be successful. Stressed people do not make for good photos. Clients need to feel comfortable enough to open up and be themselves for you to create truly great images of them. And to do that, they need to trust you.
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The above image, “Keep Running” comes from Mani Singh, a Georgian College graduate. Read more about Mani’s photography and how he tackles confidence at: www.photoed.ca/articles
“REGARDLESS OF HOW YOU FEEL INSIDE, ALWAYS TRY TO LOOK LIKE A WINNER. EVEN IF YOU ARE BEHIND, A SUSTAINED LOOK OF CONTROL AND CONFIDENCE CAN GIVE YOU A MENTAL EDGE THAT RESULTS IN VICTORY.”
TAKE IT STEP-BY-STEP
• Do yourself a huge favour — aim to always arrive at a shoot at least 20 minutes early. If you are any later than that, you’re late. Give yourself at least 5 minutes to quietly focus on the task ahead and get your head in the right place.
“IF YOU’RE CONFIDENT YOU’RE GOING TO TAKE BETTER IMAGES. STRAIGHT UP” —LAUREN LIM
• Try it for yourself. Get photographed yourself, in a full session, the same way your clients do. If you really want to understand what your subjects go through, and know what to do to make the experience a great one, this is a must. • Confidence is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Act like the people around you should respect the fact that you’re the photographer in charge, and they will. • Courage. What more can I say than that? You want to succeed? Push past the fear. • “Fake it until you make it.” Act confident, even if you’re shaking in your booties. • Smile, it’ll get you a long way.
• Scout your location. Walk around. Don’t drive. • Practise your shoot with friends. • Make an outline — know what you need to achieve what you want.
• Work to remember names. If you can’t remember someone’s name in the middle of the session, you will start freaking out and lose focus. Write names on a piece of paper you keep in your pocket, people will absolutely appreciate the effort. Even if you stumble. • Study masters (and realize you have a lot to learn.) • Review your work — create post-shoot report cards to follow your own progress. Analyzing what you did well and what you can improve on is critical to long-term success. • K .I.S. (Keep It Simple) — A confident photographer with a simple setup will always create better images than one with all the latest gadgets and no idea how to use them.
Post-shoot report cards and confidence worksheets can be found in Lauren Lim’s digital guidebook!
• Careers aren’t built on single images. They are built on being able to consistently produce excellence.
KNOW IT’S OK TO FAIL
• You’re going to make mistakes. Mistakes are just learning experiences in hiding. • W hen you can articulate your weaknesses, they no longer seem like things holding you back. Once you know what they are, spend your energy fixing them.
KNOW YOU CAN DO IT
• You have everything in you to make a change — right now. • Your photographic raison d’être will be for you alone to find out. • Don’t look for approval from the masses. Your feelings of happiness and success should come from inside. They should depend on whether you personally feel you did a good job. If you start to need at least 10 blog comments before you feel like it was a good shoot, or get upset because no one “Liked” that image you put up, you’re walking a dangerous path.
AN EXCERPT FROM
THE SHY PHOTOGRAPHER’S GUIDE TO CONFIDENCE
• Pursue the things that inspire and excite you! • Dream big.
by Lauren Lim WWW.PHOTOGRAPHYCONCENTRATE.COM/shy-photographers-guide-confidence photo ED 33
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BY CECE M. SCOTT
“I BEGAN THINKING ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY AS A MEANS FOR OTHERS TO EXPRESS FEELINGS OF DISCONNECTION AND/OR TO EXPLORE AND REFLECT ON WHAT DECOLONIZATION MEANS AND LOOKS LIKE.”
NADYA KWANDIBENS, a dynamic photographer specializing in artistic natural light portraiture, is Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) from the Animakee Wa Zhing First Nation in Northwestern Ontario.
Kwandibens’ photographic intent is twofold: to empower Indigenous peoples through portraiture, and to inform non-Indigenous people about both the important historical role Indigenous peoples have played and their integral role in Canada’s moving forward. The foundation and vision of Kwandibens’ company Red Works Photography is centred on Indigenous empowerment. While Kwandibens’ personal work is often captured in black and white, Red Works sessions are usually photographed in vibrant colour to mirror the beauty of Indigenous people. The contrast between the stereotypical black and white images of Indigenous people and Kwandibens’ vibrant compositions acts as a challenge and a photographic bridge between the cliché of history and the narratives of the future. Kwandibens’ open call series Concrete Indians is a collection of portraits that she hopes will spark a ubiquitous and powerful interest in learning more about Indigenous people. The series, which began in 2008, is named after a memory Kwandibens has of elders who would call the young people leaving the community to go to neighbouring cities, Concrete Indians.
Ten Indigenous lawyers, Vancouver, BC, April 2012. From left to right: Pamela Shields, Terri-Lynn WilliamsDavidson, Rosalie Wilson, Halie Bruce, Elizabeth Hunt, Melissa Louie, Leah GeorgeWilson, Laura Matthews, Ardith Walkem , and Nancy Smith.
“For this series, I sent out an email to friends and supporters asking them to send me portraiture session ideas that expressed how living in urban centres affects their Indigenous identity,” Kwandibens says. “The response was overwhelming. I started photographing portraits within days of sending the initial email. Concrete Indians is an ongoing open call series; none of the portraits in the series were my idea. I continue to receive emails from Indigenous people all over Canada and the United States, sending their ideas, wanting to be a part of the series. Many portraits are of people in full or partial traditional regalia at major recognizable intersections in their cities; others are portraits that convey unity and solidarity; all are assertions of the strength of Indigenous culture and identity through acts of resistance by reclaiming space.” photo ED 35
Kwandibens was also involved in documenting Idle No More events in Ottawa when the movement started in December 2012 and January 2013. “The Idle No More coverage was documentary photography at its most challenging for me, because it was the first time I’d ever photographed anything like it. I had to anticipate where the crowd was moving, when the best time was to run ahead, or when to climb a snowbank for a higher overall shot,” Kwandibens says. Along with a keen sense of awareness of what was happening and a prescience of what was ahead, Kwandibens also had to execute her shots quickly because the crowd was on the move and lens changes were a constant. Kwandibens’ commitment to Indigenous empowerment also extends to Aboriginal youth. In the workshops she gives across Canada, Kwandibens impresses upon youth that they should never be afraid to tell their own stories and share their perspectives. “Indigenous youth need to know they are valued, that their stories can ignite meaningful dialogue. They need to understand that they have much to offer to their own communities and society-at-large as they become our Nations’ future leaders,” Kwandibens says. While documentary photography is a mainstay for Kwandibens, her photographic portfolio also includes portraiture, events, and promotional work. Because music is such an essential part of Kwandibens’ life, she loves to shoot concert photography. “It is a real treat, creatively, because that is when I feel completely in my element,” she says. 36 photo ED
Left page, top: Laura “Stálhalamcen’ Grizzlypaws,” Kelowna, BC. March 2015. Bottom: “Jarret Leaman,” Toronto, ON. August 2012. Images this page. Top: “Tee Lyn Copenace”, Toronto, ON. March 2010. Bottom: “Jacob Pratt”, Saskatoon, SK. May 2010.
Kwandibens believes photographers who want to give back to society on a socio-political platform should research, understand, and fully commit to the amplification of the issue(s) that they want to highlight, which means bringing attention to the truth, however uncomfortable that process may be. Kwandibens’ upcoming project, part of her latest series emergence, will focus on the voices of Indigenous womyn and the LGBTQ2S community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, two-spirit) about the current issues that First Nations people face not only within their respective home territories, but across the country. “It will be a series of informal dialogues that I’ll photograph, along with a video team. I’m currently researching ways to create virtual reality video, plus using the audio dialogues for music remixes and/or soundscapes for the website component and future exhibitions. I will also be in training this year, learning how to edit film and video.” While Kwandibens’s past work is timeless in that it stands as a strong photographic statement from an Indigenous person’s perspective, we look forward to seeing her new work continue the conversation in a new way.
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TAM + KYT / PHOTO DUO BY CHRISTOPHER BLANCHETTE
FOR THE TORONTO-BASED photographers Jessy Kitchen and Tamara Léger, a.k.a. Tam + Kyt, working in unison is about more than just trading ideas. For this young duo, success in collaboration includes finding the maturity to compromise and learn from each other for the benefit of their unified brand.
Having an open mind for your partner’s ideas is important. So is accepting that timely arguments are conducive to each other’s growth as artists. Working as a team means understanding that you’ll occasionally be the one setting up studio lights while your partner rests on the floor of the studio. Well, it turns out that support is important too. “If you’re having a bad day and you have to shoot, you can lay on the floor and nap while the other person sets up the lights,” they laugh. “Which may have happened once.” While compromise is important for the duo, they excel at collaborating to solve creative and logistic challenges. “It started with us not really having any money,” they explain. High-end fashion photography involves clothing and accessories beyond their budget. For students having to deal with loans and debt, cash is especially hard to come by. So Tam + Kyt turned their collaborative efforts towards their own brand of fashion-centric portraiture instead.
“And then we just decided, ‘Hey, our subjects don’t need to be wearing Prada or anything. They can be wearing their own stuff to look cool. Something that actually says something about them,’” says Jessy. From then on, they adopted a style that is completely their own. Using simple lighting and colourful backdrops, Jessy and Tamara have a knack for finding what makes their subjects unique to create intriguing images. The authenticity their subjects project is endearing and reveals a level of comfort that Jessy and Tamara say stems from building relationships outside of their studio time. “I think it’s important that you let everyone hear themselves and hear everyone out because the reason why you chose to work with someone is because they are good at what they do,” they explain. On collaboration in general, the two say that working together has made them stronger photographers and they welcome collaboration whenever there’s a chance. “In our experiences, photography is really competitive and private. Most people don’t want to share their secrets and how they do things. But when you do share, you learn more, which is so important. Then your work is going to be of higher quality,” says Tamara.
See more of Tam + Kyt’s work: www.tamandkyt.com
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Alexis Marie Chute
The Quiet Rebuild BY ALEXIS MARIE CHUTE I HAVE BEEN AN ARTIST MY WHOLE LIFE, but it was only after a tragedy in my family that I discovered the deeper meaning I wished to share through my work. In 2010, my newborn son, whom we named Zachary, died in my arms from a cardiac tumour. That event has shaped who I have become as a woman, mother, artist, and photographer.
It took me a year after my loss to return to my creative work. That was the time my art and photography morphed into an outlet to understand my sorrow. Little did I know that early work would be the genesis of an ongoing series I call The Quiet Rebuild. The series includes paintings and wood sculpture, but the most compelling component is the photographs. By 2013 I had arrived at a place on my grief journey where I felt compelled to tell the stories of others. I was the Artist in Residence at Harcourt House Artist Run Centre when I put out a call for volunteers to participate in The Quiet Rebuild. The online call went something like
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this: “Have you been through a personal struggle and are rebuilding your life? I’m looking for volunteers to share their stories in conceptual portraits.” The response I received was tremendous. People from across North America reached out, marking the beginning of a unique collaborative process. Those who lived in (or could get to) one of the cities where I planned to shoot — Toronto, Edmonton, and Calgary — answered a questionnaire about their experience. They shared the life situation that had prompted them to contact me. There were those who had left abusive relationships, battled crippling physical or mental illness, or had lost someone they loved. In getting to know these individuals, we talked about the words and images that described them both in their lowest moments and on their roads to recovery. It was impossible not to be inspired by these people. I also felt humbled that they trusted me. I spent time reflecting on all that they had told me and I meditated on a way to conceptualize their stories into meaningful photographs. This was the stage of the collaboration where I asked them to trust me. When they arrived at my studio, we sat and talked. These conversations were not the kind between “photographer” and “subject,” but between people sharing stories with vulnerability. We created a mutual trust for the work we would do together, and set a tone. Tone is very important for me when capturing the messages behind these portraits. I can sum up that message in one word: resiliency. The resiliency of the human spirit is what I find captivating. It is the desire we have to move towards healing, happiness, and fulfillment. Resiliency is the inner drive to get up every day and put on your pants, one leg at a time; to eat, work, and live — no matter what struggles or hardships you have faced. Though I was completely heartbroken after my loss, I recognized the seed of resiliency in me. That was also what I observed in every volunteer model in The Quiet Rebuild. “Healing #14”, for example, features a Calgary-resident named Cassandra whose father passed away when she was 15 years old. Cassandra felt lost and struggled in school. Music is a big part of her life, which was something that connected her with her father. I just happened to have been given 88 keys from my friend’s old, rotting piano a month before meeting Cassandra. I knew they would be perfect for her image. Together we — Cassandra, her sister, my videographer (for the documentary on The Quiet Rebuild), and I — sat on the floor of the studio building a headpiece and other sculptural groupings of piano keys used as props. It was a collaboration between strangers with the goal to visually communicate a deeply personal, yet universal, story. We may have begun as strangers, but we ended up lifelong friends. The Quiet Rebuild is an ongoing project. If you would like to participate, please email Alexis Marie Chute. See more portraits from this series at: Opposite page, left image: “Healing #14” Right: “Healing #19”
This page, top: “Healing #10” Above: “Healing #5”
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Shares an image by local Vancouver photographer:
©Nicole Langdon-Davies / Beau Photo Film Department
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The PhotoEd GUIDE to Photography is a 128-page magazine-format learning and teaching resource. The GUIDE provides a quick start to basic tools & techniques, and ideas for new explorations.
get it online: www.photoed.ca
IVAN’S CAMERA FOTO SOURCE Shares an image by local New Brunswick photographer:
DANICA SHERRY Florence, portrait of a girl Danica Sherry is a self-taught fine art photographer. This image of her daughter, Florence, was inspired by the paintings of the Old Masters. The scene was set in her dining room, with the light of a late afternoon in January. Danica had a Rembrandt colour palette in mind, and her daughter’s costume was designed in reminiscence of the Italian Renaissance. Danica herself used scraps of used material, buttons, and beads to craft her daughter’s costume.
181 St. George Street. Moncton, NB, E1C 1V4 ph. 506. 857. 4018
Following lots of trial and error, this final image was taken with a 12-year-old digital camera and a 50mm F/1.8 lens. Processed in Photoshop, the painterly look was enhanced, and a slight texture was added to the naturally textured plaster walls.
PHOTO CREDIT: LI WEI YEN
GEORGE BROWN COLLEGE Centre for Arts, Design and Information Technology A PLACE TO CREATE If you’re a creative person and want to develop your talent and tap into your imagination, the George Brown College Centre for Arts, Design and Information Technology is the place to help you unlock your creative potential. Located in Toronto, the creative capital of Canada, the Centre exposes students to state-of-the-art facilities, well-connected professors and partnerships with industry leaders.
ART AND DESIGN FOUNDATION 1 year (2 semesters) Ontario College Certificate Develop a portfolio that demonstrates a mix of traditional and digital skills through courses in design, drawing, photography, digital media, colour theory, 3-d materials, storytelling and art history. The Art Showcase lecture series brings top creative talent into the classroom.
georgebrown.ca/ADIT @designGBC designgbc George Brown College
The Centre is home to Canada’s first YouTube creator space—one of only nine such spaces in the world—that offers training, networking and production opportunities to people who want to create content for the website’s audience of one billion users.
IMMERSE YOURSELF At the School of Design, George Brown College, you’ll not only learn design, you will live and breathe it. Here you’ll be immersed in the design community,
and expected to apply your natural skills to actual design projects. We will help you focus your imagination and perfect your talent for a successful career in design.
LIVE YOUR PASSION Whether you dream of a career behind the camera, in front of the camera, or creating worlds with words or visuals, the School of Media and Performing Arts, George Brown College, offers a diverse range of programs for you.
TRANSFORM YOUR FUTURE Our Foundation programs deliver transformative experiences where students explore new paths and create portfolios to help them take the next step in their creative careers. Courses prepare students for future study in the fields of art, design and media by teaching the skills necessary to succeed in our diploma and advanced diploma programs. Both Foundation programs include dedicated photography classes taught by industry professionals.
MEDIA FOUNDATION* 1 year (2 semesters) Ontario College Certificate This program emphasizes film, audio production, interactive media, visual storytelling, drawing, photography and image manipulation techniques to build a portfolio of digital work.
Arts Design &
PHOTO CREDIT: SABRINA RUSSO
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