Search for "photography"

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Malak Karsh

Armenian-Canadian photographer Malak Karsh was best known for his photographs of Canada, and of the Ottawa region in particular. His 1963 photograph of a tugboat bringing logs up the Ottawa River, with the Library of Parliament in the background, was featured on the reverse of the $1 banknote first issued in 1974. Karsh amassed perhaps the most comprehensive visual record of Canada in existence. He also founded the Ottawa Tulip Festival and was the younger brother of famed photographer Yousuf Karsh.

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Douglas Kirkland

Douglas Morely Kirkland, photographer (born 16 August 1934 in Toronto, ON; died 2 October 2022 in Los Angeles, California). Photographer Douglas Kirkland was best known for his highly stylized and artistic portraits of Hollywood celebrities. His best-known work was a series of photographs he took of Marilyn Monroe in 1961. He was also well known for his behind-the-scenes photographs from many film productions. The first still photographer to be made a member of the American Society of Cinematographers, Kirkland authored several books and received numerous awards.

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Edith Watson

Edith Sarah Watson, photographer, painter (born 5 November 1861 in East Windsor Hill, Connecticut; died 22 December 1943 in St. Petersburg, Florida). Edith Watson was a freelance professional photographer who travelled extensively through Newfoundland, coastal Labrador and Canada for about 40 years. She took thousands of photos of the people and places she visited, with a particular focus on working-class women in rural communities. Her photos provide valuable insight into the daily lives of these communities. She spent the latter half of her life travelling and working with her partner, journalist Victoria “Queenie” Hayward. The couple published their work in magazines, newspapers and a book, Romantic Canada.

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Fred Herzog

Ulrich “Fred” Herzog, photographer, teacher (born 21 September 1930 in Bad Friedrichshall, Germany; died 9 September 2019 in Vancouver, BC). Fred Herzog was a professional medical photographer and a photography instructor at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University. He is best known for his colour photographs of Vancouver street scenes, which documented working-class neighbourhoods and the downtown before they were transformed. His use of colour film was unusual for a fine arts photographer, and his work was largely overlooked for years. His first solo show — at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2007, when he was 76 — received widespread acclaim.

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Rodney Graham

William Rodney Graham, OC, artist (born 16 January 1949 in Abbotsford, BC; died 22 October 2022). Rodney Graham was known for his conceptual sculptures, text-works, photography and films. Described by the Georgia Straight as “one of Canada’s greatest multi-discipline art stars,” he is often associated with the Vancouver School of artists, which includes Jeff Wall, Ian Wallace, Ken Lum, Stan Douglas and Roy Arden. Graham was especially notable for the ways in which he incorporated various technologies — and the history of technology — into his artworks, much of which deals with the conflict between nature and culture in a resource-extraction economy. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2016.

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Roberta Bondar

Roberta Lynn Bondar, CC, OOnt, FRSCastronaut, neurologist, physician, educator, photographer (born 4 December 1945 in Sault Ste Marie, ON). Bondar became the first Canadian woman and second Canadian in space when she flew aboard the American space shuttle Discovery in 1992. A doctor specializing in the nervous system, she is a pioneer in space medicine research. Bondar is also an exhibited and published nature photographer. She established The Roberta Bondar Foundation to educate people about environmental protection through art, and she currently serves as one of the organization’s directors.

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Canadian War Art Programs

Since the First World War, there have been four major initiatives to allow Canadian artists to document Canadian Armed Forcesat war. Canada’s first official war art program, the Canadian War Memorials Fund (1916–19), was one of the first government-sponsored programs of its kind. It was followed by the Canadian War Art Program (1943–46) during the Second World War. The Canadian Armed Forces Civilian Artists Program (1968–95) and the Canadian Forces Artists Program (2001–present) were established to send civilian artists to combat and peacekeepingzones. Notable Canadian war artists have included A.Y. Jackson, F.H. Varley, Lawren Harris, Alex Colville and Molly Lamb Bobak.

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Documenting the Second World War

When Canada declared war on Germany on 10 September 1939, tens of thousands of Canadians enlisted to serve in the armynavyair force and supporting services. The military scrambled to buy equipment, train recruits and prepare for war. Little thought was given, at first, to documenting the war effort. By 1940, however, the military was recruiting historians, most notably Charles Stacey, to collect records and write accounts of Canadian operations. In the following years, artists, photographers and filmmakers also served with the various branches of the armed forces. Today, their diligent work provides a rich visual and written catalogue of Canada’s history in the Second World War.

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Documenting the First World War

The First World War forever changed Canada. Some 630,000 Canadians enlisted from a nation of not yet eight million. More than 66,000 were killed. As the casualties mounted on the Western Front, an expatriate Canadian, Sir Max Aitken (Lord Beaverbrook), organized a program to document Canada’s war effort through art, photography and film. This collection of war art, made both in an official capacity and by soldiers themselves, was another method of forging a legacy of Canada’s war effort.