Marie-Josée Rousseau, At the Crossroads of Photographic Practices — Jérôme Delgado

[Fall 2021]

An interview by Jérôme Delgado

After a wide variety of experiences; studying sociology, psychology, management, and art history; jobs in finance and communications; and a trip around the world – thirty countries in three years – Marie­Josée Rousseau opened La Castiglione, the only Quebec gallery specializing in photography, in 2014. Through an eclectic program of exhibitions, she worked with both established artists (Normand Rajotte, Serge Tousignant, and others) and young and emerging ones (Janie Julien­Fort, Laurence Hervieux­Gosselin, and others). In 2020, she left the space she was renting in downtown Montreal to make La Castiglione an itinerant gallery. Since then, she has been wondering how things will go.

Jérôme Delgado: Given your personal career, where did you pick up such a strong interest in photography?

Marie-Josée Rousseau: For me, digital photography was a revelation: the autonomy it offers, its speed of execution, and its ubiquity enabled me to conduct an unparalleled exploration of my environment. The medium opened up new possibilities for exploring the people around me and people in foreign countries. My camera quickly became an extension of myself. It was my passport for travelling to distant lands, infusing me with the courage I needed to venture to unknown and inspiring places.

I think that photography helped me to get to know myself better, and to better understand the world around me. It allowed me to explore isolated, inaccessible spots, from which my thoughts drew meaning. I returned from these expeditions inspired, bringing back tens of thousands of pictures, as well as an intense desire to take a deeper look at these fascinating non-places.

When I got back to Montreal, I had to understand my process: to connect the pictures I had taken and those to come with current concepts related to photography; to comprehend more deeply the elements of which a given territory is made; to clarify my ideas and go beyond feelings. Through this process, I met other photographers, and we talked about our respective work. These exchanges gave me a better grasp of what the work of the photographer really is. It means creating a signature, seeking meaning in the proliferation of images (which can drive you crazy!), finding one’s own expression in these constant comings and goings between raw material and the world of ideas, expression that it’s difficult to extricate oneself from, as one returns to it unremittingly. Arriving at an outcome in order to create a meaningful original artwork and hoping that it will have meaning for others…


See the magazine for the complete article and more images: Ciel variable 118 – EXHIBITING PHOTOGRAPHY