Gabor Szilasi

Long recognized as an exceptional documentary photographer for his distinctive views of Québec culture, his initial success followed the completion of 2 important series, Charlevoix (1970) and La Beauce (1973).


Szilasi, Gabor

 Gabor Szilasi, photographer, teacher (b at Budapest, Hungary 3 Feb 1928). Szilasi settled in Montréal after immigrating to Canada in 1957. He was naturalized in 1964. From 1959 to 1971 he was photographer at the Office du film du Québec. He was photography teacher at the Collège du Vieux Montréal (1970-80) and associate professor (1980-95) at Concordia University, where he is currently adjunct professor.

Long recognized as an exceptional documentary photographer for his distinctive views of Québec culture, his initial success followed the completion of 2 important series, Charlevoix (1970) and La Beauce (1973). Produced with a large-format camera, these images present a sensitive, often whimsical portrait of rural life. Subsequently he began to work with colour, producing primarily studies of domestic interiors (1976), sometimes pairing these with portraits (1978-79). Rich with detail and subtle rendering of light and form, the photographs reveal a keenly observant eye.

During the 1980s Szilasi continued to produce portraits and architectural studies, working with a variety of camera formats and techniques. He explored the singular beauty of Montréal's architectural heritage in panorama views produced with a banquet camera (1982) and in various projects commissioned by the Canadian Centre for Architecture (1989-95). Although best known for his images of Québec, significant bodies of work resulted from his sojourns in Italy, Hungary and Poland (1986, 1987, 1990). In the mid-1990s Szilasi investigated the psychological portrait through the use of large-format black and white Polaroid photography.

Szilasi has received several awards and his works have been acquired by numerous public and corporate collections. His photographs have been exhibited internationally and extensively published. In 1990 he was commissioned by the MUSÉE DES BEAUX-ARTS DE MONTRÉAL to produce a series of photographs of Clause Monet's gardens at Giverny, France, as part of the exhibition "Monet at Giverny: chefs-d'oeuvres du Musée Marmottan." In 1997 the Musée des beaux-arts de Montrél presented a retrospective of his work.

He was named a winner of the Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts in 2010.


Further Reading

  • Isabelle Gournay, ed, Ernest Cormier and the Université de Montréal(1990); Denis Lessard, Fragments: Photographie actuelle au Québec (1985); Michel Lessard, Montréal au Xxe siècle: regards de photographs (1995); Naomi Rosenblum, A World History of Photography (1985).