Digital a new fron­tier

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page -

Lo­cal busi­nesses are be­ing in­vited to “art” their walls with works from the Col­lec­tif d’artistes de Glen­garry Artists’ Col­lec­tive ArtBank.

The works can be viewed on the ca­gacart­bank.ca site.

In the com­ing weeks, The News will pro­file ArtBank artists based on in­for­ma­tion sub­mit­ted by the col­lec­tive.

This week, we in­tro­duce François Des­jardins.

For François Des­jardins, tak­ing pic­tures with an old Ko­dak Box Brownie as a kid back in the ‘60s led to study­ing pho­tog­ra­phy in the vis­ual arts depart­ment at the Univer­sity of Ottawa a decade later. A cam­era, in some form or an­other, be­came his pros­thetic eye and the dark­room was where he de­vel­oped ideas. From a few early gallery shows, he moved on to teach­ing pho­tog­ra­phy at Al­go­nquin Col­lege and vis­ual arts in Ed­u­ca­tion at the Univer­sity of Ottawa, to com­plet­ing a PhD study­ing how im­ages can af­fect learn­ing.

Now liv­ing by a lake just out­side of Alexan­dria, it is a re­turn to the pure joy of pho­tog­ra­phy as well as to spend­ing time read­ing and re­flect­ing on the na­ture of this medium. Specif­i­cally, his in­tent is to bet­ter un­der­stand the dra­matic digital rev­o­lu­tion and its im­pli­ca­tions for this art form, as well as his own re­la­tion­ship with it.

The ubiq­ui­tous digital cam­era and the bil­lions of photograph­s be­ing up­loaded to so­cial me­dia ev­ery minute sug­gest that every­thing and ev­ery­one on this planet have been pho­tographed mak­ing the task of record­ing an “orig­i­nal” image nearly im­pos­si­ble.

Af­ter about five decades of prac­tis­ing pho­tog­ra­phy as a means of care­fully record­ing the vis­i­ble with rel­a­tive high fi­delity, and now rec­og­niz­ing the prob­lem of orig­i­nal per­spec­tive, François’ in­ter­est shifted to­wards an emerg­ing prac­tice of us­ing digital pho­tog­ra­phy as a plas­tic vis­ual medium used to ex­press rather than record. Com­bine this with recog­ni­tion that “works of art” are more of a re­flec­tion of the artist’s vision than of the sub­ject mat­ter, and the idea of “lay­ered per­spec­tives” be­came a project.

This par­tic­u­lar ex­plo­ration is now in its sec­ond year, and the con­cept of lay­er­ing a va­ri­ety of pho­to­graphic per­spec­tives of a com­mon sub­ject in a sin­gu­lar frame is slowly mov­ing to­wards simply treat­ing and scaf­fold­ing un­usual photograph­s of fa­mil­iar vis­ual el­e­ments into an ar­range­ment un­til the re­sult­ing framed can­vas it­self be­comes the sub­ject. It’s less about what’s “in” the pic­ture and more about the com­pleted phys­i­cal framed image it­self and the re­ac­tion it might pro­voke in the viewer.

For this eter­nal stu­dent of the arts, con­tem­po­rary pho­tog­ra­phy is again break­ing with tra­di­tion and the digital rev­o­lu­tion is the new fron­tier to be ex­plored.

LAY­ERED LENS: François Des­jardins is an “eter­nal stu­dent of the arts” who ex­per­i­ments.

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