Newsletter #201: October, 2022
© Chris Harris. All rights reserved.
Celebrating my 17th year writing this Photographic Newsletter!
Bienvenue à Vieux Montréal
Rita and I have just returned from Montreal where we spent the entire month of October; that’s the reason why this October newsletter is a little late!
During the month I had the honour of teaching a 6-day photographic workshop with my teaching partner Dennis Ducklow. It took place in Vieux Montréal and was centered around the themes of creativity, vision, and expression.
I say it was an honour for several reasons; our location for the workshop; our immersion into the adventurous subject of art; and the group of people that surrounded us, who embraced new ways of seeing the world, and had the courage to express it.
Celebrating a Sense of Place in Old Montreal
In post-settlement times, what we now know as the Old City or Vieux Montréal, has been the cultural, financial, and the art centre of Canada. In 1892, the very first Impressionist paintings to arrive in Canada were exhibited at the W. Scott & Sons Gallery within a few blocks from our hotel. There were 8 in total; two each by Renoir, Monet, Pissarro, and Sisley.
Just as they were in Paris, Boston and New York, the paintings were met with disdain and ridicule; eventually they were all shipped back to Paris. Several Quebec painters, however, such as William Bruce, Maurice Cullen, Marc-Aurèle De Foy Suzor-Coté, and James Maurice, were impressed by the new style. They, along with several others, went to Paris, to learn the technique and be absorbed by the influence of Impressionism. Eventually they would return to Canada and become some of Canada’s most famous Impressionist painters.
Their early Impressionist paintings of Montreal and rural Quebec are immensely beautiful and are presently held in public and private collections around the world. Their contribution to the Global Impressionist Movement was part of a major art exhibition which has just toured Europe; it finished at the National Gallery of Canada this year.
This Canadian Impressionist Movement had its beginnings within a few city blocks of where we gathered on this workshop. To be amongst the earliest photographers to photograph Montreal as photographic impressionists was truly exciting. It was both an honour and a privilege to be a part of this experience.
Impressionist Interpretations of Vieux Montréal
When one walks slowly through the Old City, there is an unmistakable feeling that you are somewhere distinct and special. The photographer’s challenge is how to express that feeling.
Photographic Impressionism is a specific style of expression that both captures and evokes feelings. The main characteristic of this technique is the breaking up of the more fluid ICM (intentional camera movement) movements using a number of exposure captures. This ‘breaking up’ of visual elements, leads to an emotional response to reality, rather than an acceptance of reality by the viewer.
Below are several images from our workshop participants.
There is a critical point where realism begins to fade away, and yet, it is still expressed.
Our goal when teaching this photographic style, is that the photographs transcend technique, in order to emphasize the feelings they provoke. In the above images, the artists show the viewer the forms as people, not as people who have lost their form. I feel our participants did a masterful job.
More Exciting Interpretations of Vieux Montréal
Our workshop is titled Develop Your Creative Vision for a reason. The words ‘creative’ and ‘vision’ refer to original and seeing respectively. Thus, we encourage participants to find their artistry by seeing the world in new ways. The participant’s images in this section speak to this exploration. Their imaginative re-arrangement of the visual elements they perceived in their immediate surroundings are original, contemporary, and exciting.
With today’s cameras, our language of photographic expression can easily be expanded, by blending traditional perspectives with non-traditional perspectives. The above photographers explored three avenues of possibility; multiple exposure perspectives, multiple subject perspectives, and multiple movement perspectives. By combining them together in any combination, photographers can offer viewers a plethora of imaginary worlds. We can take viewers to where they have never been before; exciting for us as artists, and we hope, exciting for our viewers.
It is said that art is the highest expression of the human spirit, and it is made to share with the world. It gives me, and my teaching partner Dennis, great pleasure to share the artistic endeavours of our workshop participants in Vieux Montréal. I hope they are as much an inspiration to my readers as they are to Dennis and me.
Eastern Canada Deciduous Trees
After the Vieux Montréal workshop had concluded, I explored different aspects of the city in creative solitude. One such aspect is my deep resonance with eastern deciduous trees. It’s an experience I don’t have where I live in British Columbia.
On two occasions I went to Parc La Fontaine to walk through, and photograph, these beautiful trees; their outreaching branches appeared to stretch out to the canopy of coloured leaves and sky above. Below are five images which speak to my aesthetic experience there.
Merci Montréal. I can hardly wait until I visit again!
Santa Day is coming!
Unna Lake; Cariboo Country
Its time to start planning for the gift-giving season. Getting your print choices to you can sometimes take longer than we think, so now is the time-window for choosing, ordering, completing, and perfecting, a print for your home, or the home of a friend. A simple email is the place to start, and I will do my utmost to make sure you have the perfect print arrive in time for the holidays.
Share this Newsletter with friends
All of us at Chris Harris Photography thank you for your subscriber support!
Check out 6-Day Residency Photo Workshops
Check out my Portfolio’s
View earlier Exhibitions
Subscribe to this Newsletter
See you in December!