The Odour of the Planet

[Fall 1996]

by Franck Michel

Not one day passes that the media don’t mention the issues of globalization, internationalization, and disappearing borders. Our planet is, after all, becoming quite small. Starting with this issue, CVphoto has decided to join in the party. From now on, this magazine will no longer deal exclusively with photography from Quebec and Canada: we are taking on the international scene. Thus, you may occasionally find in these pages the work of a foreign photographer that we found particularly interesting.

This opening to the world at large should not be seen as evidence of a qualitative or quantitative inadequacy of photographic production in Quebec or Canada, nor of a lack of interest regarding this production. On the contrary, it is a sign of excellent artistic health to be able to present works from here and abroad on an equal footing. The juxtaposition of Canadian and foreign artists will enable our readers better to situate and understand current artistic production. As for our artists, they have reached the stage at which it is essential to provide them with an entry to international diffusion networks. Indeed, it is by entering into contact with foreign production that Canadian production will gain in prestige and recognition – and it is high time that Canadian granting agencies realize this. Creating cliques, local or national, has never led a culture to flourish and emancipate itself. Art is no longer a national question: a brief visit to any international photographic event would convince anyone of this.

Thus, for this first “international” issue, we have chosen to present the work of French photographer Arnaud Claass. His work, diametrically opposed to computer-graphic experiments and other manipulations, presents us with silent, purified images – perfect moments of grace. One might say that his work is the very definition of “poetic” photography. This characteristic is also found, though in different treat­ments, in the two other portfolios in this issue: Serge Clément portrays fleeting moments, simple stories of shadow and light, while Katherine Knight proposes a meditative reflection on water, memory, and signs.

To conclude, I would like to thank the board of directors of Productions Ciel Variable, and the publisher of CVphoto, Marcel Blouin, for offering me the position of editor-in-chief. Although I have many new ideas to contribute, I intend to fulfil the challenge laid down by Robert Legendre and his team: to produce a high-quality magazine devoted to contemporary photographic practices, notwithstanding today’s dreary economic and social outlook. I will take this opportunity to emphasize Robert Legendre’s excellent work during the four years that he was co-editor of CVphoto. First of all, he managed to pull the magazine from the abyss it had fallen into several years before, and then he raised its quality to today’s level and established its pedigree. We are all extremely grateful to him.