PhotoED Magazine – WINTER 2021/ 2022 PRINT EDITION

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TYPOLOGIES

WINTER 2021/2022

FEATURING

STÉPHANE ALEXIS VERA SALTZMAN ARNAUD MAGGS ÉMILIE RÉGNIER & MORE!


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DEBBIE BRADY Debbie Brady is a Prince Edward Island–based photographer who specializes in macro photography of oysters shells to create abstract fine art. IG: @oyster_art www.oysterart.ca

IN THIS ISSUE... 9 BOOKS WE LOVE By Alan Bulley 10 HEATHER DOUGHTY’S INSPIRE: THE WOMEN’S PORTRAIT PROJECT 12 TANJA-TIZIANA’S BUZZING NEON LIGHTS 14 BART GAZZOLA DISCARDED 19 DISCOVERING SELF: VERA SALTZMAN By Peppa Martin 24 THIERRY DU BOIS PROJECT Y

26 S TÉPHANE ALEXIS’ CHAINS & CROWNS By Rita Godlevskis 31 ARNAUD MAGGS: A CAREER IN THREE ACTS By Anne Cibola 36 ÉMILIE RÉGNIER AND THE DEVOTEES OF LEOPARD PRINT By Laurence Butet-Roch 42 MORRIS LUM’S CHINATOWNS By Briar Chaput 46 LAUNDROMATS OF TORONTO By Ramtin Teymouri Ben Harvey 45 WALTER SEGERS STORY LINES


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EDITOR’S NOTE

GLORIOUS GRIDS! Photos by www.margaretmulligan.com

TYPOLOGY PROJECTS INVOLVE TIME, an unwavering dedication to a vision, and a rare devotion to photographic work. Part art practice and part document, typologies present collected information that gives viewers a new perspective on a detail of life that the photographer wants to draw our attention to.

“What is photography other than collecting?” — Hilla Becher

Working meticulously and with specific selfimposed rules, Hilla and Bernd Becher set the standard when they obsessively documented industrial structures for over 30 years. The German photo duo toiled and inadvertently created a new genre of photography that has inspired subsequent generations. It’s impossible to take a history of photography course that doesn’t mention them. Their work has had a significant impact on me and the artists in this edition, without a doubt. This issue presents the work of Canadian photographers who have taken on their own typology projects. From portraits, to shopping carts, to hair, to Chinatown architecture, to leopard print fabric, this issue celebrates their work and asks them to tell us more about why they have become obsessed with their subjects.

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Rita Godlevskis rita@photoed.ca

WINTER 2021 /22 ISSUE #63 ISSN 1708-282X

@photoedmagazine @photoedmagazine

Looking ahead, I’m really excited about our 2022 season. Not just because we’ll be sharing more Canadian photography stories (in print and online, and through virtual events), but also because we have the pleasure of hosting a year of guest issue curators! A first for photoED, thanks to a special grant from the Canada Council for the Arts. First up, on our Spring/Summer 2022 edition, is Djenabé who is already killing it planning ideas for her Fashion X Future issue. Get ready for some truly unique work. We just can’t wait to share it with you – soon!

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We’re honoured to share glimpses of these projects with you in this edition.

EDITOR/PUBLISHER

Rita Godlevskis /rita@photoed.ca

ART DIRECTOR

Ruth Alves Alan Bulley Laurence Butet-Roch Briar Chaput Anne Cibola Heather Doughty Bart Gazzola Peppa Martin Tanja-Tiziana

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

PhotoED Magazine is published 3x/year, SPRING, FALL, & WINTER See www.photoed.ca for subscription and advertising information. Publications Mail Agreement No. 40634032 PhotoED Magazine 2100 Bloor St. West, Suite 6218 Toronto, ON M6S 5A5

COPY EDITOR

This issue was made possible with the assistance of the Ontario Arts Council.

Deborah Cooper

COVER IMAGE : Our cover features Stéphane Alexis’

Chains & Crowns series. + FIND OUR DIGITAL REPLICA EDITIONS ON

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GET INSPIRED

TYPOLOGIES IN PRINT Beautiful Books to Behold BY ALAN BULLEY

JAMES WILSON: SOCIAL STUDIES

BERND & HILLA BECHER: BASIC FORMS

SASKATCHEWAN BOOK: PHOTOGRAPHS BY GEORGE WEBBER

Introduction by John Leroux Hardcover, 2020, 176 pages, $40.

Text by Thierry de Duve Hardcover, 2020, 160 pages, $47.

Text by Lorna Crozier Hardcover, 2020, 320 pages, $45.

Let’s admit it: we humans find faces endlessly fascinating. James Wilson’s portraits cover a wide cross-section of his New Brunswick neighbours, friends, and acquaintances. He poses his subjects against a plain background, often with a costume or prop to hint at their livelihood or to express their personality, from mechanics and farmers to lawyers and judges. The photographer’s approach is often reminiscent of the work of August Sander who attempted to create an objective photographic catalogue of German people in the early 20th century. In other words, a human and social typology.

Bernd and Hilla Becher’s photographic studies highlighted recurring patterns in industrial structures. The Bechers created each of their photographs with the same setup—large-format, black and white film, in flat light, the subject captured head-on and with vertical lines parallel. Their aim was to use the characteristics of photography to document “objectively,” studiously avoiding anything that could appear artistic or contrived. Their approach has influenced the work of major art photographers, including Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer, Thomas Ruff, and Thomas Struth.

These are not environmental portraits, so we pore over clothing and faces to gain insights about the people portrayed. We can’t, of course, but we can learn something about the way we read others. A thoroughly enjoyable book.

This new book is a good overview of the Bechers’ work, although printing some of the images on a single page would have helped the reader to get the full effect of their similarities and invite the “compare and contrast” exercise that a typology demands for full effect.

Intentionally or not, the photographs George Webber made of rural Saskatchewan over the course of 30 years form a landscape typology. Beautifully portrayed in colour, his eye returns again and again to familiar prairie themes that invite comparison: faded signs, buildings in need of TLC (or more), and details of abandoned items left to decay. Although the particulars may change from scene to scene, there is an unavoidable thread that runs through the book: the wideopen skies of the prairies might go on forever, but traces of human settlement fade. You would not guess from Saskatchewan Book that the province has cities or that its population is growing. Instead, with every frame, Webber evokes memories of a way of life in a countryside eclipsed by urban living. It is an affectionate lament for the past.

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“ During these trying times there is an even greater need to celebrate and uplift shining lights in our local communities.”

LEFT PAGE: Top: Otonabee -South Monaghan Volunteer Fire Department INSPIRE 2019 Middle: Jalen Brink INSPIRE Day of the Girl 2020 Bottom: Hannah Aytaoglu INSPIRE Day of the Girl 2019 RIGHT PAGE: Top: Valerie Yeo INSPIRE 2018 Middle: Hannah Goode INSPIRE Day of the Girl 2019 Bottom: Lindsay Elmhirst INSPIRE 2019

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HEATHER DOUGHTY’S

INSPIRE I BEGAN INSPIRE: The Women’s Portrait Project in 2018 as a way of celebrating and empowering women and non-binary individuals in my community. I wanted to focus my lens on amazing women in Canadian communities who empower, inspire, and uplift those around them.

To date, the project is a collection of 416 photographic portraits I’ve taken and texts featuring people who have been nominated by their family, friends, and community as being inspirational. The definition of inspiring is as diverse as the individuals nominated. I created a parallel project, INSPIRE: Day of the Girl, to share the stories of young women and nonbinary individuals under the age of 19. Both series are exhibited annually in Peterborough, Ontario, in the windows of the Venture North Building. Exhibits rotate on a quarterly basis, with Day of the Girl images launching each October to coincide with the United Nation’s International Day of the Girl Child. The exhibits include QR codes for viewers to access and read to learn the stories behind each portrait. I have always wanted to expand the INSPIRE project to include portraits taken of nominated people across Canada. Unfortunately, the COVID pandemic disrupted these plans. I also realized, however, that during these trying times there is an even greater need to celebrate and uplift shining lights in our local communities. My exhibition plans for 2022 are to focus on the theme of resilience in the face of domestic abuse. I created an online campaign called SheINSPIRESMe to encourage open participation for anyone to submit a photo of a woman, girl, non-binary individual who they feel is inspiring. Submissions from all over the world have been received, and the project has a life of its own online. It is a project of light, love, and happiness. Heather Doughty is a Peterborough-based visual storyteller focused on intimate weddings, boudoir, and other human connections. See more of Heather’s inspiring women: inspirethewomensportraitproject.com IG: @inspirewomens photo ED 11


TANJA-TIZIANA’S

BUZZING LIGHTS TORONTO PHOTOGRAPHER Tanja-Tiziana has spent the last 15 years travelling across North America, documenting the disappearing world of neon signs. The photographs make up her ever-growing Buzzing Lights Project, which hit coffee tables in 2016 as a photo book entitled Buzzing Lights: The Fading Neon Landscape of North America. Tanja’s obsession with signs started on the streets of Vancouver, where she went in search of the scenes she’d first laid eyes on in Fred Herzog’s legendary mid-century Kodachrome photos of the city. What she found instead, was a city that had forgotten that side of itself. One that seemed eager to erase it even. The incredible disappearing act of Vancouver’s signs lit a fire in her to document what was left, both at home and abroad. As the Buzzing Lights Project grew, so did awareness and cultural interest in the preservation of neon signs, leading to a growing push to preserve and restore. “It was amazing to see,” says Tanja. “Even out West where it seemed the most underappreciated, you now have careful restorations. You have the Museum of Vancouver showcasing the city’s incredible history as a neon capital in a permanent exhibit.” To commemorate the 5th anniversary of the book (and the lifting of months of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in Toronto), Tanja and her partner flew out to Vancouver at the end of August to visit the city that started it all and see how the signs were faring. From that visit emerged a glossy new zine featuring current photos alongside those from the 2000s. “Printing the photos is just as important as documenting the signs,” says Tanja. “Creating a permanent document of the work that travels, ages, and is held and shared by those who love it, creates the same tangible magic and shared experience that the signs offer when someone turns the corner and finds themself in that wonderful light.” You can follow Tanja’s travels via her instagram at @tanjatiziana or in print via her zines at Doublecrossed.ca

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BART GAZZ OL A

DIS CAR DED

The sight of an abandoned shopping cart isn’t unusual. Occasionally, if they’re spotted in curious locations, nowhere near a supermarket or found overturned, shopping carts infer a narrative that something dramatic has happened.

THIS DETAIL FOUND in landscapes and urban scenes has become the fixation of artist Bart Gazzola, curator Cree Amber Tylee, and a number of crowdsourced photographic contributors online, over a seven-year period.

Prior to the pandemic, Bart and Cree Amber had plans to show and experiment with exhibition installations around their local St. Catharines, Welland, and Niagara, Ontario, area, that focused on this simple subject: discarded shopping carts. They planned unique temporary installations that would consist of more than 8000 prints (images by Bart and an unknown number of random contributors that sent him their own photos of abandoned shopping carts). The works were to be displayed as 8×10 inch images, printed on office paper to reflect the concept of disposability. Each exhibition would be a single experience and the artwork would have no monetary value.

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Bart says, “Cree and I had a number of installation ideas. We had spoken of creating a long ‘wave’ of prints that would ‘flow’ off the gallery wall and onto the floor. Or present the prints in layers on the wall to be pulled off by visitors and collected in trash cans. Or just invite guests to use the installation as a social media–selfie backdrop. A number of these ideas were still percolating when COVID hit.” So, WHY? What is it about shopping carts? Cree Amber writes, “Viewing the extreme amount of images Bart has collected here forces us to view the state our community is in, and how we choose to deal with it — or not. In Discarded, we are also inevitably confronted with our immediate environmental surroundings within the Niagara region. Simultaneously, we take into consideration the current trend of communicating through images via social media. We question, what drives this constant desire to share images? Disposability, and the overwhelming confrontation of things that are left behind. Emotional frailty. How often are individuals discarded from social groups? Places of employment? Community belonging? Can a deeper social narrative be discerned from a barrage of mobile photo uploads? This act of collection and unexpected collaboration has the inherent capability to create a sense of community. An irony is produced in this, as these photographs act as a viewfinder, exposing an instance where objects (as metaphor for individuals) have been displaced.” For Bart, this theme has literally gotten under his skin. When Bart became immersed in this shopping cart collection work after moving back to the Niagara region after 20 years of living in Saskatoon, friends jokingly suggested he get a tattoo of a shopping cart. In days past, Bart was certain that he would never move back to Niagara, and he would never get a tattoo. Never say never.

Bart says, “It’s my first tattoo. During the first COVID lockdown, a tattooist friend was fundraising with a prize pack of $500 towards a tattoo. Two friends of mine bought a ticket to support the tattooist, but told me if they won, they’d give it to me, hinting I’d have to get that shopping cart tattoo now. Well, they did in fact win, and I now have a tattoo. Frankly, I actively resisted the ubiquitous proliferation of tattoos for the longest time, but this seemed to fit and was right, somehow, in terms of how things are now for me in Niagara. The carts are very much Niagara work, to me, and my life in many ways has a fracture. The carts are very different from any past work, and I didn’t even really think of them as art for the longest time. They were a way to negotiate a new place and feelings of being exiled or discarded from a place (Saskatoon) that I felt intensely betrayed and abandoned by. In many ways getting the tattoo is an extension of this work, and that it happened so organically — like the cart works — just happened. I never really intended for them to become what they are now, they were documentation of my return to a city I’d left over 20 years ago and a visual record of my mixed feelings of this place. There is a fracture between the artist or person or writer I was in Saskatoon and who I am here. It’s all about elements of change and how you find yourself someplace unexpected, taking odd photographs that appeal to people for reasons difficult to articulate, and then getting a tattoo about the whole thing. At different points over the last few years, I would think ‘enough was enough,’ but then I’d shoot some more that appealed to me, or someone would send me a great shot, and I realized it was going to continue for the foreseeable future.” Although not a traditional symbol of change, exile, or environmental damage, Bart’s interpretation of the symbolism behind this common object is original and captivating.

IG: @gazzolabart 16 photo ED

“ Disposability, and the overwhelming confrontation of things that are left behind. Emotional frailty. How often are individuals discarded from social groups? Places of employment? Community belonging? Can a deeper social narrative be discerned from a barrage of mobile photo uploads?”


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DISCOVERING SELF: THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF VERA SALTZMAN BY PEPPA MARTIN photo ED 19


FOR VERA SALTZMAN PHOTOGRAPHY HAD BEEN A PASSIVE INTEREST until a fateful, midlife decision upended her life, compelling her to chart an entirely new, unknown course.

Born and raised in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Vera left behind both the Maritimes and her comfortable career in human resources to relocate to Nunavut with her husband, a member of the RCMP. Finding herself emotionally and physically adrift on the barren edge of the continent, in the small, remote hamlet of Clyde River, Vera turned more seriously to photography to explore and define her new identity. Overlooking Baffin Bay, Clyde River has a population of roughly 1000, is accessible only by air or water, and as the crow flies is approximately 1300 kilometres from the western coast of Greenland. Winter temperatures can drop to -50°C, and there is no daylight from late November to mid-January. After two and a half years there, the couple moved to the relatively burgeoning town of Iqaluit to live and work for the

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next two years. Struggling to forge relationships in her new home, Vera used her camera to help to build a bridge with the local Inuit community, to make new friendships, and to establish a visual record of those personal exchanges. Vera’s aim was to develop her photography into deeper, less touristy narratives. With a rudimentary, first-generation digital camera, she set out to document her interactions with this unfamiliar community and, primarily, its elders. After their long stint in the North, Vera and her husband returned south in 2007, this time to Ottawa. She joined a local camera club and, through its activities, discovered the School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa (SPAO). A spark of interest ignited, and Vera plunged into full-time studies, completing the portfolio development program. Her work focused on issues of identity, as well as the development of themes revolving around sense of place, the passage of time, and the fragility of life. On the move again in 2012, the couple left for Saskatchewan — ultimately to the place where all her collected photographic


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experiences would converge and where, she describes, “everything clicked.” Living an hour from Regina, Vera often travelled through the vast, open, sparsely populated prairie. One ubiquitous sight was the totemic grain elevator found dotting the landscape. Just as lighthouses are associated with the Maritimes, Vera felt that grain elevators represented a cultural marker for the Canadian Prairies. With a photographer’s eye, she observed them like subjects of a portrait. One by one, with no particular map or plan, she began to document them. Over the course of several years, Vera built the Grain Elevator body of work into a considerable collection and, along the way, mastered the art of the typology. Shot with the detachment found in straight photography, devoid of any romanticized editorial style of deep blue skies and blazing sunsets, Vera’s desaturated images convey her own faint melancholy. Their solitude, mass, and simple shapes resonated with her sense of isolation.

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Vera admits this was a sad time in her life, yet photography provided an outlet for expression. Despite the loneliness, she says Saskatchewan has been very good to her in that she discovered an artistic style that spoke to, and from, her heart, and affirmed her photographic path. Also fortuitous by dint of location, SaskArts acquired the entire set of 18 pieces of her earlier series O Human Child. Vera’s photography inspiration is written on a small sticky note stuck to the wall above her crowded desk at home. It’s a quote from the late folk singer-songwriter John Prine: “I was trying to write something so sad; it was pretty.” Vera and her husband currently live in Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan. For how long, remains to be seen. www.verasaltzman.com IG: @vera.saltzman Vera is represented by Slate Gallery in Regina.


THEIR SOLITUDE, MASS, AND SIMPLE SHAPES RESONATED WITH HER SENSE OF ISOLATION.

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THIERRY DU BOIS:

PROJECT Y 24 photo ED


THIERRY DU BOIS is a Montreal-based photographer who has developed his artistic work in tandem with his commercial practice. In Project Y he explores the world around us and the choices we make as a metaphorical letter “Y”: a straight line that suddenly takes two paths. Thierry says he looks to “show a universal formal resemblance, and create links between seemingly opposed elements by presenting them in the same context.” He aims to push viewers to learn about his subject and to question the impact humans make on the natural world as we simultaneously appreciate it and destroy it.

In Project Y subjects all share the same form, the letter “Y.” Beginning with an image of the palm of a hand, Thierry shifts the structure of this series according to the mathematical power of two, a mathematic equation known as a geometric series, 1 + 2 + 4 + 8 + 16 + 126 + 256… The full series of 256 images captured over a 10-year period was originally presented in 2016 at Hôtel Le Germain in Montreal as a projection work accompanied by an audio recording of electromagnetic vibrations escaping the Earth’s atmosphere, which had been acquired from NASA. The ambient sounds look to include the “voice” of the Earth in the projected presentation of the images. www.thierrydubois.ca photo ED 25


STÉPHANE ALEXIS’

CHAINS & CROWNS It is clear, even at a quick glance, that Stéphane Alexis’ Chains & Crowns series is well worth a deep dive into the story behind these beautiful, precise, intentional images. Rest assured, the consideration behind this work does not disappoint.

BY RITA GODLEVSKIS 26 photo ED



STÉPHANE ALEXIS is an emerging artist based in Ottawa. His work stems from personal experiences and an aim of unveiling conversations previously overlooked by a mainstream media shadow. His mission is clear. He states, “I believe in making personal work that resonates with the communities I belong to.” His artist statement for Chains & Crowns references “bringing negativity and difficulties to the surface.” The multi-layered meaning behind his use of the term “difficulties” refers to a desire to represent Black history, and the experience of personally navigating Black hair. His series of images celebrates the labour that goes into Black hair, and is dedicated to his mother. He also works to honour the people in his life with this shared experience. Stéphane notes, “They say, ‘pressure makes diamonds.’ I believe when you are put in difficult circumstances you have to find creative ways to survive.” Stéphane’s focus on photographing hair supports his wish to start conversations about historic references, such as the meanings and symbols behind cornrows; contemporary issues such as appropriation; and the discrimination women of colour encounter from the beauty industry. The formal gallery presentation of the Chains & Crowns series is as a traditional series of framed prints; but, in an Instagram iteration Stéphane created, as a social media presentation of the work includes positive affirmations ,— or as he called them, “Afromations,” — accompanying the images. Each of the images was posted on Instagram along with a statement, such as “I am intrinsic. The world would not be the same without me. I am able to make positive changes in people’s lives with the help of the foundation my ancestors have laid…” or “I elevate. I can create opportunities for others and myself through my reposefulness, creativity and talents….” The photographer says, “I wanted to give people words that they could use to hold their head high and be proud of who they are, despite the circumstances. I’ve been trying to find ways to encourage the Black community. I figured social media would be an effective place to do that.” Stéphane finds the static nature of still photography and the practice of working in a typology-format creates a unique focus for viewers. He says, “The thing that I appreciate about photography is that it forces whoever’s viewing it to just look at what the photographer is presenting. There’s no distraction. There’s nothing

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moving within the frame. I think that that’s a good place for meditation and reflection, if you give yourself the opportunity to do that. Typologies give the viewer the opportunity to see the nuances in each piece. I like the idea of cohesion: I like when things feel like they belong together.” Stéphane cites Lorna Simpson, Keith Haring, and JeanMichel Basquiat as being his creative influences. He is always looking beyond the frame to understand artists’ intentions. When I asked him what he thinks makes a great photograph, his response mirrored and articulated my own ideas of what captivates me when reviewing photography: “Composition is huge. The lighting is huge. But, on a deeper level, I like to understand where an image is coming from. What was the artist thinking when they shot it? Was it by accident? Was it planned? I’m interested in their intention. I like seeing the work. I like looking at an image and understanding the work and hours that went into it.” Stéphane’s path towards a career in the creative industry began with a sensible degree in business. “I’ve always been a creative person. But I had a passion for business as well. The creative industry isn’t reliable. So, I decided to start with business and combine the two to create my career. I got my major in international business. When I had the opportunity to go to the School of Photographic Arts in Ottawa, I took it. I’ve always wanted to make art my career.” His advice to someone just starting out in photography is simple: “Work. Don’t stop. If you really have a passion for it. Make it personal to you. Of course, you can make work about things that you’re interested in, but I personally believe that the best work comes from something ingrained in who you are and what you’ve gone through. People can feel that through your images. Be honest with your work and putting yourself out there. And work hard. Taking images is one part of the game but there’s a lot of networking and proposals and all that stuff that goes into really thriving. When the work is good, push it. Just keep working.” What can we look forward to from Stéphane? A book, more exhibitions, and you guessed it, a lot more work. Stay tuned. See more: www.stephanealexis.com IG: @ stephane_alexis


“They say, ‘pressure makes diamonds.’ I believe when you are put in difficult circumstances you have to find creative ways to survive.”


Avoid a typology of regret. So you’re waiting until it’s absolutely safe to join a crowd indoors? Not sure how to reconnect with your interest in photography in the meantime? Why not take advantage of one of the Photographic Historical Society of Canada’s free Zoom events on Eventbrite? Conveniently regret-free and 100% COVID-free, it’s photo entertainment for the conscientious social distancer.

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Arnaud Maggs André Kertész, 144 Views 1980 Gelatin silver prints 87.0×80.0 cm © The Estate of Arnaud Maggs / courtesy Stephen Bulger Gallery Note: This work consists of four, 40.6×50.8 cm Gelatin silver contact prints that are cropped and mounted to mat board.

ARNAUD MAGGS: A CAREER IN THREE ACTS BY ANNE CIBOLA

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A

rnaud Maggs is a “two-headed medusa,” maintains curator Karyn Elizabeth Allen. Allen organized an exhibition of Maggs’ portraiture in 1984 for Nickle Arts Museum (now Nickle Galleries) in Calgary. In her catalogue essay, she spoke of the duality in his work between romantic associations with death and an analytical emphasis on structure. Though the exhibition took place in the 1980s, the observation holds true through to the end of Maggs’ art practice. Despite increasingly fluid boundaries between life and work, and art and design, and evershifting definitions of practice, I find I am personally well aware of the tensions between the fine and applied arts. I am a graphic designer and a professor in the photography and illustration departments at Sheridan College. In my varied roles as maker and

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educator, I feel—sometimes quite viscerally— the oppositions and overlaps between theory and practice, and art and commerce. My work intersects design, photography, and conceptual art, as did Maggs’. When I first learned of Maggs’ early career in commercial creative work, I was immediately interested in exploring how his experiences shaped his visual and conceptual language working as an artist. Maggs’ career unfolded in three acts. Marking the beginning of the first act in 1947, he worked as an apprentice at a commercial art studio in Montreal. He spent the next two decades working as a designer, illustrator, and art director in Toronto, with brief stints in New York, Santa Fe, and Milan. Maggs produced designs and illustrations for clients such as Imperial Oil, Roche Pharmaceuticals, Kraft, Pirelli, and Columbia Records.

ABOVE: Arnaud Maggs 48 Views 1981–83 Gelatin silver prints 40.6×50.8 cm (each) 411.5 ×944.9 cm (installation size) Installation view at Nickle Arts Museum, Calgary, 1984. © The Estate of Arnaud Maggs / courtesy Stephen Bulger Gallery

TOP RIGHT: Arnaud Maggs Ledoyen Series, Working Notes (detail) 1979 Gelatin silver contact print 40.3×40.3 cm © The Estate of Arnaud Maggs / courtesy Stephen Bulger Gallery


RIGHT: Arnaud Maggs Notification XIII 1996 192 Chromogenic prints, laminated to plexiglass 40.0×50.8 cm (each) 306.1×1319.9 cm (installation size) Installation view at the National Gallery of Canada/ Musée des beaux-arts du Canada, Ottawa, 2006. Photo by Laurence Cook © The Estate of Arnaud Maggs / courtesy Stephen Bulger Gallery

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Maggs shifted gears in 1966, turning his attention to commercial photography. For this second act, he began in fashion, creating images for magazines such as Maclean’s and Chatelaine. Ultimately though, he became known for his editorial portraiture. His commercial work demonstrates his creativity and hints at the flattening of the human form that would later define his artistic practice. His third act in the 1970s was with fine art. The severe, black and white, typological portraits he made for 64 Portrait Studies (1976–78) mark the beginning of his artistic career and define his practice through the early 1980s. His interest in systems of classification and thematic investigations of time, memory, and death remained consistent throughout his art career.

Arnaud Maggs After Nadar: Pierrot Turning 2012 Chromogenic prints 49.5 ×42.6 cm (each) 151.1 ×174.6 cm (installation size) © The Estate of Arnaud Maggs / courtesy Stephen Bulger Gallery

In the 1990s, Maggs turned his attention to exploring numbers and letterforms. He also began to document paper ephemera (death notice envelopes, books, paper tags), creating large-scale statements on time, memory, and death. The material he documented, complete with stains, creases, and tears—reminders of the human hands that once touched them—was arranged by type and in large grids resulting in powerful and affective works of remembrance. Repetition and scale amplified his evocative ideas. The seriality and use of the grid that characterizes Maggs’ artwork speaks to the influence of minimalist and conceptual artists. For instance, sketches reveal that his hanging schemes for Joseph Beuys, 100 Profile Views and Joseph Beuys, 100 Frontal Views (1980), were directly inspired by the floor sculptures of Carl Andre. Maggs’ use of the grid structure clearly aligns with the photographic typologies of German photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher, whose systematic approach to photography relied heavily on grid presentations. However, Maggs was first exposed to these visual, structural, and methodological strategies through practice in the commercial arts. “Everything I had done as a designer I put into the photographs right away,” Maggs told Robert Enright in 2012. And indeed, design and illustration, which involve formal and conceptual arrangement for the purpose of communication, fundamentally informed his artmaking. In 2012, Maggs completed his final works—After Nadar and After Nadar: Pierrot Turning. Featuring Maggs in costume as Pierrot, these large-scale self-portraits demonstrate photography’s capacity to represent the past, present, and future all at once. That same year Maggs was honoured with a survey exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada, and he won the Scotiabank Photography Award. The duality that Allen, others, and I have observed in Maggs’ artistic work functions as a dialogue between then and now, which I believe is particularly important today as we wrestle with our collective pasts and try to imagine our futures. 34 photo ED

Arnaud Maggs: Life & Work by Anne Cibola is a digital book published by Art Canada Institute launching in January 2022. Find it here: www.aci-iac.ca


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SECOND Émilie Régnier and the Devotees of Leopard Print BY LAURENCE BUTET-ROCH

WHAT DO A CONGOLESE TRIBAL CHIEF, A FRENCH-AMERICAN STAR, A MAN TATTOOED FROM HEAD TO TOE, AND A CABARET DANCER ALL HAVE IN COMMON? THEIR AFFINITY FOR WEARING LEOPARD PRINT LED EACH OF THEM TO ÉMILIE RÉGNIER. For two years between 2014 and 2016, the Haitian-Canadian artist Émilie Régnier travelled to Congo, Texas, France, Senegal, and elsewhere to meet people who proudly wear leopard print. Though these people have never met, the resulting photographic series demonstrates that they are connected by their love for the spotted feline. “Do they have a sense of belonging to the same tribe?” she openly wonders. “I’m not sure. This group developed out of my imagination and desire to explore cultural fusion.” The idea came to Émilie in 2014 while she was taking part in an artist residency in Paris’s Château Rouge neighbourhood, which some call “Little Africa” because of the large number of African expatriates who now call it home. One day, Émilie caught sight of a glorious red afro sported by local resident Wanda Lisette who suggested

Arielle Dombasle, Musee de la chasse et de la nature, Paris, France, 2016


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LEFT: Zanelle Domo et Philo Dlama, Durban, South Africa, 2015. RIGHT: Jean-Pierre Sacaze, Dakar, Senegal, 2015

that the two meet a couple of days later for a portrait session. Émilie obliged. Having lived in West and Central Africa, she noticed the tangled relationship between hairstyle and identity, particularly in Ivory Coast. There, women constantly upstage one another with original hairdos inspired by American superstars such as Rihanna and Beyoncé, styles that are then emulated by the pop singers. Wanda fit the mould. Yet, at the photo shoot, it was no longer the scarlet hairstyle that made the biggest impact on Émilie, but rather the leopard print boubou Wanda wore. “The image haunted me for several days,” remembers the photographer. The reason why became clear a few evenings later, when at a party in an affluent neighbourhood on the Left Bank, Émilie noticed that wealthy, blonde women were also drawn to the pattern, strutting in designs created by some of the most prestigious fashion houses in the world. That was the spark: the leopard print did not belong to any particular milieu. Yet, the more Émilie looked into it, the more she realized that with the breadth of uses came a variety of interpretations, which in turn spoke volumes about politics and history. “In Africa, this pelt is a symbol of power. It’s reserved for tribal chiefs or princes. It appeared in Europe at the beginning of colonization when it was first used to make winter accessories. Later, the motif was translated to fabric. Worn by women, it quickly 38 photo ED

acquired a sexual connotation given how the West perceived and characterized anything originating from the African continent. Prostitutes, pin-ups such as Betty Page, and twentieth-century Hollywood stars took to it in an effort to seduce. Eventually, in 1947, Dior honoured it by creating a leopard-print taffeta dress called ‘L’Africaine,’ part of the celebrated designer’s first haute couture collection after the Second World War. Since then, all the major fashion houses have adopted it. Cavalli has essentially built his career by continually reinventing and reinterpreting it,” explains the artist in one breath. Émilie often comes back to this sequence of events, especially because the focus is too often on the influence of the West on African trends and consumption habits. The opposite flux is ignored, often deliberately. It is clear from listening to Émilie share her findings and recount her encounters with leopardprint aficionados and seeing their portraits that the wild cat has devotees around the world. To find them, she used every method in the book: fixers in Congo, guides in South Africa, friends in New York, chance in Libreville, and Google Images for Larry, the tattoo artist in Texas. “I typed ‘leopard man,’” she recalls. “In his case, it is not an attire that he puts on in the morning; it is the skin he wears all the time. He sees himself as a man-animal and doesn’t want to fully be part of human society.”


LEFT: Julie, Kinshasa, Congo DRC, 2015. RIGHT: Chef Matadikibala, Kinshasa, Congo DRC, 2015

Much like him, all those that don the luxurious print have their unique reasons for doing so. Chief Matada Kibala understands the mythology associated with the animal in Congo. A leopard is considered more difficult to catch than a lion, and, consequently, is more valued, so he uses it to convey his status. Actor, singer, model, scriptwriter, and director Arielle Dombasle says she feels beautiful and alluring when she has it on. Émilie, who started wearing it to better understand its aura, does so when she needs to feel strong and in control. “Even if their attraction to the leopard print comes from different places, they all use it to express who they are,” she observes. The spotted motif is something that both unifies them and offers them a way to stand out.

only the tip of the iceberg, and yet it is how we have come to define ourselves and those around us.” Émilie’s efforts to answer her nagging childhood query took her down unanticipated paths, engaging with new mediums alongside photography.

Through this series, it became clear to Émilie that patterns, grids, repetitive motifs, and the like could be used “to create bridges between people that come from various ethnic, cultural, religious, and socio-economic groups,” as well as “to shape and organize the world in a way that makes sense to me.”

As she concluded Leopard, launching it at Paris Photo in 2016, Émilie pondered what could be the next pattern that she could call on to highlight our interconnectedness. DNA was the obvious answer, a way to map out how people are related to one another. As a point of departure, she looked to her own genealogy. Growing up with her mom, a white French-Canadian woman, in Montreal, she met her father, a Haitian man, when she was 18 years old. The desire to get a better sense of her ancestry not only prompted her to travel to the Caribbean country, but also to take a DNA test and reach out to about 1200 individuals who share a segment of it with her.

Since, she’s produced works that explore the possibilities this aesthetic approach affords for probing notions of belonging and our nature as human beings, alternating between planes, between what we outwardly exhibit, and what lies under our skin. “Even as a child, I wondered what it would be like to be able to go inside someone else’s body,” she confides. “Our appearance is really

Émilie readily admits that this endeavour is an attempt to construct the family album she never had. But, it’s also more than that. It’s an experiment in articulating a language that moves us beyond racial polarization. “As a person of mixed race, you portray the collision of two worlds. But you can also consolidate two distinct universes. I am white and black. I am Canadian and photo ED 39


Samuel Weidi aka General Mobutu, Kinshasa, Congo DRC, 2015

“ EVEN IF THEIR ATTRACTION TO THE LEOPARD PRINT COMES FROM DIFFERENT PLACES, THEY ALL USE IT TO EXPRESS WHO THEY ARE.”


LEFT: Larry, Texas, United States, 2015. RIGHT: Marie Beltramie, Paris, France, 2016

Haitian,” she writes. To shift our attention away from physical markers of difference, during an artist residency with the Place des Arts de Montréal, Émilie recently produced a tapestry of portraits of her paternal ancestors, covering their faces in pink, purple, and blue glitter. Turning them into brilliant abstractions, she asks, “Can we perceive others in ways that are not rooted in a language of colonization and slavery?” The move towards textile is not surprising. Émilie’s proclivity for motifs and patterns is reminiscent of the repetitions that you find on fabric. And, her desire to emphasize connectivity is suggestive of the work of sewing, threading disparate pieces together. Still, combining photography and textile is not Émilie’s only multimedia undertaking. Mending a broken heart and remembering the intimacy of listening to her ex-lover’s pulse, she collected recordings of 120 unique heartbeats in six different countries. She is currently working with a composer to combine them into a singular soundtrack. The outcome promises to embody the ideals of a polyphony, whereby different rhythms,

each retaining their own beat and melody, are joined together. Amidst the consonance and dissonance, a harmony emerges, one that we may desperately need after the losses linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. More broadly speaking, what Émilie begs us to consider by building our awareness of the unexpected connections between strangers, whether it be an obsession with leopard print, infinitesimal shared DNA, or even the mere fact that we all have a pulse that allows us to live and love, is to see all those that surround us as our kin, as a rich community that we are fortunate to be part of and beholden to. www.emilieregnier.com IG: @em.regnier

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MORRIS

“ Photographs have the ability to stop time. I think, for me, it’s important to create a new way of looking, through this stoppage of time.” 42 photo ED

’ LUM S

RIGHT: The Lingnan, Edmonton 2015 LEFT: Golden Happiness Plaza, Calgary 2015


CHINATOWNS BY BRIAR CHAPUT

BY TK

MORRIS LUM HAS spent the last decade documenting Chinatowns across North America. His bright and colourful photos articulate the feeling of “home away from home.” These cities within a city offer familiarity and security for many newly landed people. Cultural reminders, commercial activity, and food bring the old world and new generations together in these spaces. Inherently community-oriented and designed to offer places for gathering and celebration, Chinatown restaurants, malls, and community centres offer connection points for many. When asked why focusing on this subject was meaningful to him, Morris replied that he sees “Chinatown as a place where I find community.” Morris’ dedication not only to his work but to his culture is clear. photo ED 43


The Trinidadian-born, Toronto-based artist aims to showcase the deep cultural roots and traditions that are abundant in these spaces. Morris says he wants to “direct attention towards the functionality of Chinatowns to explore how identity is expressed in these enclaves.” Throughout his project, shot primarily on a 4×5 film camera, Morris has been able to learn a lot about the history of Chinese people in Canada and the United States. His work has been influenced by Jim Wong-Chu, a poet and photographer who documented Vancouver’s Chinatown in the 1960s and 1970s, with a visible reference to the stark architecture and humour of Lynn Cohen.

LEFT TOP: Ming Sun - Uchida Building, Vancouver 2014 LEFT BOTTOM: Gee How Oak Tin Association, Vancouver 2013 RIGHT: Gee How Oak Tin Association, Winnipeg 2013

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Although Morris’ images do not include people, stories are warmly suggested through details in each scene. Names on signage, scuffed floor tiles, worn-in chairs, each leads the viewer’s curiosity. Although many of the images are captured in locations on opposite sides of the continent, they evoke the same feelings of welcome. Morris has worked to show the continuity of these spaces — for example, many of his images include repeating traditional Chinese symbols, such as red lanterns — but he also revisits some Chinatowns in an effort to record the changes in these evolving spaces. Morris is still experimenting and developing ways of exhibiting his project, which at this stage consists of more than 150 images. He has exhibited selected pieces as prints and in large-scale installations, and he looks forward to publishing a book. www.morrislum.ca


TOP: Lao Tsu Mural, Vancouver 2013 BOTTOM: Jinli BBQ, Edmonton 2015

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LAUNDROMATS OF TORONTO

RAMTIN TEYMOURI +BEN HARVEY


Owing to their necessity, laundromats continued to remain open even during the strictest periods of the COVID-19 lockdowns. Photographers Ramtin Teymouri and Ben Harvey’s Laundromats of Toronto investigates the laundromat as a social space and a constant in the urban experience. This series looks to demonstrate the various ways in which these spaces of nessessity are themselves inscribed with the grit and grime of the city.

www.new-fi.net IG: thatbenharvey


WALTER SEGERS STORY LINES I travel quite a lot and inspiration for my work often arises from my curiosity around the interaction between humans, objects and locations. I am drawn to work that is layered, visually and conceptually, and is capable of communicating multiple stories simultaneously depending on the life experience of the viewer. The series Story Lines combines multiple images using repetition. I record a location as a background and through people accidentally performing in front of the camera. Their interruption disputes the idea that there is a sense of order in our lives, and that being in the same place with someone else does not mean connectivity. Walter Segers is a photo based artist living in Toronto. His works explore issues surrounding gender, sexuality, immigration, belonging, and identity through multiples, grids, and series. www.waltersegers.com TOP: ‘Hotel Des Belges (Paris)’ BOTTOM: ‘Long Street (Cape Town)’

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