If you’re looking for some last minute gift ideas for a photographer in your life, there’s a great selection of books available by Canadian photographers. The subject matter is diverse and ranges from the remote landscapes of Sable Island to the punk rock glory days of Toronto in the 70′s. So there really is something for everyone.
OIL – Edward Burtynsky
In 1997 Edward Burtynsky had what he refers to as his “oil epiphany”. “It occurred to me” writes Burtynsky, “that the vast, human-altered landscapes that I pursued and photographed for over twenty years were only made possible by the discovery of oil and the mechanical advantage of the internal combustion engine. It was then that I began the oil project. Over the next ten years I researched and photographed the largest oil fields I could find. I went on to make images of refineries, freeway interchanges, automobile plants and the scrap industry that results from the recycling of cars. Then I began to look at the culture of oil, the motor culture, where masses of people congregate around vehicles, with vehicle events as the main attraction. These images can be seen as notations by one artist contemplating the world as it is made possible through this vital energy resource and the cumulative effects of industrial evolution.”
Photographically Speaking: A Deeper Look at Creating Stronger Images – David duChemin
Photographically Speaking is about learning photography’s visual language to better speak to why and how a photograph succeeds, and in turn to consciously use that visual language in the creation of our own photographs, making us stronger photographers who are able to fully express and communicate our vision. By breaking up the visual language into two main components–“elements” make up its vocabulary, and “decisions” are its grammar–David duChemin transforms what has traditionally been esoteric and difficult subject matter into an accessible and practical discussion that photographers can immediately use to improve their craft. Elements are the “words” of the image, what we place within the frame–lines, curves, light, colour, contrast. Decisions are the choices we make in assembling those elements to best express and communicate our vision–the use of framing, perspective, point of view, balance, focus, exposure.
Fred Herzog: Photographs
In 1952, Fred Herzog emigrated from Germany to Canada, and quickly found work as a medical photographer in Vancouver. But outside the lab, Herzog also devoted himself to what was, at the time, an unusual and even frowned-upon medium, at least artistically: color photography. Fred Herzog’s bold use of colour in the 1950s and 60s make him a forerunner of “New Colour” photographers such as Stephen Shore and William Eggleston, who received widespread acclaim in the 1970s. Herzog images were all taken on Kodachrome, a slide film with a sharpness and tonal range that, until recently, could not be reproduced in prints, and his choice of medium limited his exhibition opportunities. However, recent advances in digital technology have made high-quality prints of his work possible, and in the past few years his substantial and influential body of work has been available to a wider audience.
Fred Herzog: Photographs showcases this innovative artist’s impressive oeuvre in a beautifully crafted volume of early color and urban street photography. Providing authoritative texts are four titans of the art community: Jeff Wall anchors Herzog’s place in the history of photography, Claudia Gochmann sets his work in an international context and Sarah Milroy and Douglas Coupland provide additional commentary.
Sable Island: Photography by Damian Lidgard
Sable Island, “the Wandering Sandbar,” has been the subject of enduring fascination, long known for its many shipwrecks and appreciated for its unique flora and fauna, particularly the beautiful and resilient wild horses that make the island their home. Sable Island also has the world’s single largest breeding colony of grey seals and is home to the Ipswich sparrow, which breeds only on the island. The ever-changing landscape of this island of sand, molded by the intense wind and rain of the Atlantic Ocean, produces natural formations stunning enough to rival some of the world’s most accomplished sculptors. Sable Island includes over 100 stunning images by photographer Damian Lidgard, images that showcase this magnificent island in its rarely seen splendour. Damian is one of the few regular visitors to the island, and his photography is an expression of the island’s unique beauty.
Damian Lidgard is a zoologist and wildlife photographer who has been visiting Sable Island yearly since 1997. His photography has won awards, been featured in several publications, including the French magazine Thalassa, and has been exhibited at a number of art galleries. Visit him at lidgardphotography.com.
Planet Arctic: Life at the Top of the World – Wayne Lynch
The Arctic is so different from the more temperate regions of Earth that author and photographer Wayne Lynch presents this region as though it were a different planet. In Planet Arctic, the reader can experience this land through the lens of a master photographer who has spent 30 years exploring and photographing this vast region. Lynch fully understands and appreciates Arctic birds, plants and animals in all their mystery. Here is the world of the polar bear, the arctic fox, the seal, the walrus and the musk ox, as well as a vast array of seabirds and exquisite, hardy wildflowers and ancient lichens.
Lynch’s enthusiasm is contagious, and the photos, testament to his unerring eye for beauty, will captivate readers. Complex natural history concepts are decoded as Lynch describes the magnificent life-forms that inhabit this distant and frigid yet spectacular world — one that is under increasing stress from global warming and climate change.
Trouble in the Camera Club: A Photographic Narrative of Toronto’s Punk History 1976-1980 – Don Pyle
Brimming with nostalgia for one of the few major music movements of the last 30 years, this visual journey through punk history lays witness to the high-water mark of a golden era in music. In 1977, before he entered on to the punk scene himself, Don Pyle bought a 35 mm camera and began photographing some of the earliest gigs of Toronto punk acts and other visiting punk artists. His trial-and-error education in photography resulted in this collection of images that document the early history of punk rock in Toronto and its influence on the local music scene, from the point of view of an awestruck fan. Influential punk musicians such as the Ramones, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, and The Clash, as well as Toronto bands such as The Viletones, Teenage Head, and The Curse, are captured at their creative prime, on the forefront of a musical revolution. The original scratched, water-marked negatives have been completely restored and together with authentic ephemera reveal a significant yet underrepresented period in Toronto’s musical cultural development.
Last Call – George Webber
As North American cities continue to grow and downtown cores evolve into suburban shadows of their former urban selves, the shabbier realities of contemporary life at the city’s heart are forced to migrate and disappear as “villages” are torn down, reimagined and redeveloped into upscale properties. With a gentle touch, George Webber takes his camera into the mysterious half-light of these disappearing interior spaces, penetrating them with a thought-provoking humanity and then withdrawing without creating a ripple. This is an area that transcends place, lying between a city’s mountain and prairie landscapes, a purgatory of dark and light, hope and despair.
Over a five-year period between 2004 and 2009, photographer George Webber hung out in Calgary’s East Village. In what he describes as “my little personal battle against time,” he touched the feral heart of the place, capturing its gritty, shattered beauty with his camera. Last Call is an unforgettable and astounding collection of colour photographs of Calgary’s East Village in all of its lurid glory, along with touching and poignant excerpts from Webber’s journals.