Newsletter #185: October, 2020
© Chris Harris. All rights reserved.
A few days ago, I received my monthly National Gallery of Canada (NGC) Newsletter, and became aware of a painting exhibition titled “Canada and Impressionism: New Horizons” which is presently on tour in Germany and France.
When we discuss Impressionism today, most think of French Impressionist painters such as Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Manet, and Degas. A small group of these painters held the First Impressionist Exhibition in Paris in 1874, and it was considered a complete failure. Most of the newspaper art critics were hostile in their reviews, and most of the 3500 attendees came only to sneer and scoff at the paintings.
By 1881, seven Impressionist Exhibitions had been held, yet social acceptance moved at a snail’s pace. Many painters abandoned the new style while a few others pushed on with confidence and tenacity. The result; a small number of painters, by believing in their work, initiated one of the greatest art movements of all time. Today the current average value of the top 10 Impressionist paintings is $124 million; Paul Cézanne’s ‘Card Players’ has sold for $340 million.
Canadian Impressionist painters contributed significantly to this art movement, but remain relatively unknown. Katerina Atanassova, senior curator at the NGC, had an idea of representing these artists through a major touring exhibition. Atanassova says, “this exhibit is part of a larger vision to place Canadian art on the global stage. I would like to see each and every Canadian feel as proud as I do that our artists had something great to offer to that major discourse about the spread of Impressionism around the globe”.
Two wonderful publications which comprehensively describe Canadian Impressionism are; Canada and Impressionism: New Horizons by Katerina Atanassova and Impressionism in Canada by A.K. Prakash.
I hope I get the chance to attend this exhibit when it comes to the NGC in 2021.
Meadow Lake Road
I have always been inspired in my photography by the work of Canadian Impressionist painters, especially as it reflects Canadian culture and landscape. I have also been inspired by the few Canadian photographers who have adapted their craft to produce impressionist style photographic art.
Recently, I have been exploring photographic Impressionism.
Just as photography influenced the Impressionist movement by its ability to take a fleeting impression (snapshot) of a scene or social encounter, impressionist paintings are now influencing photography.
My greatest enjoyment is the escape from the relentless attempt to accurately record visual reality in extreme detail. I much prefer seeking the combined nuances of colour, contrast, and texture. The resulting images are visual impressions, which compared to abstraction, still have a reassuring resemblance to reality. Texturized landscapes, for example, emphasize the ‘feel’ of a place. They are literally impressions. These types of expressions truly excite me.
In honour of and appreciation for all Impressionist art, especially those many unknown Canadian artists, I thought I would use this Newsletter to share a few of my impressionist style photographs. As with all my work, all these Impressionist expressions are made in-camera with minimal post-capture editing. Enjoy.
Travelling Through Barkerville
Back Valley Road
Garden Aspen Forest IV
Every year over the past three decades, I return to these grasslands at Farwell Canyon over and over again. As my relationship with the land deepens, I try to capture those newly awakened feelings within the photographs I make there; each season offering new opportunities for expression. By using this Impressionistic style of image capture, I am making a photograph about this landscape rather than of this landscape. When I look at this image on my monitor, I don’t feel I am looking at a place 150km away; I feel I am actually there, absorbing the spirit of the land like I do when I am actually there. These visual ‘impressions’ have given new meaning to my passion for photography.
Mount Royal Cemetery
Mountain Wall. Protector of Trees
Farwell Canyon Winterscape
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2–Day Workshops – 2021
A Workshop in Photography as Art with Chris Harris
“This workshop explores an entirely new way that a camera can be used to create art. Chris’ enthusiasm, creativeness, and encouragement, is infectious. I came away excited to explore this new approach and to incorporate it into my photography”. D.C. – Bridge Lake Camera Group
For details, please visit the workshop page on this website
If you have an interest in these workshops, please email us indicating an ‘expression of interest’. We will notify you in advance when dates are released in the New Year.
7–Day Workshops – 2021
“Develop Your Creative Vision”
– – – – – – – –
One-week intensive photographic workshops
Chris Harris & Dennis Ducklow
Discover the possibilities of artistic expression. Representational, Impressionist, Expressionist, and Abstract image-making are all examined in depth. These workshops will put you on a path to becoming photographic artists.
Gabriola: May 3-10, 2021; Sept. 10-17, 2021
Expression of the Sea
Bella Coola: June 21-28, 2021