In En Transition Spotlight: Guy Lafontaine

In/En Transition

March 1-31 2018  | Opening Reception March 2 | Artist talk March 3

In/En Transition presents an exchange of photography by exhibiting six Quebec artists in Toronto, and six Ontario artists in Montreal, reinforcing a sense of community between the two provinces.

Artists- Toronto- Connections Gallery
André DenisNathalie GarceauJudith BellavanceCaroline HayeurJean-Francois Leblanc, Guy Lafontaine

Ballroom.jpg

How has your process changed over your career as a photographer?

My process has evolved from basic film cameras to medium format to large format cameras. Then to digital cameras, from basic ones to a higher end one. Through all my years in photography, I got to know and use a broad range of cameras and equipment. But I always saw the equipment I use only as tools that allow to bring to life my vision.

Using solely digital cameras for several years now, I see the benefits of ease of use and the bonus of seeing my results instantly. In the film days, any new project had its financial burden, with digital cameras the costs for a new project have gone down and allow me to consider more projects as feasible.

Bio

I have been living and working in Montreal for the last 30 years. Working as a professional mechanical designer for all my whole career, I have an insider’s view of the industrial environments, equipments and un-common places on which I get to intervene, either as a mechanical designer or as a photographer for my personal documentary projects. My dual background allows me to create visually strong and well structured images that can have a meaningful informative side as well.

As a self-educated photographer/curator, I evolved through the various projects that I create, slowly building myself a strong artistic experience along the way. As the american photographer Walker Evans stated, I describe myself as “documentary style” photographer. Subjects that I worked on through the years are: several large manufacturing industries (either about to close and or being drastically transformed), a major paper mill in the closing process, an hotel/convention centre complex being demolished, the largest nuclear bunker in Canada between it’s active and it’s museum period, hydro power plants, downtown store front reflections and various urban landscapes of humble worker’s houses alongside industrial sites, highways, railroads and major power lines.

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Artist Spotlight: Lorraine Parow

Through a Lens: Our Female Gaze

February 1-February 28

Opening Reception February 8 | Artist Talks February 10

Through a Lens: Our Female Gaze presents six artists who are telling their stories through the photographic lens. Lisa Murzin, Shelagh Howard, Marlene Hilton Moore, Lorraine Parow, Janet Holmes and Lauren Young share a variety of work for this exhibition hailing from different backgrounds, generations and experiences.

 

Parow_Courage

Statement

“Letting The Girls Fly’ provokes an intimate invitation to explore the individual discoveries in each tiny documentary framed photograph. These tiny images are of posters, hand written by women and placed throughout the woods. They contain simple truths. They are small reminders to be delighted by, and heal through. They are intended to invoke memory, to empower and inspire inclusion. They are positive ‘flash cards’.

How has your photographic process been informed by your experiences

Two stages of major developmental influences inform my photo-based imagery, before college and since college (grad of 1980) Before college (1977) In my life I communed with nature from the beginning, partially because it was so fascinating, ever evolving and utterly captivating and magical. Creation fascinated me. Nature and natural light with it’s endless variations moved me.

As it would be discovered in my mid thirties. Throughout my life I’d suffered from an impairment of my vision, leaving me compensating and working hard to overcome everyday life in a very strained manner. I know now when I reflect upon those decades of difficulty I recognize in hind sight that in fact I knew to find a quiet refuge in nature from the beginning. I developed a profound work ethic to keep up with my eye impairment disadvantage. It would turn out that I learned exceptional discipline on the track team where by our school happen to have an Olympic track coach who would impart his wisdom in such a manner that to this day I continue with much of his methods to make a commitment to gain ‘my personal best’.

In my senior year in high school I was confronted with the decision to further my education with either track or photography. This would require and either/or decision as each advanced education institution would be in different ends of the province. I focused on photography. My education changed my life, it consists of a 3 year photographic arts program, a 3 year advanced digital photography program, a 2 year painting, sculpture, drawing, 3D design program. I admired the real image achieved in the analogue optical format that a camera provided. It gave me the real thing when my eyes could not exactly do so. I set out to create a career in the photographic community since 1980.

This stage two has transformed my sensitivity to colour as a custom cibachrome printer for decades, to light as a location photographer, to the arts an assistant photographic gallery curator and production manager, and to production as a shooter for fantastic clients and magazines and stock agencies. Plus I continued through out these decades fine tuning many bodies of photo-based art work. I was also printing, framing and showing annually in a variety of remarkably diverse and accessible venues.

I continue to have a passion to seek out, to find beauty in the everyday, to create a positive impact, to discover ways to share images and ultimately to stop the moment in someone’s everyday life to create a single pause, a resting moment. I want to interrupt a person’s routine to share a simple moment with an image I’d discovered. It is with the recovery of my eye impairment since the mid 90’s that I enthusiastically embrace the everyday with a renewed sense of this freedom. I just want to shoot, share and celebrate the possibility in the everyday.

Artist Spotlight: Lauren Young

Through a Lens: Our Female Gaze

February 1-February 28

Opening Reception February 8 | Artist Talks February 10

Through a Lens: Our Female Gaze presents six artists who are telling their stories through the photographic lens. Lisa Murzin, Shelagh Howard, Marlene Hilton Moore, Lorraine Parow, Janet Holmes and Lauren Young share a variety of work for this exhibition hailing from different backgrounds, generations and experiences.

Ruby1-©LaurenCHoward.jpg

Statement

I think the mark of a good image is if it tells a good story. When I look at these images, I see a story about the relationship between young girls. It’s about the things we go through, the people we love or hate, and the looks we give each other when something interesting happens. I wanted to capture these faces so that I could look back on them and see the differences between ourselves now and then. This project allows me to document such a prevalent time in the lives of the people closest to me as we go through such pivotal shared experiences.

How has your photographic process been informed by your experiences

I photograph the things I see in life, the moments I experience. My goal for every picture I take is to capture an intimate moment shared between me and the subject, this is why having some sort of relationship with the subject is quite important to me. I am constantly trying to have unique experiences with those whom I photograph. Being a teenage girl myself, it makes the most sense for me to take pictures of my closest friends as they go through the same things I am.

Artist Spotlight: Janet Holmes

Through a Lens: Our Female Gaze

February 1-February 28

Opening Reception February 8 | Artist Talks February 10

Through a Lens: Our Female Gaze presents six artists who are telling their stories through the photographic lens. Lisa Murzin, Shelagh Howard, Marlene Hilton Moore, Lorraine Parow, Janet Holmes and Lauren Young share a variety of work for this exhibition hailing from different backgrounds, generations and experiences.

JHolmes-05.jpg

Statement

I have always loved animals, but for many years I was afraid to get involved with animal rescue because I couldn’t imagine how I would deal with the heartbreak. A few years ago, I decided that animals needed me more than I needed to be comfortable, and I began volunteering for animal rescue groups as a photographer and caregiver.
In January 2017, during my volunteer shift at the Wild Bird Fund in New York City, I met a hen who was suffering from severe and chronic reproductive illness. I discovered that her ailments were common for chickens like her. As I learned more about chickens, I discovered a network of vegans (primarily women) who rescue and care for them. I thought about how so many women still struggle to control their own bodies and obtain adequate reproductive health care, and how people in turn are socialized to exploit hens’ reproductive systems. Even across species, it seems that society expects to dictate how females use their own bodies.
And so I began photographing these chickens and their rescuers to pay tribute both to the birds who have suffered so much and the women who invest so much love, time and money caring for them.

How has your photographic process been informed by your experiences

As I spent more time experiencing animals as individuals through the lens of my camera, I began questioning how I could profess to love them yet continue exploiting them for food, clothing and other materials. I committed to become vegan and use photography to advocate for animal liberation.

My values as a vegan influence the subjects I photograph, the materials I use, and how I make photographs. For example, I avoid as much as possible any materials (like gelatin in traditional film and certain papers) that are derived from animals. As part of my photographic process, I sit with my animal subjects, witnessing their existence and importance as individuals, not objects. I invite them to experience me through sight, smell, touch and taste – on their own terms and in their own time. When possible, I photograph them at eye level to emphasize the parity between (human) viewer and subject.

In this series of portraits, I’ve expanded the frame to include animals with their rescuers. My goals are to highlight the deep bond between chickens and their people, pay tribute both to the birds who have suffered so much and the people who have invested so much time, money, love and tears in rescuing and caring for the birds, and encourage viewers to see chickens as sensitive beings worthy of our respect and protection.

50% of the profits from sales of work in this series will be donated to The Microsanctuary Movement’s Hen Reproductive Health Care Fund (www.microsanctuarymovement.org) to help caregivers cover the cost of contraception and other reproductive health care services provided by veterinarians.

 

Artist Spotlight: Marlene Hilton Moore

Through a Lens: Our Female Gaze

February 1-February 28

Opening Reception February 8 | Artist Talks February 10

Through a Lens: Our Female Gaze presents six artists who are telling their stories through the photographic lens. Lisa Murzin, Shelagh Howard, Marlene Hilton Moore, Lorraine Parow, Janet Holmes and Lauren Young share a variety of work for this exhibition hailing from different backgrounds, generations and experiences.

Pixie's World Animation 1 Levels2_eml.jpg

Statement

I enjoy the collective within the world of women. In my photographs I see each woman
through my own eyes first and I orchestrate the scene to my version of them. Once the
scene is set I abandon to the joy of discovery as each woman reveals herself
unencumbered by my vision. Fleeting glances, pointed gaze, body language all reveal a
distinctive identity.

How has your photographic process been informed by your experiences

Two accidental elements in my initial photo shoot contributed to my photographic process – continuous motion and specific light. In this initial series, Pixie’s World, I instructed the woman to constantly move so that she would forget about the camera and be her natural self. I shot continuously and the result was full of narrative. I also discovered as a result of the movement that many of the blurred images were not discards but were mysterious and valuable. Each of my photo shoots now involves hundreds of images and these images provide a story-telling reality even within my mise en scène conceptual approach.
In this initial photo shoot also I used a single available light source that created a spotlight effect to unusual results. In subsequent shoots I used the light of the moment – natural daylight diffused through historic barn boards, brilliant sea light and blistering city and beach sun played their part.
I realized that reacting instinctively to the moment, the woman and the place was an asset, which became my mandate in all subsequent sessions.

Artist Spotlight: Shelagh Howard

Through a Lens: Our Female Gaze

February 1-February 28

Opening Reception February 8 | Artist Talks February 10

Through a Lens: Our Female Gaze presents six artists who are telling their stories through the photographic lens. Lisa Murzin, Shelagh Howard, Marlene Hilton Moore, Lorraine Parow, Janet Holmes and Lauren Young share a variety of work for this exhibition hailing from different backgrounds, generations and experiences.

ThreeGraces_1086©ShelaghHoward

Statement

When photographing the body rather than focusing on the face, the image for me
becomes much more about the essence of people, rather than about the individual being
photographed. The blurred motion shadows that follow and surround these figures evoke our ability to carry within us multitudes – often simultaneously, always over time. We can be with others but alone, or alone but connected. A single moment can embody rage, calm, love, uncertainty, passion, and fear, as well as memories of previous moments. A fleeting instant in a person’s life can arguably be documented by a portrait. It is the question of exploring the diversity of experience that we hold within us that this work examines.

How has your photographic process been informed by your experiences

We all move through the world in our bodies. They carry evidence of our genetics, as
well as the ways we choose to alter, adorn and present them. I have walked through the
world as a girl and then as a woman, and there is no question that this experience has
influenced the way I have been seen, as well as the way I have perceived myself. With
the #metoo movement gaining force all around us, the fact that being a woman carries
with it many vulnerabilities and disadvantages needs no introduction nor debate. The flip side of that is the powerful sisterhood that women possess, evidenced by the phenomenal support for the women’s marches we have seen in the past year, and also in the way we have cared for each other on a daily basis, throughout history. We are daughters, sisters, mothers, friends, mentors, partners. As communicators and nurturers, we touch, hold, listen and hear. We struggle, are joyous, hurt, and soothe, ourselves and each other. We are naked often literally, but also figuratively: raw, open and vulnerable with each other in a way will always fascinate me, and which I am driven to explore and to capture.

 

Artist Spotlight: Lisa Murzin

Through a Lens: Our Female Gaze

February 1-February 28

Opening Reception February 8 | Artist Talks February 10

Through a Lens: Our Female Gaze presents six artists who are telling their stories through the photographic lens. Lisa Murzin, Shelagh Howard, Marlene Hilton Moore, Lorraine Parrow, Janet Holmes and Lauren Young share a variety of work for this exhibition hailing from different backgrounds, generations and experiences.

LisaMurzin_Mark-September1993.jpg

Statement

For Mark, showering is a meditative experience; he claims “I do all my thinking in the shower”. When the opportunity arrives, I will watch him, enjoying his gestures of bathing and contemplation.  And I find in that experience a sense of beauty in the vulnerability and mystery of his thoughts.

How has your photographic process been informed by your experiences

Relationships ebb and flow on a solitary wave; I’ve been married to Mark for 25 years and continue to experience those moments when he’s alone with his thoughts.
As a visual artist, feeling these moments from my subjects, whether portraits of people or nature allows the peace for me to tune in to them. Sometimes, I will stay in observation and let the image go.