Exhibit examines reactions of veterans to office closure
Since Their Service at Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design until Aug. 14
As you walk into the third floor gallery space at the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design, the stark black-and-white images of Canada’s military veterans reach you with their restrained emotion.
The men and women depicted in Charlie Morrison’s photographs have faces lined with the beauty of time and experi- ence. Despite their dignified expressions, you sense the pain they have experienced, not just because of battle but wondering if their own country is at war with them, thanks to a neverending stream of cutbacks.
Some of the photos, done on newsprint, are single portraits, while others depict veterans standing in lonely locations such as an abandoned fort and a beach. In one photo, a veteran walks alone down a snowy road; the only spot of colour is a Cana- dian flag dangling from his hand.
Dominion photographer Charlie Morrison was inspired to do the evocative series of photos after learning about the closure of the Veterans Affairs office in Sydney more than a year ago.
“I went in for the first memorial day after I heard about the impending closure,” said Morrison. “I shot that day and then when I heard about the rally of concern, which was a few days after that memorial day, I went in and I shot that, and that’s when I cemented in my own head that I was going to try to do a project of this nature.”
Morrison has been interested in photography since childhood and became serious about it about 15 years ago. The 48-yearold works as a paramedic but he’s passionate about his hobby, even travelling to Africa in pursuit of pictures. While his photos possess a certain beauty, they’re not pretty pictures.
“For the last four or five years, I’ve kind of been looking for new challenges to keep my photography interesting to me, to keep my motivation going,” he said. “I’ve been slowly working myself towards socially conscious-type subjects. In the past, I’ve hung pictures at one local coffee shop on poverty in the area here and I’ve been lucky enough to go to Kenya a few years ago and when I was there, I shot in one of the shantytowns.”
For this series, he wanted the emotion to tell each vet’s story.
“I went in there not wanting a lot of smiles,” he said. “What I had hoped was that I could get the feel of candid photography, at the same time of putting them in a situation where I could set something up to capture emotion of some kind.”
In addition to photos, the ex- hibit also features an aural and written section, taken from interviews he had with the veterans.
Since Their Service will run at the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design until Aug. 14, in the third floor gallery.
Cape Breton’s veterans are the focus of Charlie Morrison’s exhibit, Since Their Service, being held at the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design until Aug. 14. Morrison is shown here with two of his works.
Dominion photographer Charlie Morrison stands next to one of his works in his exhibit, Since Their Service, being held at the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design until Aug. 14.
While most of the photos in Charlie Morrison’s Since Their Service exhibit, being held at the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design until Aug. 14, are black and white on newsprint, a few are slightly more fiery in style, thanks to artistic licence from Morrison, shown here on the right.