Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Marie-Claude Leveille Desjardins Scholarship

Photo by Mathieu Brunet 
Desjardins has awarded a $5000 dollar scholarship to Marie-Claude Leveille a 2011 graduate from the Photography Program.  Above is a photo of Marie-Claude and Roger Leduc, president of the Caisse Populaire Val Caron inc. and Governor of the Fondation Desjardins of Ontario.

The scholarship also allowed Marie-Claude to show off her photographic skills as she got to photograph the Tulip Ball which Desjardins also sponsors, part of the Canadian Tulip Festival.

Thanks to Desjardins for such a generous donation and encouraging our students to follow their dreams.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Jamie Beck | Cinemagraphs

Photographer Jamie Beck has some very cool photographs called Cinemagraphs check out her site to see these amazing images.

She uses animated GIFs to create some very surreal images.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

2011 Alumni Images Posted

The 2011 Alumni images are posted on the Program website click here to take a look.

School of Media & Design Award Nominee 2011

Image © Brittany McElroy 2010 
It gives us great pleasure to announce that Brittany McElroy has been nominated for the School of Media and Design Award 2011.

This award is presented to a graduating student within the School of Media and Design who has demonstrated achievement in leadership in program-related activities, application of learning outcomes for the benefit of others and excellence in reaching the learning outcomes of the program and applying the knowledge to higher levels.

Congratulations to Brittany on the nomination, the winner of this award will be announced at the Graduation Ceremonies on Tuesday June 21, 2011.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bowie | Contact Correspondent

Professor Bowie got a chance to stop by some Contact shows over the weekend here are his impressions:

Although time was short, I had a quick walk through the Distillery District, and caught some of the Scotiabank Contact Festival.
Sheila Jonah, La Cloche Mountains, 2010  
My first stop was quite by chance, at the Proof Studio Gallery, where I met Photographer and Printer Sheila Jonah. On display are a collection of beautiful images by John Drajewicz, Natalie Drajewicz, and Sheila.

We had a long conversation about digital (and analogue) printing. We have had very similar experiences printing for clients, photographers, and the general public. They are printing on an Epson 9900 printer, which is the 44 inch version of our printers. I would love to have them visit our program when they are in town.
Andre Kertesz 
The second exhibit was at Jane Corkin Gallery, to see Andre Kertesz.

These works are only  from Toronto, between 1978 and 1984, when he was visiting Toronto, just before he died (1985). These are from the Corkin Gallery collection, and many have not been exhibited before.  Although some are personal photos, there are some classic Kertesz compositions, and it's interesting to see familiar surroundings through his lens.

For those of you with some time on your hands, try to get to Toronto this week or weekend, and catch some incredible photography, before the Contact show closes.
Ed Burtynsky, Alberta Oil Sands #6 
Just a note: if you want to see the Burtynsky show at the ROM, it is on the 4th floor, so you will have to pay the general admission of $20 to get in.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lynne Cohen Wins Scotiabank Photo Award

Corporate Office by Lynne Cohen 
Artist Lynne Cohen wins the inaugural Soctiabank Photography Award, the prize $50,000 a book deal with Steidl and a curated show at the 2012 Contact Festival.

Lynne Cohen is famous for her artistic interior architecture photos from her series  Occupied Territories.  Hopefully this will influence some of our students who never seem to be keen on shooting their Architecture Assignments.

Men's Club by Lynne Cohen 
#0070 by Lynne Cohen 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Camera Store - Battle At F-Stop Ridge

The staff at The Camera Store in Calgary Alberta have created this hilarious little clip for the true photo geek in all of us.

Even though you might not be in Calgary check out The Camera Store online.  For those darkroom, film and alternative process enthusiasts this store is definitely kicking it old school too.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Canadian Conservation Institute - Doors Open

Alumni, Advisory Committee Member, Researcher, Aerial Photographer and Author Carl Bigras (seriously take a look at his bio it is quite impressive) has let us know that the Canadian Conservation Institute, where he works, is participating in Doors Open Ottawa.  

For those that do not know what Doors Open Ottawa is click the previous link to find out.  In a nutshell you get to explore some of Ottawa's unique heritage buildings and find out what goes on inside.  

For those that like photography the Canadian Conservation Institute has some unique and very interesting photo gear.  The Doors Open Ottawa events runs two days Saturday June 4 and Sunday June 5 2011 check out the list for other buildings participating around Ottawa.  The Canadian Conservation Institute is only open on Saturday June 4.  

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Bowie Vote Tallied

The polls have closed and the vote is in the tradition will be kept alive.  Besides 3 disgruntled Elvis impersonators who voted no, because Bowie looked so good in that white jump suit, it was landslide victory 129 for the yes side.

So next year at the Exhibition keep a look out for Bowie because if the students raise extra money for the exhibition you never know who he will appear as (I personally hope it is Batman Bowie).

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Jen Allison | Contact Correspondent

In this instalment Contact Correspondent and Alumni Jen Allison takes in a public photo instillation:

Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art – “A Sign in the Northwest Passage” by Kevin Schmidt
Image by Jen Allison 
‘A Sign in the Northwest Passage’ is presented as a billboard on The Power Plant’s south façade. This sign documents the artist’s recent project in the Northwest Territories. As described in the Contact Festival guidebook:

“Aided by local guides and workers, the artist erected a large handcrafted cedar sign displaying an ominous text drawn from the Book of Revelations. Describing the decimation of the earth and humankind in vivid detail, it relays a warning that no one seems present to receive. This solitary sign–carrying an urgent message for the masses–references advertising culture and the city, yet is silenced by its surrounding barren landscape. Schmidt deliberately located this project on the ice above major oil reserves, where the potential for devastating exploitation is clearly implied. When the seasonal ice melted, this sign floated away to parts unknown, taking its cataclysmic message with it.”

Image by Jen Allison 
After I took my time to read the sign within the image and enjoy the immense print, I sat down and watched how people interacted with the image. It was interesting to see who actually stopped to read the sign. It seemed that those who walk the Harbourfront daily, during their lunch hour, noticed there was a change in the scenery, but didn’t stop to observe the installation. Although there was no indication that this installation was a part of the Contact Festival, it seemed that those who stopped to view the image, were either seeking out this image specifically or were visiting the harbourfront for the first time.

After a few minutes, I noticed a man on a platform drive over to the image. He proceeded to repair various areas on the installation where the paper and/or the plywood behind it were damaged.

Image by Jen Allison
 This installation existed behind groupings of small trees with the CN Tower hovering in the distance. This created an ironic backdrop for an apocalyptic message the artist created within the Canadian Arctic.

Presented in partnership with The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery
Curated By Gregory Burke & Jon Davies

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Jen Allison | Contact Correspondent

Alumni Jen Allison reviews Contact's Vancouver:

Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art – “Vancouver” by Fred Herzog
Image by Jen Allison 
Image by Jen Allison 
Fred Herzog immigrated to Canada from Germany in 1952 and began documenting the Vancouver cityscape a year later. Herzog was known to favour the working class neighbourhoods and downtown core. He produced a large body of work, which depicted Vancouver during the postwar era. During the spring of 2010 on a visit to Vancouver, I had the chance to view many of Herzog’s images at the Vancouver Art Gallery. He was so talented at capturing the feeling and heartbeat of Vancouver during the 1950’s and 1960’s. The bright and saturated colours, only obtainable from slide film, created a vibrant feeling of activity within the images.

Image by Jen Allison 
Image by Jen Allison
The room displaying Herzog’s work at MOCCA was dimly light which highlighted the beautifully framed images printed on glossy paper. The room was full of people wandering and sitting while taking in the sites of Vancouver. Herzog used the natural surroundings to emphasize his subjects meticulously. His work sometimes seems like a painting, reminiscent of Norman Rockwell. I am instantly drawn to any photographic works from the 1950-60’s in a documentary/street style, so I may have a slight bias towards the works of Herzog. The more I view his images, the more I wonder whether he had an influence on Canadian photographer Jeff Wall.

Organized by the National Gallery of Canada and the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Andrea Kunard and Bonnie Rubenstein 
Exhibition curators.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Jen Allison | Contact Correspondent

Alumni Jen Allison reviews Contact's Dynamic Landscapes:

Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art – “Dynamic Landscapes” by Vivane Sassen, Scarlett Hooft Graafland, Olga Chagaoutdinvoa, Dayanita Singh).

The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art has organized a unique exhibit of four international artists called Dynamic Landscapes. Contact Festival describes the exhibit as ‘the confluence of physical and psychological factors that inform our perception of the world we inhabit’. The images were photographed in Africa, Russia, India and Canada.

Image by Jen Allison 
Of the four photographers works, I was equally drawn to two, who couldn’t have photographed in more opposing locations.

First were the images from Vivane Sassen photographed in Africa. Her use of bold and highly saturated colours as well as highly contrasted light draws you into the image instantly. Her portraits depict a duality as to what the subject is revealing. The images were beautifully mounted and printed on a high gloss paper.

The second photographer I was equally drawn to was Scarlett Hooft Graafland, whose images were photographed in the cold village of Nunavut, Canada. Vast landscapes of white and blue with solitary subjects draw you into the image in a much different way than those of Sassen. Graaftand’s sense of humour is very apparent within her images, but equally stresses the seriousness of her concern for the environment and the damaging effects of human interference. The subjects are mainly humorous and whimsical, but the vast landscapes ground you and remind you of the reality of humans effects on the environment. The images were printed on a semi gloss paper and framed in a beautiful natural toned frame.
Image by Jen Allison 
The other two photographers at this exhibit were interesting and also from opposing areas of the world. Olga Chagaoutdinova’s photographs and videos are described as an ‘examination of how we construct personal and cultural identities. Interested in globalization after the fall of communism, she investigates how domesticity can be positioned as a microcosm of society. Themes of pain and suffering are evident thought the artist’s practice, alluding to her heritage and traditions within Russian art and literature’. Personally, Chagaoutdinova’s images were aesthetically pleasing, but I felt it difficult to piece together the intention of the theme.
Image by Jen Allison 
Dayanita Sing’s nocturnal images are a drastic contrast to those of Chagaoutdinova’s. Singhs images are described as ‘transforming the notcturnal city into a surreal world, where the familiar is concealed by the unknown’. The images were printed on a high gloss paper in a smaller frame, which brought you into the image. All the images were dark, which further emphasized the world of the nocturnal city Singh photographed. The techniques Singh used with artificial colours, steams of light and shadows created a dreamlike feel to the images.

Curated by Bonnie Rubenstein.

Alex Lukey | Alumni Update

Alumni Alex Lukey is having a show during Chinatown Remixed.  He is showing his amazing High Speed Liquid Photographs.

Alex Lukey's Show opens Sunday May 15, 2011 from 2PM-5PM and the Exhibition continues from May 15 - June 15, 2011.  The location is del Rosario Financial Services at 838 Somerset St. West, and as the card above says don't forget to knock to enter.

For those that do not know Chinatown Remixed is a month long celebration of art on Somerset St. West in Ottawa, there are art shows, walking tours, street festivals and great photography exhibitions.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Faculty Portrait 2011 | The Outtakes

Thanks to graduate Josh Reyes for sending us the 2011 Faculty Portrait outtakes, as you should never take yourself to seriously.  

For the Faculty shots by graduate Josh Reyes check out the Program website's Faculty Page.

Jen Allison | Contact Correspondent

Here is Alumni Jen Allison's review of Robert Longo's show at the Contact Festival:
Image by Jen Allison 
Robert LongoMen in Cities 

Robert Longo is an American painter and sculptor. Longo became famous in the 1980s for his "Men in the Cities" series, which depicted sharply dressed businessmen writhing in contorted emotion. As the Contact Festival guidebook describes; ‘Longo was influenced by images in the media and iconic films. These photographs were used as a source of material for Longo’s iconic pencil drawings, which showed the body on a white background, depicting the figure without ground. And now, three decades later, the photographs were printed and shown as artworks in their own right’.

Image by Jen Allison 
The choice of placing these larger than life images within the busy theatre district in Toronto was brilliant. You yourself become a viewer of the interaction between Longo’s models and other viewers. You could sit and watch people contort themselves to view the twisted models in Longo’s images all day.
Image by Jen Allison 
I have always been inspired by Longo’s ‘Men in Cities’ series as I am fascinated by the contortion and movement the models created for Longo. When I read that this series would be a public installation for the festival this year, I was overjoyed. The images are printed on canvas and stretched over a frame, which is then hung on another metal frame. The images line the south side of King Street and create a unique corridor for those walking by. The high contrast and bright blue skies of the prints draw you in and give you the sense that you are on the rooftop, throwing balls and stones at the models, to help influence the unique shapes these models created with their body while Longo photographed them.

More Contact reviews to come, so stay tuned!!

Jen Allison | Contact Correspondent

Alumni Jen Allison is our second Contact Correspondent and she has been busy going to many different Contact shows.  She was also lucky enough to interview photographer Ryan Szulc about his show 'An East Wind':

The month of May in Toronto means one thing, the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival. The theme for 2011 is Figure & Ground, focusing on our relationship to the environment.  The theme looks at how photographic images alter perception, inform knowledge, and uncover meaning. With the arrival of spring and thousands of photographs plastered around the city, this month is always an inspiring one.

I have been visiting venues over the past week and hope to visit many more. Some of the venues I have attended so far:

1. ‘An East Wind’ by Ryan Szulc at Sleeping Giant Gallery

2. ‘Dynamic Landscapes’ (Vivane Sassen, Scarlett Hooft Graafland, Olga Chagaoutdinvoa, Dayanita Singh) at MOCCA

3. ‘Vancouver’ by Fred Herzog at MOCCA

4. ‘Men at Work in Cities’ by Robert Longo public installation on the corner of King Street W and John Street.

5. ‘A Sign in the Northwest Passage’ by Kevin Schmidt public installation on the south facade of the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery.

Sleeping Giant Gallery – 'An East Wind' by Ryan Szulc

An East Wind is a collection of Szulc’s landscape photographs from 2005 to 2010. The landscapes range from Ireland to Death Valley and various locations throughout Canada.  Upon viewing the images there is a sense of something reminiscent, or nostalgic, as though you have been to the very location Szulc was with his camera.  The majority of Szulc’s images have a vast sense of space with one solitary subject the viewer is drawn to. Throughout all the images the Szulc style is consistent; moodiness, mystery, simplicity, solitude and a sense of peacefulness.

Image © Matt Beouf Gibson
I had the privilege to ask Ryan Szulc some questions in regards to ‘An East Wind’ and his perspective on photography.  

Q. What photographers, if any, have you been inspired by or are feel your style in 'An East Wind' most depicts?

A. I'd say the main two inspiration points, in terms of photographers, would be Bill Brandt & Sally Mann

Q. Did you consciously photograph the images in your "blue period",  "sepia period", etc, for those specific styles and/or effects? Or did you realize this afterwards?

A. They all come through afterwards.  I try not to think about anything outside of the immediate moment/feeling while shooting

Q. Were all of your images shot with film? If so, details please. If not, were some digital, some film?

A. I'd say about 75% of the show is shot film.  I've shot this stuff with all forms of films, 35mm, 2 & 1/4 (medium format) and 4x5 film.
The digital ones were shot on my canon.

Q. Can you briefly explain the process used to display your images with resin, and why you chose resin for your final prints?

A. The process quite intricate and time consuming, but totally worth it when it works out.  I decided to go with the resin because of what it does to the darker tones.  It brings a certain luminous quality to the shadows that I think really complements my photos.

Q. Which image, from ‘An East Wind’, are you most drawn to?

A. I really do love all of the images in the show, but I’d have to say I'm most drawn to the images that have a certain amount of mystery and darkness to them.  In my work, often the most successful images are the ones the follow the simple rule of 'less is more'.  The less you stuff you have in the photos the more room there is for the imagination to play.

Image © Matt Beouf Gibson
Q. What's in the works for the next gallery show?

A. I have a large body of personal work from the past 6 years, so I'd like to continue to show this work and see how it grows naturally.  I think eventually there will be a merging of my landscape work with my work containing people/characters. But, like I said, I want to kind of let things develop naturally

Q. What advice would you give to young photographers and/or those just entering the industry?

A. I would say one of the most important things you need to do as a young or new photographer in the industry is make time to develop and nurture your personal work.  I can't stress this enough, it really is the soul of the creative person. Without some kind of personal work to challenge you creatively, I think it's very easy to burn out.

Thanks to Jen Allison for this amazing interview and thanks to Matt Beouf Gibson for letting us use his photos from the opening night of the show.

We would also like to thanks Ryan Szulc for taking two of our students for co-op this year, both students had an amazing time.

Check out Jen Allison's work at her website, she is doing a very cool new series on shoes check out her things portfolio page.

More Contact show reviews are coming soon so stay tuned.

Maia Lepage | Alumni Update

Alumni Maia Lepage has recently left Tusaayaksat Magazine and is currently doing freelance work for the Canadian Press and the National Post.

Most recently she has been doing work up north for the Smithsonian Institute and National Geographic.  She has also been volunteer her photographic services for the Northwest Territory anti-drug campaign Not Us.

Sri Utami | Alumni Update

Image By Sri Utami - Applied Arts Website 
Congratulations to alumni Sri Utami who has won an Applied Arts Award for her Portrait Photography Series, Faces Of Afghan Children

To see more stunning images from Sri Utami check out her website.  

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Dylan Leeder - Contact Correspondent

The Contact Photography Festival is going on in Toronto and usually at least one of the faculty members makes it down to see some of the shows.  Unfortunately, this year we are unable to attend so we asked a few of our Alumni in Toronto to give us their impressions of the Contact Festival shows.

Alumni Dylan Leeder is one of our Contact Correspondents here is his impressions of some of the Contact shows in Toronto's historic Distillery District:

As many of you may know Toronto hosts the annual Contact Photography Festival every month of May. During Contact over 200 different venues hosts photographers work from Toronto and all over the world.  For any photographer this is a must attend event. During the month the whole city is buzzing with a passion for photography - you can easily spend a whole day hopping gallery-to-gallery getting inspired by different styles of photography or even attend workshops by world famous photographers to learn their secrets.  Basically… Contact has the power to inspire any photographer.

My first trip out I spent an afternoon walking around The Distillery District. In just 3 hours I was able to check out 12 different showings and heres what I thought…

 Cabinet Gallery - Image By Dylan Leeder 
Cabinet Gallery – “Afterimage” by Jeffrey Berman
Described by the artist as an “exploration of the stories shadows tell”. All images were of shadows - an every day subject we may take for granted. With shooting shadows comes the obvious use of contrast and I found the artist realized this producing a series of high contrasted images. An interesting showing having been displayed in a furniture store – so you could also buy a 4200$ table while you were there.

Arta Gallery – “Land Escapes” by Laura Carnie, Bob Carnie, Mark Freedman, Dennis Lalonde

Laura Carnie - “Dream Escapes”
A collection of photos taken with infrared film over a period of twenty years. The images expressed a look of genuine innocence through life, community and other rural areas. I found the use of B&W film with a high grain really helped to express the sense of nostalgia.

Bob Carnie – “Heavy Metal”
A photo-series based strictly around metal objects - all developed “through a solarization process in a wet darkroom with heavy handed manipulation”. I found the darkroom techniques were well used to bring unison between a potentially mundane subject matter.

Mark Freedman – “Landescapes”
Described by the artist as “environmental portraits that highlight the intimate interplay between creature and habitat”. I found the images to be some of the most compelling of my trip that day. The animal portraits were intimate to the point that it seemed as though they were posing and the landscapes were extremely strong through impressive use of composition. An overall powerful documentation of life in the arctic.

Denis Lalonde – “Autogalaxies”
This series was extremely rich in texture – the images made me wonder what they were of and in most cases I came to the conclusion that they were macro shots of either metals or liquids. Initially I found myself taking the photos very literally wondering what the texture was but then I began comparing the images to the landscapes of space.

Archeo - Image by Dylan Leeder 
Archeo – Grand Bruit, Newfoundland by Johan Hallberg-Campbell
An interesting showing as it was laid out in a beautiful restaurant. The images were all taken from Newfoundland and depicted some of the classic images of colorful waterfront towns but what stood out to me was an image of a deck of cards. The artist was able to produce images that went out of the stereotypical Newfoundland scenes but still fit in perfectly with the series.

Boiler House - Image by Dylan Leeder 
Boiler House – Place To Call Home by Jesse Louttit
Another showing inside a grand, classy bar. I found the images struck a sort of nostalgic feeling with photos of tree houses, clothes lines, and fields. I found the images were brought together nicely through the constant use of greens throughout. My favourites of this series were two identical images of a fence in front of a big bush but one was taken during winter and one during summer.

Corkin Gallery – Andre Kertesz in Toronto
Photographs by a now deceased master photographer the series are images taken strictly from his visits to Toronto. The showing was of many images that were no larger than 8x10s. Although a lot of the images seemed to be a “behind the scenes” of the photographers life I became particularly intrigued by a few of a ballerina on a hardwood floor. I found this showing was more to bring light to the artist himself rather than the work he was showing.

Corkin Gallery – Wolfgang Keuchl
An interesting series derived of strictly Polaroid’s. I found what made the series interesting was the medium in which he was so confident in. The images of every day objects became masterpieces based on the respect he had for Polaroid’s. My particular favorites were images built of 9 different Polaroid’s of one object – making the perspective skewed. You can also get a blown up print of a Polaroid for only $22,000!

Proof Gallery - Image by Dylan Leeder 
Proof Gallery – F&G by John Drajewicz, Natalie Drajewicz, Sheila Jonah
The images were primarily of doors and windows taken in different cities around the world. The photos were all with very rich, warm colors. Taken by three different photographers I found it impressive how they maintained a unison between each photo even though they were all seen through different eyes.

Balzac's Coffee House - Image by Dylan Leeder 
Balzac's Coffee HouseWander by Maihyet Burton and Marjolyn Van der Hart
An interesting series that were all done through the use of mixed media (prints and paper mache). The images were of a similar theme of people in water. Although the prints were clearly relied on post-production and mixed media I found it would not have been nearly as intriguing without.

Pikto Gallery - Image by Dylan Leeder 
Pikto Gallery – Urban Shadows by Carlos Cazalis
Definitely my favourite showing from my day in the Distillery District. Carlos Cazalis images were right up my alley as they were all moody, dark images from around the world. Through the use of shadow and contrast the images provided a wonderfully dark mood that makes the viewer curious of the relation between the subject and their surroundings.

Pikto - Image by Dylan Leeder 
Pikto also decided to put half of his showings outside on the walls of the distillery district. At first, because of my appreciation of prints, I thought that this was a bad idea but after discussing it with Pikto’s owner, Andre, he explained that they’re printed on a biodegradable vinyl that does not damage to liquid and is environmentally friendly. Under the image they also included the line “Can you tell us which city?” with a #piktocontact hashtag – Andre explained that this was to get people thinking further into the image while also encouraging viewers to get involved with the Contact festival through twitter.

We would like to thank Dylan for taking the time to write up his thoughts on these Contact shows and for the awesome pics.

Take a look at some of Dylan's great work online: flickr, web and blog.