Ex­hibit ex­am­ines re­ac­tions of vet­er­ans to of­fice clo­sure

Since Their Ser­vice at Cape Bre­ton Cen­tre for Craft and De­sign un­til Aug. 14

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY EL­IZ­A­BETH PAT­TER­SON SYD­NEY

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.

EL­IZ­A­BETH PAT­TER­SON/CAPE BRE­TON POST

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.

EL­IZ­A­BETH PAT­TER­SON/CAPE BRE­TON POST

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.

EL­IZ­A­BETH PAT­TER­SON/CAPE BRE­TON POST

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.

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