Sylvia Galbraith, Photographer

Silver Creek Photography,
Fergus, Ontario

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Sylvia Galbraith, Photographer

Silver Creek Photography,
Fergus, Ontario

Summer 2020 - I love print!  Books, magazines, photographs....  there's something seductive about holding fine paper or beautifully printed publications in my hands (ok, weird, I know).  I still prefer to look at artwork in its physical form, rather than digitally, and I subscribe to several magazines that I keep forever.  The stacks are piling up, yet I can't bring myself to get rid of any...  in fact, I've just added two more subscriptions to my list.  Both are based in Europe - Art North Magazine, out of Scotland, is relatively new on the scene, yet promises to become an important addition to the art world, while the second magazine, Katalog, from Denmark, features photography only and has been around for 30 years or so.  They give me a bit of a glimpse of what other artists are doing, and I look forward to each issue. 

 

 

 



 

Summer 2020 - Am I the only one who enjoys learning new words?  I collect them in a notebook, simply because I like the way they sound.  I am intrigued by words or phrases that describe landforms or processes such as wave action and wind movement.  In reading them, I experience a strong visual interpretation; they hover in the back of my mind as I create my photographs.  Favourite sources?  Writers such as Robert Macfarlane,  Lucy Lippard, Simon Schama and Rebecca Solnit.  I pick and choose their words for my collection, imaging places I could go as I read their works, and the landscapes I'll photograph.

 



 

Summer 2020 -   I spent a few days in a cottage by Georgian Bay, inspired by the peace and calm of the  wilderness.  So restorative, and good for the soul... a chance to recharge and take a break from the world.  No agenda, beautiful low light and a willing niece (and her dog) as my model.

 

                                                                                                                            



 

Spring 2020 - I have to admit that I have been living in limbo the past while - staying close to home and literally hiding inside, like the rest of the world right now.  But unlike many artists I know who are busy creating and revelling in the sudden break from their everyday lives, I have been feeling very uninspired, mired in disappointment from cancelled travel plans, and exhibitions that are likely not going to happen.  I miss my friends, the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival,  strolling down the street, or getting a haircut.  I have been unable to look at my photographs at all, let alone come up with the motivation to make new work.  And yet....   every day I receive emails from galleries, museums and artists who have adapted to these strange times...  they carry on in spite of our situation, and continue to do what they do so well.  I feel a stirring of optimism and realize that I too can follow their lead, and try something new.  So here you go...  my first virtual exhibition.  Opening now....  pour yourself a glass of wine, and enjoy.

 



 

“Why do you teach? Don’t you get tired of showing people how to set a shutter speed, or explain depth of field, over and over and over again?”

Fall 2019 - I am asked this question regularly, mostly by experienced photographers who seem unwilling to share their  ideas or skills. I've always found this odd;  it's a competitive, narrow viewpoint that I do not share.  Well, the answer to the above question is a definite “No!” I do not get tired of it. You might even say I teach photography for purely selfish reasons. As a professional photographer, I take photographs every day, most often to satisfy a commercial need for someone else. Over the years, I found myself straying a long way from my reasons for becoming a photographer - my love of the “art” in photography, my enjoyment of the need to be in a particular place to make my work. I never picked up a camera for my own purposes and I realized one day I had not taken a single personal photo in years. Since I started teaching more than 10 years ago, I rediscovered my joy in photography - the challenge of new situations, learning new technology through a beginner’s eyes, and new insights from personal life experience that influenced my way of interpreting the world through a camera. Through teaching, I am able to share all of this. I experience photography every day, and discover new ways of creating photographs that I can share with others to help them learn. Through teaching, I better understand my own work; I dissect it - examining my technique or contemplating my intent behind an image, and I explore historic and alternate methods of image creation. I study the work of other photographers, like I never have before. Finally, and most importantly, I see teaching as “giving back”... when I first picked up a camera and made many amateur (and embarrassing!) mistakes, there were photographers who kindly shared tips and ideas, who mentored me, and who influenced my work to bring me to where I am today. Seeing a new photographer suddenly understand depth of field, or attending a first photographic exhibition of one of my more advanced students brings me back to my own photographic journey, of fond memories of learning and discovery.

So, why do I patiently explain camera settings over and over and over again? Silly question.

 

                                        



 

November 2019 - During this past summer's trip to Newfoundland, I decided to explore the southernmost tip of the island, as I'd never been there, and everyone knows how much I like "the road less travelled".  Predictably, the weather was foggy, rainy and windy on the only day I had to visit the lighthouse at Cape Pine...  I had been told the Cape is remote and completely uninhabited most of the time, with a long drive down a gravel track that might not be passable even on a good day. 

One of the things I love most about Newfoundland is how helpful and friendly the people are.   I stop at the one gas station in the area and ask directions, trying to get a sense of whether I should attempt the drive or not. The proprietor's wife is the first person I meet after filling up my car....  she isn't sure about the road to Cape Pine, but calls her husband from underneath a car he's repairing to add his thoughts to the matter.  He also hasn't driven there in some time, but wait! he knows someone who has a hunting cabin out that way... a quick phone call should do the trick!  Another woman answers - the wife of his buddy; she informs us that her husband can't help... he's working in Korea, so hasn't been down the road either.  By now I'm thinking I'll just give it a try, but before I can extricate myself from what is becoming quite an intense discussion,  hubby in Korea is on FaceTime, his wife telling him about my plight and asking if he thinks I would be able to make it.  So, now we're up to five people, including two on cell phones, and one FaceTiming from Korea, all of  us trying to figure out if  my trek is a good idea.  " I think they put in a new culvert, although with all the rain, it won't have lasted long...  those government boys don't know what they're doing" says one.  "Does she look like she knows how to drive?" asks the guy in Korea (mechanic gives me the once-over, assures him I do, and gives my 4-wheel drive rental car his seal of approval).   Meanwhile, my car is still parked at the single gas pump, and I'm seriously wondering how to extricate myself before someone asks me to stay for lunch and my day disappears.  Just then another fellow pulls up to the shop and rather grumpily states that he's after some gas and "that Toyota's been plugging the pump for half an hour...  I seen it there from my window".  "But this lady's wanting to get to Cape Pine, and we're trying to figure out the road!"  he's told.  And, you guessed it....  out comes his map; he jots down a list of the tricky spots, with detailed instructions on how to navigate them and tells me to call if I get stuck.  And to make sure I honk as I pass on my way back through, so they all know I'm ok, if not, they'll come looking for me. Finally I'm on my way, warmed by the experience, and the kindness of strangers.               

                                      

                                                                                                                                                               - Fog, Cape Pine



 

November 2019 - Now that the cooler weather has arrived, I've finally taken some time to sort through several hundred photographs from this past summer's time in Newfoundland.  I was there once again for the Bonavista Biennale, an art exhibition that showcases work by regional, national and international artists, exhibited in various outports around the Bonavista Peninsula.   Although busy teaching a photography workshop as part of the event lineup, I managed to take some time for my personal work, and spent almost a month hiking along the cliffs and shorelines in rain, fog, or sunshine.  I explored new places and travelled to the extreme southern tip of the island, a lonely place with some of the most incredible landscapes I've ever seen.

I've learned over the years that I can't really assess the photographs I've made until some time has passed.   I have  to let my emotional connection fade; to separate myself from the experience of being there.  My senses are on overload from sights and sounds that are unfamiliar to me and I can't objectively judge the work on its own merits.  Some photographs make the cut, while many others are relegated to the "nice to have" pile.... 

My work is constantly evolving, and this year my images are quite different from my previous work.  I've become intrigued with old photographic processes;  I experimented with expired film, pinhole cameras, and even turned my rental house into a camera obscura at one point. I'll see how the film looks once it's processed... 
 

                                        

                                                                                                                                                - Jack's Room, Duntara



 

Sept. 2019 - I'm running another workshop at Sunbury Shores Art Centre, in the beautiful town of St. Andrews by the Sea in New Brunswick, starting on Monday Sept. 12, and running until Friday Sept. 20, with a choice of taking all 5 days, 3 days, or just one.  This workshop is suitable for all skill levels, and will include field trips and a night photography session.

 

Designed to take advantage of dramatic changes in weather and light during the fall season, this project-based workshop will introduce you to topics such as visual design, understanding light, developing a concept, critiquing, and more. Using the historic seaside town of St. Andrews, NB as our base, we’ll explore the area’s dramatic tides, stunning landscapes, botanical gardens and village life in ways that will inspire and challenge you.

Registration details and course information can be found at Silver Creek Photography.



 

Fall 2019 - From a new series....  "Horizons -  2018 & Dad, 1971" was selected to be part of the TD Thor Wealth Management Juried Art Exhibition, which opened this past August 24th at Quest Art, Midland.   Chosen from over 300 submissions from across the country,  this diptych is one of  32 pieces that are included in the show.  It comprises one of my recent photographs, and one of my dad's taken in 1971...  when digging through his old photographs this past winter, I found strange parallels in his work and mine...  similarities in subject, composition and sentiment which can't be explained.... when printed on an organza panel and overlaid on top of my image, his photograph and mine demonstrate an uncanny sameness.  

 I have to say I am honoured to be part of this exhibition, given the calibre of the jury: Olga Korper (Director, Olga Korper Gallery and recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Art Dealers’ Association of Canada);  Miklos Legrady (Visual Artist & Writer; Toronto Editor of Chicago’s New Art Examiner; and Carrie Shibinsky (CEO for ArtBombDaily; Corporate Curator for Air Canada). 

The exhibition runs until October 24, 2019.

                                         



 

December 2018 - End of a crazy busy year....

Here we are at the end of 2018...unbelievable!  I have no idea where it went, but then again, when I look back through my photographs from this year, I can see exactly where the time went.  It's been a year of travel, inspiring workshops, exhibitions, and ideas for the coming year.



 



 

October 2018 - The Landscape Through A Lens

This past month I had the pleasure of teaching an intensive photography workshop at Sunbury Shores Art & Nature Centre in St. Andrew's, New Brunswick.  What a great time...I made a lot of new friends, explored new places, and am looking forward to going back in September, 2019.  I found more rocks.....
 



 

May 2018 - Outside of Time - Download the Exhibition Catalogue below.

 



 

April 2018 - You're all invited.....

....... to the opening of my solo exhibition "Outside of Time" in Toronto on Saturday, May 5, 2018 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm.....  the show is part of the annual Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival, and will include photographs from my residencies in Newfoundland, Ontario and Alberta & BC.  Abbozzo Gallery is located in the historic arts hub at 401 Richmond...well worth a visit, as there are many galleries, shops and cafe's that will enhance your arts experience.  The show runs from May 3 until June 2, so if you can't make the opening, there's plenty of time to pop in....



 

November 2017 - Sometimes, magic happens.  Trinity Bay, NL.



 

November 2017 - two recent photographs, from opposite ends of the country.  Funny how they are similar...but many millions of years apart in age.  Both are from the "Outside of Time" series.



 

November 2017 - New photographs from "Main Streets & Memories".....  I'm still working on this series, and have been focusing on the Region of Waterloo recently.  These 4 are from Linwood, Elmira and New Hamburg, and were included in my recent exhibition at the Rotunda Gallery in Kitchener.  



 

November 2017 - Save the date...Friday Nov. 24, and check out "Bayscapes"...a fundraising gala held in Toronto, hosted by the Georgian Bay Land Trust to support their efforts to preserve and protect the unique areas along the east coast of the Bay.   I have provided this photograph from my "Outside of Time" series for the art auction...it measures 32 x 48" and is framed and ready to hang.  There are many gorgeous works of art up for grabs...check out the catalogue, and come out for a fabulous evening.



 

October 2017 - We often take our home towns and countryside for granted, and feel we need to travel in order to create better photographs.  I have been guilty of this myself, and think I have to "get away" in order to make new work.  This summer I spent several weeks in Newfoundland again, followed by 10 days in Alberta, with a couple of trips to the Ontario wilderness thrown in at the end.  And certainly my photographs from these trips are (I think, anyway!) unusual and compelling, and I felt inspired and fully immersed in my work while away.  But I think the real issue is not whether we travel to exciting or exotic places, but whether we take the time to look more closely at our own neighbourhood.  This fall has given us some gorgeous weather, and I spent a lot of time photographing in and around Fergus and Elora, challenging myself to look at those often-photographed  scenes with fresh eyes.  It worked!  I have a new appreciation for this place I live in, and realize that just because we see the same landscape every day,  it's no less special than anywhere else in the world.

 



 

Sunday July 23 – That same weekend, I’ll be hosting a presentation of my landscape photographs from the series “Outside of Time”, created during this past year , as a 2016 recipient of the GBLT’s King Family Bursary.  I’ll have large prints on hand and will share stories about my boating adventures & the fabulous people I’ve met.  This event will take place on Frying Pan Island, at the SSCA Community Centre, from 2 to 4.  Rain or shine, with refreshments too!  Check out the details here.



 

Saturday July 22 –  Join me for a photography walk on West Lookout Island near Pointe au Baril.  This one’s a free family event starting with a picnic (swimming optional), then from 2 to 5 pm we’re off to shoot some of the spectacular Georgian Bay landscapes that I love.  Suitable for all skill levels & ages, and will definitely be a blast.  Details are here.



 

May 2017 – Now that the snow has melted, and the ski season is over, I’m looking forward to another busy summer that will be filled with events hare at home and elseware.  This May, check out my work at the Scotiabank Photography Festival in Toronto….“Spectra” is a group show by members from Gallery 44.  Our exhibition runs from April 27 to May 7 at Gallery 1313, on Queen St. West.

Later this summer, I will be hosting two events for the Georgian Bay Land Trust… these are open to everyone….members, future members, or those who simply love photography and Georgian Bay.



 

March 2017 – If you’re planning to take in a fantastic art event this summer, check out the Bonavista Biennele ….  a 50 km loop of art installations and exhibitions in non-gallery settings, situated in historic outport communities of Newfoundland.  From August 17 to Sept. 17.  Needless to say, I’m going.



 

January 2017 – Welcome to 2017, a new year, with exciting things happening for Canada’s 150th birthday.  It’s sure to be a wonderful year, (in spite of the political scene at home and in the US!)  with lots of fabulous arts events planned across the country.

Currently, I have work in the Deep Roots exhibition (Jan. 4 to Feb. 20) at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga, and will be participating in several more shows this year, including Salon 44 (March 10 to 25), an important fundraising initiative for Gallery 44 in Toronto, the annual Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival that takes place in Toronto in May 2017, and the City of Kitchener’s Rotunda Gallery (September 2017).

I will post opening reception dates as they are scheduled, and invite all of you to stop in if you can.  I’d love to see you.

To stay up to date, you can join my e-mail list (link below) or my Facebook page.



 

December 2016 – I’d like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and best wishes for the new year.  I’m a bit sad to see this one end… I’ve had a fabulous time this past year, with another Newfoundland residency finished, and many trips to Georgian Bay and the surrounding areas as part of a separate project.  I’m almost hoping for a few snowstorms so I have an excuse to stay inside and go through the 1000 or so photographs that I made.  I’ll keep you posted with news on exhibitions….. and possibly a book or two.



 

December 2016 – Check out my commercial website for info on workshops and portfolio reviews.  I’ve updated my course schedule and have a few new topics listed.  You can find the details at www.silvercreekphoto.ca.



 

June 2016 – Once again I have had two photographs chosen to be part of the Elora Arts Council’s annual Insights Juried Art exhibition.   These are both new images from this past year, and are two of my personal favourites.  The show opens at the Wellington County Museum in Elora on Wednesday June 15, at 7:00, followed by a jurors’ walk on Sunday June 19,  I’d love to see some of you at one of these events.  Check out the Elora Arts Council website  for more info.



 


May 2016 – I am part of a group show at Gallery 1313 (Queen St. W) in Toronto, as part of the Scotiabank Photography Festival.  “Ellipsis” opens next week and runs until the end of May.  Join us for the opening on Thursday May 12 from 7:00 to 9:00, or come in on Saturday May 14 for our artists’ lectures starting at 2:00.  The exhibition showcases the work of 14 members from Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography in Toronto.  The exhibition website has all the details, and an e-catalogue to get you started.



 

April 2016 – Great news!  I have been awarded a King Family Bursary which is administered though the Georgian Bay Land Trust, on behalf of supporters Wally & Marilyn King, and an anonymous donor.  This funding will allow me to spend time photographing the rugged coast and islands along the eastern edge of Georgian Bay.  This is part of a project that I have been working on for a number of years, and I am pleased and honoured to have been selected for this award.  Check out theGBLT website for more details…..



 

February 2016 – I have new work in the window at the Howard Park Institute on Dundas West in Toronto…check it out on your way by…….

 



 

January 2016 –  Join me for “Main Streets& Memories”, an upcoming solo exhibition at the Minto Arts Gallery in Harriston.  The opening reception will be on Thursday, March 3…..details coming soon.



 

September, 2015 – I recently returned from a residency in Newfoundland, where I have been working on a series of abstract landscapes that play with scale and perspective.  Watch for these in upcoming exhibitions as they are scheduled.



 

July, 2015 –  Exhibition at Gallery 1313, Toronto – on now until July 18  at 1313a Queen St. W., Toronto –  two of my recent photographs were selected for this show….check out the photos from the opening night party here.


Canoe Lake 2014



 

April, 2015 – Solo exhibition at the Wellington County Museum & Archives

My most recent exhibition “Main Streets & Memories” opened on April 10 at the Wellington County Museum & Archives  in Elora.  I was pleased to see so many people from all parts of the County, as well as close friends and family.  For over two years, I have explored Wellington County towns and villages and photographed present day streetscapes using historical images from the Museum and Archives collection as a reference.  Working within the boundaries of the original locations, I adopted a documentary approach to photograph the people, architecture and everyday events.  These interpretations offer insights about permanence and change in the County over the decades. The result is an exhibit of stunning images of everyday life against historical backdrops that will delight and intrigue.

Special thanks to exhibit sponsor, the Wellington County Historical Society.



 

June, 2014 – “Insights” at the Wellington County Museum & Archives

I was thrilled to receive the 1st place overall Insights Award recently at the opening of the annual Insights Juried Art Show, for my photograph “Labyrinth”.  This image is one of my personal favourites, which makes receiving this award even more special.  Insights is hosted by the Elora Arts Council, and attracts submissions in many different art forms from Wellington, Dufferin, Grey/Bruce Counties and the Regions of Waterloo, Halton, and the City of Guelph.  This year’s show marks the 35th anniversary of the exhibition which is held at the Wellington County Museum and Archives in Elora. It runs until the end of August.  it’s a wonderful show of over 65 artworks – I hope you can stop in over the summer.



 

© Sylvia Galbraith, 2020.