Phyllis Lambert, A Way of Life – Michel Hardy-Vallée

[Summer 2023]

Phyllis Lambert, A Way of Life
By Michel Hardy-Vallée


Photography is inextricable from Phyllis Lambert’s career. Architectural surveys, studies of urban space, activism, advertising, project documentation, archives, media relations, and exhibition catalogues are based on this tool, which is as essential to modern life as con- crete. Nevertheless, it is only in the twilight of her life that Lambert has put herself forward as a photographer, and she does so with sincere modesty. Good architects recognize the value of both materials experts and talented workers, and they avoid claiming to have invented the three-quarter-inch screw. Think about how the photographs that Brian Merrett took of Shaughnessy House were seminal in the establishment of the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), or how Louise Abbott’s documentation of the covert destruction of the Van Horne Mansion was the catalyst for Save Montreal and then Heritage Montreal. The visual history of Milton-Park in the photographs taken by Clara Gutsche and David Miller has its counterpart in the citizen activism in which Lambert participated. There was an excellent darkroom, open to the public, in the basement of the old Saidye Bronfman Centre; I spent many evenings there learning about silver gelatin photography at the nadir of its popularity. And, just for good measure, add to the list the CCA’s collection of prints and photobooks, and Lambert’s mentorship of photographers such as Edward Hillel…

[ Complete issue, in print and digital version, available here: Ciel variable 123 – THE POWER OF INTIMACY ]
[ Complete article, in digital version, available here: Phyllis Lambert, A Way of Life – Michel Hardy-Vallée ]