I watched my grandfather Peter Pitseolak take photos and develop them. That is when I started to become curious about photography.
them. I still have a few here, but most of them are at McGill. It is important that my work is transferred to digital. After they are done, the agreement is that they will send the originals back.
EY: What has been the most meaningful photo that you have made here, the most special to you?
JM: After some years, I am able to see some of the portraits that I have done of the people here—portraits of children and elderly people. I think [those are] the most important.
EY: Aside from your technical skills, have you seen a change in the way that you see a subject?
JM: Yes and no. Today a lot of things have changed up north. I can’t just approach somebody for a portrait. We have to ask now. Before that it was very open and voluntary. But today it is kind of different. Now we have television, radios [and] magazines coming through. People might think that there will be money involved in participating. But that is okay, too. I have no hard feelings about that.
EY: Do you have any advice for young photographers?
JM: Yes, we did a little bit of photography in the field with the kids. Some kids were concerned with not getting the right picture and they gave up on it. We tried to tell them not to give up. Keep trying, because if you make more mistakes, down the road, you are going to be a very good photographer. I had to go through a lot of that too.
EY: Do you remember a specific photograph where everything came together?
JM: Yes, it was 1970. I think that was the year Queen Elizabeth, with the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and Princess Anne went to Iqaluit—Frobisher Bay at the time—and I was invited for a special dinner. That was a great highlight for me. I was very outgoing with my camera then, so I shot quite a bit of the Queen’s visit. The Queen was holding a silver shovel that she put on the ground at the time that the new church was being built in Iqaluit. That was special.