What Are We Looking At?

Exhibition and Workshops at The Spill for Artsweek

[2011] Do you wish you could take better pictures but don’t know where to start? Have you ever wanted to talk about a picture but couldn’t find the words? “What Are We Looking At” invites you to learn about photography while helping to make the exhibition complete.

Photograph by Bradley Boyle
photo by Bradley Boyle

This exhibition presents the work of three photographers without creating a unified theme. Esther Vincent’s panoramas are majestic, curious and gentle. John Marris’ photographs explore the relationship between natural environments and industrial decay. Bradley Boyle uses photography as a way to explore alternative sides of suburban living in a small town.

As a challenge to conventional exhibitions in which the viewer is considered separate from the work, this show includes two workshops that invite viewers to make the works their own and to make their own work. With these workshops, Marris and Vincent hope to create a deeper understanding of photography.

Photograph by John Marris
Photo by John Marris

Finding Stories in Photography,” a workshop lead by Marris, (Sept 10th, The Spill, 10 am to 1 pm, free), will encourage a playful and imaginative approach to understanding photographs. Using games and story telling participants will explore how we can interpret and create our own stories from the images. Participants will be encouraged to explore and value their own creative ideas about the pictures in the exhibition.

The aim of the workshop will be to develop a creative response to the exhibition and to make connections between the different pictures taken by the different photographers. This half day workshop will help participants connect personal experiences to the photographs while taking part in a collective creative process. The results of the workshop will be posted alongside the photographs and form part of the exhibition.

Aimed at both adults and children, participants should come away more confident of their own ideas about photography and in saying what they think about a picture. They will also have made a contribution to an Artsweek exhibition.

The workshop is free, but participants are asked to make a firm booking (John Marris, johnmarris@hotmail.com) so appropriate materials and resources can be prepared. Space is limited to 15 participants.

panoramic image of Peterborough during a storm
Photo by Esther Vincent

Finding the Right Buttons,”(Sept 17th, The Spill, 11 am to 4 pm, free), lead by Esther Vincent, will focus on the technical aspects of photography giving participants the tools they need to better understand their cameras and how to create the images they want to see.

Open to all levels and abilities and all camera styles from digital and film SLR through point and shoot and cell phone cameras this workshop will focus on composition and the basic principles of creating an image.

Covering the technical aspects of cameras and photography, participants will be introduced to f-stop, shutter speed and ISO, what they mean and what they do. Focal length and the ever popular depth of field will also be discussed. The workshop will include time to go out and take photos and return to compare notes.

In completing this workshop participants will feel more comfortable with the technology and techniques of photography and be able to find their own creative approach to taking pictures.

The exhibition runs from September 7th to 30th, 2011. The opening is September 10th from 7 to 9 pm, followed by music from Parks and Rec. The workshops are September 10th, 10 am to 1 pm and 17th, 11 am to 4 pm. The Spill is located at 414 George Street North.

Artist bios:
Esther Vincent learned about photography from her father, a professional, who taught her everything she wanted to know. She continues to learn and develop her style and technique and is always interested in talking shop or passing on tips. Her professional focus is on portraits, performance and commercial photography. Her photographs have been published in The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, Pearl Magazine, The Dance Current: Canada’s National Dance Magazine, The Peterborough Examiner and Canadian Organic Grower among others.

John Marris has a background in journalism, graphic technology and a certain itinerant nature that has created a complex perspective on manufactured and apparently natural landscapes. Working in both colour and black and white, traditional film and digital photography, he continues to engage with the relationship between natural environments, indutrial decay and the photographer’s perspective. As part of this exploration John’s photographs are typically accompanied by a narrative that focuses the perspective of the viewer and draws connections between apparently diverse images.

Bradley Boyle has lived in Peterborough, Ontario, all his life. He uses photography as a way to explore alternative sides of suburban living in this small town, spending many of his teen years with a camera by his side. With creativity and attention to detail, his images are personal and reflect his unique perspective and invite the viewer to look more closely at the natural tension in his images. He is now working freelance and pursuing a career in advertising.


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