Michel Campeau | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Michel Campeau

Michel Campeau, photographer (b at Montréal 16 Mar 1948).

Campeau, Michel

Michel Campeau, photographer (b at Montréal 16 Mar 1948). He was a founding member of the GAP (Groupe d'action photographique) in 1971, a collective of Montréal photographers interested in documenting the city's working-class districts, presenting its exhibitions through social groups rather than the established gallery system. As part of a GAP collaboration, Campeau produced Disraeli: une expérience humaine en photographie (1972-74), a social document depicting the life of a rural community in the Eastern Townships.

Between 1975 and 1980, Campeau concentrated on more direct social and political action. Reevaluating his images, he then began introducing subjectivity and formal concerns in a maquette for a book, Love Test (1980), based on his preceding work in photography. This unpublished project led to Week-end au "Paradis Terrestre"! (1972-81) in which the social document also bore a critical awareness and what Campeau has called a "subjective realism." More recently, his work has revolved around autobiography, family relations and a reflection on the photographic medium itself, such as in the exhibitions/publications Les tremblements du coeur (Centre VU, Québec City, 1988) and Éclipses et labyrinthes (1988-91; Séquences, Chicoutimi, 1993). In 1994 Campeau was awarded the City of Higashikawa (Japan) Photography Prize. A retrospective of his work was presented at the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography in Ottawa in December 1996.