Ottawa in (f)lux: four local photographers unveil their very first show

Born and raised in Ottawa, Marc-André Cossette has traveled extensively, but has so far always come back home. He is now preparing to present his photographs to the public for the very first time, along with three other local photographers.

Marc-André Cossette

(f)lux opens on May 15, at the Philip K. Wood Gallery in Almonte. What’s it all about?

It’s a group exhibition that will feature my own photographs as well as those of Lorraine Fernando, Lindsay Graham and Katie Lévesque.

Although our photographs are very different in terms of content, we found that we were all in some way or another dealing with the idea of transformation or transition. With photography being our medium of choice, it wasn’t long before the Latin word for “light” (lux) found its way into our title. In the end, it stuck… and here we are!

 The whole show is about unseen spaces in Ottawa – what kinds of photos can visitors expect?

 Actually, I don’t think it’s so much about the “unseen” as it is about looking at everyday spaces more attentively or purposefully.

 For my own photographs, I went back to Orléans where I grew up, trying to capture the tremendous amount of development that’s going on over there.

"Field (I)" Photo by Marc-André Cossette

Lorraine’s photographs deal with something entirely different: reflections that bewilder and maybe even temporarily suspend our perception of reality.

"Continuum" Photo by Lorraine G. Fernando

Katie is the one who gets closest to showing us some of those “unseen” spaces you mentioned, mixed in with photos of more everyday scenes.

"Tranquility" Photo by Katie Lévesque

Finally, Lindsay produced a set of abstract shots of an old, boarded-up schoolhouse that is now enjoying a second life as an impromptu art installation.

"Blue Abstract" Photo by Lindsay Graham

Why did you take this approach to your project?

All the images were produced as part of a course we took at the School of Photographic Arts: Ottawa (SPAO). So apart from a few shots taken in Montreal, we had no choice but to shoot in Ottawa! That said, I think there’s something refreshing about focusing on your home city. I know that for the longest time, I only ever took out my camera when traveling, so this was a way of forcing myself out of that habit.

Heirloom Café and Philip K. Wood Gallery, 79 Mill Street, Almonte

Why are you holding it all the way out in Almonte?

To be perfectly honest, I knew very little about Almonte before preparing for this exhibition. It was actually our instructor, John Hewett Hallum, who found us this great space us at the Philip K. Wood Gallery.

The gallery is located on the upper floor inside the old Victoria Woolen Mill, overlooking the Heirloom Café below. The café will actually be putting on an evening of music to accompany dinner following our vernissage, so if our photographs aren’t enough to bring you out, the café’s food offerings definitely should!

SPAO brought you together: can you talk a bit about The Art of Photography course?

Although this isn’t a SPAO-curated exhibition, it will show the work that we produced as part of The Art of Photography course offered last summer. The goal there was to examine the relationship between photography and other forms of art, and then draw on that knowledge to produce a body of work for the course. John had always planned to have the course culminate in an exhibition. Given that our pictures often never make it to print, it really has been a terrific learning experience for all of us.

You’ve never participated in an exhibition: are you nervous?

I think the apprehension has more or less subsided at this point (ask me again on Sunday, though!) More than anything, I think we’re excited to finally see it all come together. There has been a lot of work put into this over the past few months and we’re thrilled with how it’s turned out.

What did you learn about Ottawa by doing this project?

Just how fantastic the photography community is in this city. There are so many talented photographers out there, producing beautiful and inspiring work. It really is a great community to be a part of.

Thanks so much for sharing your photography and letting us know about this great event! Do you have a favourite space in Ottawa to photograph? Tell us about it in the comments below!