PhotoED MAGAZINE - WINTER 2019 - Risk Takers

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WINTER 2019/2020

CANADIAN CREATIVE RISK-TAKERS

LET’S GET WEIRD.


EDITOR’S NOTE

DARE TO BE WEIRD photo by: Ryan Parker

CREATIVE RISKS AND PUSHING UP EYEBROWS

“Photography is not about the thing photographed. It is about how that thing looks photographed.” — Garry Winogrand

PHOTOED E IS 10 0% MAGAZIN NADA! CA MADE IN U FO R Y K THAN O PPORT! YOUR SU

What isn’t obvious in a photograph, and the story behind it, can often change your mind about whether you like or hate an image. I love being surprised by photographs. In this issue, we’re sharing work by daring Canadian artists guaranteed to raise your eyebrows! Work that pushes boundaries, blurs lines, and tests our perceptions has the power to redirect conversations, and I think that’s really exciting! From artists that push their own physical boundaries such as Sage Szkabarnicki-Stuart, to those who bare their souls through social media such as Laurence Philomene, to those who experiment in weird and wonderful ways with the physicality of images such as Martine Marie-Anne Chartrand, Joseph R. Adam, and Nicholas Aiden, I’m enamoured by the resilience and tenacity of these visual artists. I hope you are inspired to take some creative risks after reading this issue.

This spring, in our next issue, we’re taking a more serious tone. Winter can be an especially hard time for a lot of people, and we’ve heard it from you dear readers, the practice of photography has saved and changed lives. Mental health is an issue that affects us all, directly or indirectly. The good news is that people are now talking about it. Or, making pictures where words fail. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and sign up for our e-newsletter to keep up!

Your Editor, Rita Godlevskis rita@photoed.ca

WWW.PHOTOED.CA

MAGAZINE

@photoedmagazine WINTER 2019/ 2020 ISSUE #57 ISSN 1708-282X

@PhotoEdCANADA @photoedmagazine

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

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

EDITOR/PUBLISHER

ART DIRECTOR

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Rita Godlevskis /rita@photoed.ca Ruth Alves Joshua Cameron Briar Chaput David Fulde Peppa Martin Allison Penko

COPY EDITOR

Deborah Cooper

EDITORIAL ASSISTANT

Joshua Cameron

DIGITAL CONTENT ASSISTANT

COVER IMAGE

Andrijana Jelinic ‘Urban Bath’ by Sage Szkabarnicki-Stuart. Sage photographed herself in Toronto’s High Park pond, 2018.


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JOSEPH R. ADAM BEHIND THE SHOT:

The Burn Collection is a series of photographs of Joseph’s own artwork set on fire. Find out why on

p. 30

IN THIS ISSUE 6 RESOURCES WE LOVE 9 HALEY EYRE: NEW AND BONKERS By Allison Penko 14 B EYOND THE SURFACE: WINDFIELDS MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING PROJECT By Briar Chaput 17 JUSTIN ATKINS + STEVEN RESTAGNO: MIRAGE 18 SHANNON FITZGERALD: A LITTLE BIT WEIRD By Joshua Cameron 20 NICHOLAS AIDEN: INTRODUCTIONS

22 SAGE SZKABARNICKI-STUART: PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG WOMAN By Peppa Martin 28 MARTINE MARIE-ANNE CHARTRAND: DRÔLE DE MÉNAGERIE 30 JOSEPH R. ADAM: BURN 32 LAURENCE PHILOMÈNE: IN LIVING COLOUR By David Fulde 39 THEODORA MITRAKOS: MYTHOS

40 READERS GALLERY


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FAKING DEATH by Penny Cousineau-Levine $29.95 Faking Death examines the work of more than 120 Canadian photographers, revealing important aspects of Canadian identity and imagination. It seems Canadian photographers exhibit an ambivalent preoccupation with death and dying, bondage, and entrapment. Cousineau-Levine argues that this is a “faked” death that expresses a collective Canadian wish for a symbolic passage to national maturity. Faking Death includes work by artists such as Raymonde April, Jeff Wall, Lynne Cohen, Charles Gagnon, Evergon, Michel Lambeth, Thaddeus Holownia, Geoffrey James, Genèvieve Cadieux, Shelley Niro, Diana Thorneycroft, Jin-me Yoon, Ian Wallace, and Ken Lum. www.chapters.indigo.ca photo ED 6


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“Poser Complex,” 2018. “This image describes my struggle with imposter syndrome. From afar, I feel I can pass but upon closer inspection I fear my fakeness is apparent.”

HALEY EYRE: NEW AND BONKERS BY ALLISON PENKO

BY PEPPA MARTIN photo ED 9


H

TOP RIGHT: “Would You Say That To Your Mother?,” 2018. From a series juxtaposing Mother Mary and things men have said to my friends and I.

aley Eyre is an emerging artist from Calgary with big dreams.

Haley’s signature style is bright, colourful, and comedic. Her subjects range from tackling social issues to personal struggles. A recent graduate of the Alberta University of the Arts (formerly ACAD), she chose to major in photography because she says, “I love being able to capture moments from reality and present them in beautiful or unique ways.”

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ABOVE: “I Don’t Want To Clean,” 2018. A series that explores the rejection of gender roles. RIGHT PAGE, TOP LEFT: “Alien Nation,” 2019. A fashion shoot about the feeling of alienation.

BOTTOM LEFT: “Inner Beauty: Jade,” 2017. A collage project in which I photographed people who felt ugly and transformed them into a blooming beings. BOTTOM RIGHT: “Colour Psychology Yellow,” 2019. From the Colour Psychology series.


“ SOMETIMES I GO FOR SUBTLETY. OTHER TIMES I LIKE TO BE BLUNT.”

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“ I LIKE TO MAKE ART THAT OBSCURES UNEASINESS WITHIN PLEASANT AESTHETICS.”

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LEFT PAGE, TOP: “Ladies Don’t Have Body Hair,” 2018. A feminist series where I explore the things society says women shouldn’t do. BOTTOM LEFT: “Fashion Cats,” 2018. From a series where I explore my cat allergies and the pain I experience, both physically and mentally, from them. BOTTOM RIGHT: “Sour Face, Angelina,” 2018. A fun and silly series where I feed unknowing but consenting participants a super sour candy to capture their expressions.

Haley wants her work to spark conversation and debate. She shares, “Sometimes I go for subtlety. Other times I like to be blunt. I like to make art that obscures uneasiness within pleasant aesthetics.” Haley’s feminist work, she says, is “about saying goodbye to toxic masculinity and about speaking out and standing up for what you believe in, in the hopes of creating a better future.” Personal experiences and current events inspire her: “I take inspiration from everything! From people I see walking down the street, to artists such as Sandy Skoglund, to random Instagram posts I come across, to my last trip to Value Village. I’m inspired by bright colours, crazy maximalist places, and people just doing anything new and bonkers.” Despite her severe allergy to cats, she admits, “I love cats to the point of obsession.” Haley’s series Fashion Cats features her and her beloved animals. The photos themselves are almost painful to view,

as she visibly struggles with her allergies in her selfportrait work. Haley is also the creator of an art and style magazine called UNABASHED, which started as a school project about local artists. Of the project, she states, “I wanted to start a magazine that challenges societal standards of beauty and promotes being true to one’s self.” Looking forward, Haley aspires to bring her bonkers ideas into the mainstream fashion and advertising industry. She says, “I want to help create a future where people don’t look at magazines and … hate how they look. Big goals, I know, but this girl dreams big.” Follow Haley’s work online at haleyeyrephotography.com and on IG: @haleyeyre_art

See the world in unexpected and undiscovered ways. Bachelor of Design, Photography

AUArts.ca Alberta University of the Arts proudly sponsors alum Haley Eyre at the PhotoED Magazine / Exposure Festival of Photography— Photo Inspiration Event in Calgary, February 2020. Haley Eyre, Detail, Ladies Don’t Sit Like That, Digital Photograph, 2018


BEYOND THE SURFACE Windfields Middle School students Community-Connected Experiential Learning Project BY BRIAR CHAPUT

THE EXHAUSTIVE VOLUME of digital images that surrounds us

daily rarely provides the opportunity for reflection or deeper consideration of a single frame. Meanwhile, printed images inspire reverence. Their now novel physicality holds our attention and even turns them into precious objects. Artist Jessica Thalmann’s work takes a unique and multipronged approach to this photography dichotomy and to how we think about images. In her own practice, Jessica’s work is easily identified though her signature style — a combination of photography and origami-esque physical manipulation techniques. Her work is guided by her philosophy that a photograph is just a piece of paper to destroy, rip, tear, and cut … even important historical images. In May of 2019, the Windfields Middle School grades 7 and 8 class and educator Miranda Blazey embarked on a collaborative exploration to rethink and go Beyond the Surface of photographs. Led by Jessica and facilitated by community partner PhotoED Magazine, this Toronto District School Board (TDSB) Community-Connected Experiential Learning Project coached students as they took their photography explorations through to an exceptional, professional-level public gallery exhibition. 14 photo ED

Jessica showed the students how to work with paper manipulation techniques: cutting, folding, ripping, and weaving. She also guided their attention to the importance and abundance of archival images. They were encouraged to explore collections of images from sources such as their own family photo albums, the NASA Space Archive, and the City of Toronto Archives. Jessica wanted them to engage with archives and artmaking in a new way. Rather than “thinking about the end product,” she wanted them to focus on material experiments and new conceptual creations. Initial anxiety from the students about creating something “perfect” melted away quickly. They became free to see where their ideas took them over the course of the workshop sessions. Words such as mistake, wrong, and ugly disappeared from their


“ JUST LIKE IN THE SKY ABOVE, ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT YOU CAN CREATE YOUR OWN STARS.”

LEFT PAGE, TOP LEFT: The exhibition team on opening night at United Contemporary Gallery. Rita Godlevskis, Miranda Blazey, and Jessica Thalmann with Windfields students. CENTRE: “Beyond the Street” by Kyla Sarvanandan. THIS PAGE, TOP RIGHT: “1000 Islands” by Deniz Yilman. FAR RIGHT: “A New Beginning” by Adam Bizios.

vocabularies as the students came to understand that although an action or result may not have been intended, it doesn’t mean that the work is ruined. Their perseverance for working towards a vision, and adaptability around unexpected creative challenges, are just some of the new skills they took away from the project and that they will carry into many other realms of study. From the class of 46 students, 17 works were selected by the project team ( Jessica Thalmann, Miranda Blazey, and PhotoED Magazine’s Rita Godlevskis) for a public showcase. The Beyond the Surface exhibition featured the students’ impressive creative manipulations and was hosted by United Contemporary Gallery in Toronto. Students, parents, and the public were invited to celebrate. Showcasing this work to the community-at-large instantly created a sense of pride, positioning the children not as successful students, but as fully realized artists presenting at a professional-level gallery exhibition. According to Miranda, the exhibition of this work “shows students that their artistic knowledge has the capacity to initiate and contribute to change in the public arena.” Although not every student’s final piece was exhibited, observations on the in-class process led to opening many doors for students to share personal stories and explore new modes of visual communication. Impressive and inspiring statements emerged from the students about their work.

Student Adam Bizios worked with NASA photographs of galaxies and related them to the concept of light versus dark, both literally and metaphorically. When asked why he chose to pursue this line of artistic inquisition, Adam says, “No matter how dark something can be, there is always a little light in the end.” Wanting to remind his peers of this, he created vents in a dark photo of space and added brightly coloured stars and galaxies behind them, a reference to “light hiding within.” Another young artist, Deniz Yilman, focused on the beauty of Ontario’s Thousand Islands. Her piece combined a scenic photo of the Islands with a cut out image of a small house, punctured by shapes physically cut into the sky. When asked about her intentions, she comments, “The sun is setting, but whoever said that stars cannot be out before the night is wrong. Just like in the sky above, always remember that you can create your own stars.” TDSB Community-Connected Experiential Learning Projects focus on partnerships and on extending student activities beyond the classroom. In this example, the team of educator, artist, and publisher facilitators, combined with the students’ ideas, clearly demonstrates the value of the arts in education, and in the wider community as a forum for new and unexpected dialogues that we can collectively learn from. As Miranda observes, “This project embraced the notion of cultural and individual plurality in making and receiving meaning through art and visual culture.” photo ED 15



LEFT: “Crystal Clear.” RIGHT: “Lover’s Lake.”

JUSTIN ATKINS + STEVEN RESTAGNO

MIRAGE

EMERGING ARTISTS DEEP DIVE PHOTOGRAPHY HAS THE BENEFIT of being a malleable medium in that it’s a tool with the capability of crossing its own traditional borders. Collaboration, for painter Steven Restagno and a photographer Justin Atkins, came naturally. The eye of a figurative painter and the gaze of photographer combined to explore visual ideas and compositions, and to examine the deeply personal emotional territory of beauty and love.

“Working together and photographing each other was ultimately about exploring vulnerability and trust. This was our first project together. This work merged our skills and aesthetic sensibilities, pulling from Justin’s practice as a photographer and Steven’s as figurative painter. Using mirrors and water, the goal was to place ourselves in an imaginary and transitional space, where the relationship between submersion and surfacing are ambiguous. The results are fluid, unfamiliar meditations on the body, vulnerability, and sexuality. “What initially sparked our personal relationship was a mutual interest in creating images. At the heart of our practice is a desire to experiment and step outside of our artistic comfort zones.” IG: @s.restagno @justinatkins.ca photo ED 17


TOP LEFT: Shannon reflects on her years as a synchronized swimmer. TOP RIGHT + BOTTOM LEFT: These two images 18 photo ED

are from Little Sax, the Ghost, a series of still life images based on the story of the unfortunate childhood and near death experiences of Adolphe Sax—the

man who invented the saxophone. BOTTOM RIGHT: An image from an exploration of the shapes and expressions of arms and hands.


SHANNON FITZGERALD: A LITTLE BIT WEIRD How do you make a photograph no one has seen before? BY JOSHUA CAMERON

SHANNON FITZGERALD works in photography to express her interests in visual storytelling and obscuring reality. Her images trick the eye in subtle ways and play with perception with a touch of the surreal. This vision is what led her to win the PhotoED Magazine/ InFocus Photo exhibition’s Emerging Artist Award in 2019.

Shannon Fitzgerald became interested in photography in the tenth grade when she was inspired by a pinhole camera project in her school’s scarcely used darkroom. A former competitive swimmer from Kitchener, Ontario, Shannon recently graduated from Sheridan College’s photography program. “For my final Sheridan photography project, a lot of the photos didn’t have a complete plan,” she says. “I wanted the photos to be a little bit weird and sort of spooky. I’m a big fan of Harry Potter and other fantasy works, so I started with some simple portraits and worked in some surrealism in post. “I aim to make photographs I haven’t seen before,” she shares. “So I tried to photograph things that looked normal, yet abnormal at the same time.” Inspired by the work of Brooke Shaden, René Magritte, and the reality-dodging

sequences of Duane Michals, Shannon wanted to make viewers slightly uncomfortable with her thesis project. Shannon keeps an extensive visual diary of things she likes, inspiration from other work, ideas, and anything else she comes across, which usually contains the basis of her experiments. “Sometimes ideas are way harder to put into practice, so I have to experiment as I go. I wanted to create a photograph like M.C. Escher’s staircases but with books, but it was nearly impossible, so I had to really simplify my idea. “I try to plan out an idea as much as I can, especially if I’m hoping to do a lot of Photoshop work afterwards, so I try to get every shot I might need. Then I explore and experiment until I’m somewhat satisfied with what I have. Sometimes I miss a few shots and have to go back,” she laughs. “But when I’m on a deadline, I just have to make do with what I’ve got.” Shannon’s advice to young photographers is simple: “There’s always just one more thing, one more edit, one more shot. Sometimes it’s okay to step away and let something be finished. I’m the kind of person that’ll spend all my time editing one photo, so I know the feeling well.” shannon-fitz.com photo ED 19


NICHOLAS AIDEN

INTRODUCTIONS INTRODUCTIONS IS A SERIES of images created in the darkroom through experimental processes. Each image uses the light of a cellphone to expose photographic paper to create a trace or impression of a digital message. This body of work observes social media platforms dedicated to users who identify as gay males. The intention of this project is to explore spaces of membership and the ways by which users introduce themselves through digital platforms.

Introductions is an abstract record of the queer body online through analog translations of text messages and exchanged pictures. This photographic abstraction process maintains the anonymity of the individuals from which the source material is derived, whilst rendering new images from performed creative interpretations. 20 photo ED

Images are formed by selecting messages and images received from the app GROWLr, read or received in the privacy of a darkroom. Each message or image in this project presents a received introduction. I created images using two methods. The first method involves reading a text message near photographic paper. The second method, for messages received with pictures, requires pressing the light of a mobile phone against the photographic paper to create an exposure onto the photographic paper. The digital realm can easily detach itself from the physical. The intangible nature of social media can feel completely unreal. This project dives into the sexual and overtly explicit personal media sharing that occurs alongside


“LINES (woof, grr),� colour darkroom prints, 2016.

repetitive and mundane conversational prompts. There is a unique distancing from the individual and the body in digital spaces. Social behaviours shift towards an acceptance of greeting practices that would never be normalized in the physical world. With this project, I labour to fix these interactions in time and place. I strive to translate online experiences into a physical form that does not turn off, turn on, log in, or log out.

borderline pornographic material, with an awareness of the humour of repetitious smut. These practices are not exclusive to the application used to create the work.

Introductions is an account of a digital reality with no username or password. As the artist, I perform these digital intimacies as physically as possible to create these images as a means of inviting conversation and arousing critique of these cyber-spaces.

I have shown this body of work publicly, and there is often an initial reaction of laughter and lightheartedness that is entirely welcomed. This element of humour that occurs at the moment when viewers decipher genitals in some images, breaks the ice between the artwork and the audience. Once the ice is broken and relationships are recognized as existing in such digital spaces, a larger conversation of what is deemed acceptable, or expected, in those spaces makes for rich examinations of the absurdity of sex online.

Introductions presses romance and objectivity against

www.nicholasaiden.ca/introductions

Introductions is an account of a digital reality with no username or password.

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“Nope,” 2018. Pontiac, QC.

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SAGE SZKABARNICKI-STUART:

PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG WOMAN BY PEPPA MARTIN photo ED 23


SAGE SZKABARNICKI-STUART DOES NOT PLAY IT SAFE. One look at her photographs confirms she is a woman undaunted. In the pursuit of defining her photographic voice, she attempts the difficult, the dangerous, the fanciful, and the outlandish with focused determination. Sage’s self-portrait tableaux resemble absurdist dramas. Questions about meaning, identity, and purpose germinate in her visual dialogue. There is a dreamlike quality to Sage’s work – part performance art, part calculated spontaneity. An underlying surrealist influence is clear in her distinctive style. Born in Toronto in 1995, Sage grew up in Ottawa. She earned a BFA in animation at Concordia in 2018, where she initially enrolled in drawing courses. Candidly admitting that drawing was frustrating and she “wasn’t very good at it,” Sage segued into photography. With no formal intention of developing a body of work, she created wildly offbeat images using herself as the subject and 24 photo ED

posted them to Instagram as diary entries. “I was trying to figure out who I was as a photographer, and no one else would pose for me,” she recalls. In an unexpected turn of events, her mother played a pivotal role in launching Sage into the world of fine art photography by submitting Sage’s images for exhibition at the 2018 Artist Project – Contemporary Art Fair in Toronto, within the “Untapped Emerging Artist” category. Sage produced “six or seven small prints, and they all sold. It was totally surprising!” Sage says she grapples with expressing her thoughts in words. She finds it “easier to speak through photography” — a propensity that underpins her artistic process. Sage begins a project by producing a scenario that interests her, then aims to “create one uncontrollable element to harness energy.” The images reflect a deeply personal documentation and interpretation of the chaos of life, as they often involve live, undomesticated animals.

ABOVE: “Urban Stream,” 2018. Toronto, ON. RIGHT: “Influencer,” 2019. Toronto ON.


THERE IS A DREAMLIKE QUALITY TO SAGE’S WORK, PART PERFORMANCE ART, PART CALCULATED SPONTANEITY. AN UNDERLYING SURREALIST INFLUENCE IS CLEAR IN HER DISTINCTIVE STYLE.



Sage points to the MTV show Jackass as the genesis for her stunt-based images. “Stunts are appealing to use in order to talk about themes, such as plastic pollution or emotions,” she says. Each image takes her roughly a month to execute. The work is painstaking, fraught with physical discomfort, is solitary, and meets with failure or suspicion time and again. Much of her time is spent observing, understanding, and connecting with the live animals in her scenes. It’s worth noting that her post-production and Photoshop work is minimal.

LEFT PAGE: “OK BYE!,” 2018. Toronto, ON. RIGHT PAGE: “Montreal Vista,” 2017. Montreal, QC. RIGHT: “Breakfast,” 2017. Montreal, QC.

In ‘Montreal Vista,’ raccoons cavort with her in the night, nipping at French baguettes she made into a garment. In ‘OK BYE!’ Sage is seen leaping from a high fence, in a nightgown, surrounded by toy airplanes. Afraid of heights, the whole undertaking terrified her, and yet, undeterred, she got the shot. In ‘Urban Stream,’ Sage photographed herself floating in a dirty Toronto stream strewn with discarded plastic shopping bags, wearing only scant Dollarama plastic bags she found at the site fashioned into a swimsuit. For ‘Urban Bath,’ she collected white plastic cutlery from a pond where swans swim to create a costume to pose with them. After spending weeks introducing herself to the

birds, and assessing the light at the scene, she had only a few minutes to get her shot with them while immersed in the freezing pond water, holding a breadstick under the water. Plastic waste has become an engrossing subject, finding its way into Sage’s psyche and imagemaking. In an interview with Life Framer, Sage explains, “Trash piling up everywhere can be harmful and scary but it also imbues a kind of magic-realism to natural landscapes. The interaction between nature and plastic is creating a whole new reality that no one has ever seen before.” Sage says, “A thousand years from now, archeological digs [of our era] will unearth plastic.” Fearing how people in the future will perceive our present civilization motivates her to visually articulate her urgent commentary. With some despair, she believes, “Garbage is a core identity, as much as culture and heritage.” Sage’s fearless approach to photography yields powerful contemporary narratives. In them, we witness her stark thoughts writ large and her feelings laid bare. Mathew Rosenblatt, cofounder of Toronto’s Distillery Restaurants Corporation has called her “a (mad) genius.” We would agree.

sage.myportfolio.com

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MARTINE MARIE-ANNE CHARTRAND

DRÔLE DE MÉNAGERIE MARTINE MARIE-ANNE CHARTRAND creates surreal images that contrast fact with fiction, and reality with the absurd.

Growing up in rural Aylmer, Quebec deeply influenced Martine Marie-Anne’s ideas and processes. Her connection to nature has forged strong convictions for environmental issues and invigorated her whimsical storytelling style. She describes her series Drôle de ménagerie as “visual cacophonies reflecting life in the 21st century.” She says, “my creative process explores the improvisation of collage. Pieces of images found in old magazines and books form larger ideas. The photos and illustrations I come upon suggest the direction of each work. The collage process is like a diary for me, where current events and personal daily life meet science, religion, and politics. Animals meld into humans, and contemporary life collides with nostalgia. There is no beginning, no end, and everything is in a state of constant flux. It’s a process of self-reflection, with a dash of fantasy.” Scissors, a camera, and a light table are Martine Marie-Anne’s only tools. No modifications using digital software [no Photoshop], just the joy of crafting her analog creations, including happy accidents along the way. She enjoys the transparency of the printed pieces she cuts out where unanticipated images bleed through backlit bases. Martine Marie-Anne notes that her collages are created without glue. This is a micro-step in the creation of her art through which she reduces her carbon footprint: a detail that contributes to her larger zerowaste journey.

LEFT PAGE: “Beautiful Florida,” 2018. THIS PAGE, TOP: “Triad” from the Taro series, 2019. THIS PAGE, BOTTOM: “Oblivious,” 2019.

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BURN

JOSEPH R. ADAM’S DRAMATIC DESTRUCTIONS

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“I CREATE TO DESTROY, TO CREATE ANEW. LIKE OUR CURIOSITY WHEN WE SEE A CAR WRECK OR A FEUDING RELATIONSHIP, WE ARE INNATELY DRAWN IN AS VIEWERS. THE BURN COLLECTION ATTEMPTS TO CAPTURE THAT WITH A PLAYFUL MISCHIEF THAT ERRS ON THE SIDE OF SINISTER.” WITH A BACKGROUND in theatre study, film production, and fashion photography, Joseph R. Adam came to fine art photography in his late thirties. The culmination of these disciplines informs his style and his attraction to the cinematic.

The Burn Collection is a series of photographs of Joseph’s own artwork set on fire. His subjects are his own artworks damaged in transport. He felt he couldn’t sell them but did not want them to be thrown away. “I knew I had to do something, and giving them what I thought of as a ‘warrior’s death’ (burning them) seemed the only answer.

LEFT PAGE: “Marina Burn.” ABOVE TOP LEFT: “Darling Avenue Burn.” TOP RIGHT: “The Scrap Burn.” BOTTOM LEFT: “The Falls with Garbage.” BOTTOM RIGHT: “Back to School.”

“‘Marina Burn’ was the first. I hadn’t a clue what I was doing and I didn’t know what to expect. I brought the piece and an easel to Lake Erie. It was frozen at the time and seemed a safe place to light a fire. I lit the piece and at first it seemed nothing was happening. Then it caught, quickly and violently. I took as many photos as I could. I laughed to myself, thinking I was insane for doing this, until I looked down at my camera and saw the images. I almost cried. I thought, ‘You’ve just made the image that you’ve been looking for for a long time.’” Joseph’s ideas are planned well in advance of their execution. He says, “For months before I begin working on something a feeling starts to develop. It’s not even an idea yet, just a pull towards an unknown thing. The excitement is addictive and when the feeling finally appears as an actual idea,

which is usually at the most inopportune time, the elation is indescribable. Then, bringing that thought to life with an image is the ultimate.” Joseph is now working on the Images on Things series, where he has projected photographs onto buildings to make a new photograph from that. He says, “It sounds juvenile, but the idea comes from reflecting on magical childhood memories. I hope the playfulness shines through in the work. “What makes photography so compelling for me is the idea that you can capture a moment of such absolute honesty, a truth of the purest form that exists; but that always, over time, becomes corrupted by the viewer’s interpretation.” The practical side of working as a fine art photographer is the biggest downside of photography for Joseph. “I’m horrible at selling. It’s a fear of mine, like others’ fear public speaking or clowns. But it’s something you just have to do; you have to get over yourself and just do it.” Joseph’s work, ideas, processes, and practicalities all reflect a constant alternating quest for balance. Through destruction, a rebirth; through reflection on the past, an action towards the future. This yinyang approach offers viewers the opportunity to simultaneously consider beauty in the wretched, and spontaneity within the planned. Follow Joseph R. Adam’s work: josephradam.com & IG: @josephradam photo ED 31


LAURENCE PHILOMÈNE:

IN LIVING COLOUR

BY DAVID FULDE

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LEFT PAGE: “Kiss (on being single),” Me vs others, 2018. RIGHT PAGE: “Self-portrait at red hills, Huldufólk, Iceland,” 2019.

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LEFT: “No girls no boys no nothin,” Non-binary portraits, 2017. BELOW: “Self portrait preparing my testosterone shot on the couch with my cat,” Puberty, 2019. RIGHT: “Sara and Laetitia as me,” Berlin, Me vs others, 2017.

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Laurence Philomène’s signature style captures bold colours, queer themes, and self-exploration to create stunning images that explore identity, gender, and existing outside of binary expectations. With an eye to amplify queer voices and stories, their work is always a visual delight. LAURENCE GREW UP in a small community in Montreal. As a teenager, without much to do, they turned to the Internet to seek connections and inspiration. What started as participation in an online community interested in Japanese Blythe dolls quickly became a greater photographic journey. Laurence photographed the big-headed, giant-eyed, colour-changing emotive dolls in a variety of fun situations and posted the photos to a group on Flickr. “It was a place where I could express myself and expand my horizons beyond my own little community in Montreal,” they share.

Where Laurence grew up, there was little to no association to the queer community and the identities within it. “Online, through platforms like Flickr, and later on Tumblr, I would gravitate towards people who were gender non-conforming ... but we didn’t use language to express those things.” Social media allowed Laurence the opportunity to connect with other queer, trans, and non-conforming people. “I wanted to find other people I could relate to.” After high school, Laurence went through a fouryear Cégep Dawson College commercial photography course that taught them the technical side of photography. But, as someone who was destined for the fine art world, Laurence had to unlearn a lot of what they learned to make their own way. As someone who grew up with the Internet, Laurence is fascinated by the different platforms that have risen and fallen over the years, and the differences among them. “The rise of social media sort of coincides with my various interests in photography… the idea that for the first time everyone is self-representing and how do we choose to do that.” When asked about what inspires them, Laurence attributes ADHD as helping them come up with a lot of ideas. To narrow down which ideas to actually spend time and effort on, they ask two questions: “What do I feel is missing in the cultural landscape?” and “What story is mine to tell?” Laurence describes their work as self-portraiture, although not in the most obvious sense, as they are not always in front of the lens. The work explores femininity and masculinity, either through selfidentity or more generally via examining the gender binary concept and everything that exists outside of it. 36 photo ED

Laurence’s approach to image-making deliberately includes spontaneity. “I like to just let life happen and let it surprise me. I never alter colours. I might bring a person in or go to a planned location, but I just let life happen and see what comes of it,” they say. Although their work is usually almost entirely naturally lit, they have started to incorporate more ambient lighting such as lamps or street lights into their images: especially for the Puberty project. “It’s an important part of my practice. My aim with this is a little bit documentary and anthropological, wanting to capture what’s actually there.” When prompted about their use of artificial light, Laurence states, “When you’re setting up lighting it’s more like painting, creating something from scratch… My practice is more like figuring out what’s there, figuring out what is most interesting to me in that moment. It’s like a puzzle.” For their Puberty series, Laurence took a daily selfportrait, docu-menting a year in their life on hormone replacement therapy and the realities of transitioning. Their aim with this project is to “create a dialogue where viewers can relate to trans existence and see that we are just humans going through life like everyone else.” Laurence’s work as a photographer is about 80 percent personal work and 20 percent commercial. Now commercially represented by Adolescent Content, Laurence recalls advice that they received that resonated, “Keep making personal work, no matter whether you’re getting paid work or not. In the end, that’s what is going to get you hired.” Excitingly, Éditions Lemaitre in Paris will soon be releasing Laurence’s Me Vs. Other, a book featuring a series of self-portraits in which other people are dressed up and act as Laurence. Laurence is a prolific content creator. Along with creating images for @laurencephilomene, their private instagram account provides an avenue for community discussion on another of Laurence’s passions: snack foods! When asked what snacks our readers should try, Laurence responded, “This is a philosophical question for me.” but narrowed down their answer to “Quebec snacks.” They recommend fresh cheese curds, Jos Louis (double-stacked), and hot chicken sandwiches. laurencephilomene.com IG: @laurencephilomene


RIGHT: “Esmee as me”, Me vs Others, 2018.

When asked for advice for our readers, Laurence was laserfocused on how to best help photographers to improve their work. • Shoot a lot • Shoot every day • Experiment • Don’t be afraid to try new things • Prioritize your photography; make time for it • Understand that not everything will be a masterpiece • Tell your own stories

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THEODORA MITRAKOS MYTHOS AS AN ARTIST, I thrive on creating works that allow me to explore beauty and storytelling. Growing up, I was fed a healthy diet of fairy tales and myths. Now, I find myself deeply inspired by artists like Bouguereau and Annie Stegg when creating my own work.

TOP: “Eurydice.” CENTRE: “Nekromanteion.” LEFT: “Hecate.” TOP RIGHT: “Clotho.”

Mythos is a series realizing Greek mythological characters. Using a combination of long-exposure and light painting techniques, coupled with digital painting and manipulation, Mythos was born. Regardless of the subject matter, my goal remains the same: to create works of art using modern technology and techniques, while referring to classic narratives. www.theodoramitrakos.com

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THE

GALLERY

SUBMISSIONS BY OUR READERS


BARBARA STRIGEL Vancouver, BC

“As a street photographer, I value the split second poetry the camera reveals in unguarded moments, and the sense of significance it confers on a human gesture. When I shoot, I look for the moment when a gesture suggests the person is at home in the space. I use architecture to convey scale, and to explore the surface of the city."

AT STREET LEVEL “In the shared space of cities, we walk purposefully forward into our modest lives. We pass each other at street level and are alone together. I’m interested in the psychology of these encounters and the sense of affirmation that we experience when we recognize ourselves in a stranger’s gesture. I use collage to alter spatial relationships and construct a context that gives weight to the ordinary. By emphasising the abstract qualities of the urban landscape, I move the particular closer to the universal.”


BARBARA STRIGEL Vancouver, BC

IN THE LEEWAY My husband Wolfgang and I came together later in life, having already learned some things about being married. We were matched up by an algorithm and would never have predicted we’d be as compatible as we are. This project consists of figure studies of us and a series of statements that describe how our differences in temperament have created tensions but also made us interesting to each other. The photographs, shot in silhouette and digitally collaged into architectural spaces suggest that it is possible to know someone very well and still find them mysterious. The collage process involves improvisation and the joining together of disparate elements into a unified whole. There is certainly a parallel to the way a marriage evolves over time. In the Leeway refers to the allowable margin, the space we give each other to be ourselves.

IG: @barbarastrigel www.barbarastrigel.com



CAROL

Vancouver, B

AUTO-INVA

“Human and in hand. Hum upsetting nat immemorial. human interf

I am fascinate presenting th bodies simult imaginary inv seem farfetc reality in the conceptual r


LINA DE LA CAJIGA

BC

VASION

invasive are terms that go hand mans, have been invading and ture and each other for time . Few systems, if any, have escaped ference.

ed by x-rays. I am interested in he inside and the outside of our taneously. My images present vasions on our bodies. Some may ched today but they could become future. My images are chimerical, representations."


GUN ROZE Toronto, ON

ACCIDENTAL URBAN PORTALS “I freely capture all that I am intuitively drawn to as a street-based photographer. I do not judge my subjects or subject matter. My point-and-shoot camera is with me at all times. I do not plan any of my street photo opportunities.”

IG: @gunroze shot-by-gun.com



GUN ROZE Toronto, ON

ACCIDENTAL URBAN PORTALS “I freely capture all that I am intuitively drawn to as a streetbased photographer. I do not judge my subjects or subject matter. My point-and-shoot camera is with me at all times. I do not plan any of my street photo opportunities.”

IG: @gunroze shot-by-gun.com



MANI SINGH Barrie, ON “Start where you stand and never back down.”

IG: @maniphotography91 maniphotography.ca



A dirty spoon becomes possibilities. a world of our own. A dirty glass becomes


A dirty coffee cup becomes a broken heart.

SARA HARLEY Bridgewater, NS “There are no limits to the possibilities of photography. I don’t have to travel to exotic places, or even leave my house, and I can create something totally unique. I can photograph something ridiculously inane and create an image that no one else would be able to produce. For instance, I am now thankful that my husband never loads the dishwasher, because dirty dishes turned into a photography project for me. An unwashed spoon with dirty rings was the first thing that caught my eye. I was intrigued by the rings. I took the photo, filed it on my computer and forgot about it for a while. One day I decided to open up the file and play with the image, it started to look a little other worldly to

me. Then it just needed something else to bring it to life. Delving into my photographic library, I decided to add a bunny. Why? you ask. Well, why not?”

IG: @ saraharley.photos saraharley.com



ALISON POSTMA Toronto, ON “A series of experiments in studio using one background over several days. Objects that were photographed are offcuts, mistakes, and remnants from projects both mine and others.�

@rumalow



NATE HUSKA London, ON “MONDAYS is about not wanting to work a stereotypical office job. It’s about not wanting to work 9-5, Monday-Friday. It terrifies me, and I just can’t and won’t do it."

IG: @whyromanticize


WENDY JIA Richmond, BC

“ I break the typical portrait format with surreal elements from other media to express my emotions.”

IG: @wendyjphotographycreative wendyjia.com



MAX KEENE Edmonton, AB “As part of a recent exhibition I produced a series of large format analog photographs of temporary sculptures. By making sculptures that appear slick and artificial, my intention was to use photography to make ambitious images that appear as neither real physical forms in an analog photograph nor as digital creation. Photography allows for a degree of deception which is very useful if you’re trying to create uncanny images."

IG: @maxhkeene



KAYLA DORMER Riverview, NB

RECLAIMED In Reclaimed, my subject matter is reclaimed vintage clothing. I shot the photos using film at a local vintage fashion show, thinking the classic look of film photography would really capture the essence of the clothing. When I first developed the images, I was disappointed with how blurry they had turned out. Months later, researching and testing a selective development process, I realized they would be a perfect fit for this method. The loose-handed, messy brushstrokes I used to develop these images capture what I was originally aiming for.�



OMAR AL-SAMADI Toronto, ON

CONNECTING TO SOURCE ‘Connecting To Source’ is a contemplative piece that invites the viewer to pause and reflect. When we are grounded and connected to ourselves, we are connected to Mother Earth and a deep sense of oneness. The double-exposure

technique is used to blur the lines between the subject and background so that all layers of the image work together to set the tone of the piece. We see the subject in a meditative state inviting the viewer to pause and observe on a deeper emotional level. IG: @abandonedaffair




BRIAN LAVERY Port Alberni, BC

Water colour washed, silver gelatin prints made from pinhole camera paper negatives.


AKSHAY PURI Toronto, ON “Creativity that I see in people and nature around me - sometimes its art, other times its craft.”

IG: @ akshaypuri86 FB: akshay.puri.581

A Minaret In Captivity (The Chandelier)

SandSown (The Beach)

As stunning as a chandelier appears in a photo, the beauty of this man made marvel can truly only be admired in person. This light feature is almost five floors high and probably five feet in diameter at its widest point.

“I fell in love with this beach as soon as I set foot on it. I experienced a sea wind as strong as this.

Hung in a corner of a popular restaurant in London, it is mostly ignored by hungry and rich patrons. I believe that is a reflection of the times that we live in today. We are surrounded by unending splendour, in people, places, relationships and belongings, but yet, we are guilty of being indifferent to these blessings.

It was almost impossible walk towards the shore witho forward, a discomforting sandy work-out.

I wanted a way to remember this beach with an image capture its spirit narrated in its symmetric sand patter nature at work, but it looked handcrafted. The pattern anything, yet echoed journeys."


I have never

out leaning

e that would rns. This was ns did not say


DOUG CAPLAN Langley, BC

HONG KONG BRUTAL COMPRESSIONS This portfolio explores the brutal nature of Hong Kong architecture from a street level point of view. Rather than showing his work in random arrangements, Doug prefers to present his art in thematic sequences. The flow of thought is an important element in his work as viewers move from one image to another. Each image is a single part of the whole sequence and work together to form a single thought.

www.douglasedwardcaplan.com





BLAIR GAGNE Windsor, ON “Photography is a passion and I use it as an outlet for creative expression. I am fortunate enough to the live in a city that has an arts-enriched community: with murals on every other street building, annual creative and theatrical events, and a pool of endless talent. I recently shot International model Natalia Bondy in downtown Windsor. She was a blast to work with and we exchanged ideas amongst one another like a dream. There was a point in this shoot where she posed against the wall and what unfolded was almost effortlessly executed. The painting of lips appeared like it was eating her; in turn I entitled the image: ‘Bite Me.’ At the time while I was looking through my camera lens, I could not identify where the art began and ended.”

IG: @myownmuzee

CHRISTINA Toronto, ON

MERGING SEEMIN

“This image represents prolonged period of tim deconstructing them. B ripping each photo to c whole new image. This

www.8x10.photograp


SHIVCHARAN

NGLY OPPOSITES

s a visual statement of how I felt when I was without my camera and darkroom for a me. This piece was constructed by combining two separate images, and methodically By dripping and spreading red tempera to purposely obscure the images, and carefully create a specific shape and texture, the two photographs were reassembled to produce a s merging of two opposites reflects the 26 years it has taken for me to feel whole again.�

phy


JOEL KRAHN Vancouver, BC

“I was asked by my church to create a series of images for the Christian season of Lent - a time of reflection and self-sacrifice in preparation for and in contrast to the joy and celebration of Easter. I used the metaphor of baptism to guide my images. Baptism is a symbol of dying to yourself so you may rise again renewed, also a strong theme of Lent and Easter. Rushing water conveys a sense of moving towards something greater.�

IG: @joelkrahn



TOP LEFT:

SANYA SAGAR Windsor, ON This is my lovely friend. We went on a walk and talked about life and death and everything in between. I like the light that filters through the leaves onto her face, just like life.

IG: @snapsbysanya


TOP LEFT: RECONCILIATION TOP RIGHT: X BOTTOM: DANCER

VALERIE P. NOFTLE Ottawa, ON With a focus on relationship-building through storytelling, Noftle’s artistic practice seeks to facilitate communication, preserve memory and increase understanding among different peoples by creating visual bridges across cultures. Weaving photographic images and video into her practice, Noftle’s artwork represents both theory and method and acts to illustrate how behavior or actions contribute to our collective understanding by addressing issues of race, identity and history. With a focus on visual storytelling, Noftle seeks to build community across cultures with an emphasis on lived experiences, giving voice to peoples who might otherwise remain voiceless.

enrichedbreadartists.com


RAINER WENZL Shediac, NB

“Blurring the lines between photography and painting, and historical and contemporary.” FB: gallerywenzl