[Winter 1996-1997]

by Franck Michel

CVphoto, as our readers have undoubtedly noticed, has been progressively acquiring a new image; we have improved the overall graphic layout and made some changes to the cover page. As of this issue, the space allotted to exhibition reviews has been expanded. From now on, we will be able to cover exhibitions held outside of Montreal, elsewhere in Canada, and abroad.

In issue 37, we bring together the very different approaches of artists Lynne Cohen, André Jasinski, and Miki Gingras. The theme of place is what unites them.

For several years now, internationally renowned Ottawa artist Lynne Cohen has sought out the lifeless interiors of the precincts of power, of finance, of education, and of science. Her photographs make up an ironic and rather biting prospect of our society and its institutions. In a very different direction, Belgian photographer André Jasinski walks the city streets at night, searching the ruins of a past and present-day industrial society. In Brussels and Geneva, he finds unprecedented images of strange sites left to their nocturnal silence. Montreal artist Miki Gingras pursues her ongoing series questioning historical truth. With her latest body of work, Acculturation, the photographs of an abandoned boarding school in northern Quebec revive an occluded chapter of the alienation of First Nation peoples by assimilation into white society.

Whether poetic, critical, or political, the strength of these three artists lies in the resolute actuality of their images. Although at times highly subjective, their photographs clearly convey a sense of the present of cities, lapses in history’s memory, as well as the disquieting feeling of empty interiors in high places of capitalist society.

This winter’s Point de vue essay has been written in English by Montreal artist and theoretician Cheryl Simon. Her dense but necessary text questions the concept of “visual culture,” while discussing photographic theories of recent years. Point de vue is appearing in English for the first time. Although we are unable to produce integral translations of this column, we believe bilingualism to be an important feature of our magazine, and will henceforth publish Point de vue in French or English, as need be.

Over time, I have noticed that this page tends to be rather generous to photographers, while making too little mention of the authors, critics, and theoreticians who contribute to CVphoto. A few words on this topic seemed called for. Above all, I’d like you to know that the writings published in our magazine are important to us. Apart from providing an opportunity to partake in the very pleasure of reading, our texts contribute to a better understanding of the different artistic approaches and issues raised in contemporary photography. Be they younger or established, whether from here or elsewhere, the authors we commission know how to be interesting and knowledgeable without indulging in abstraction. We choose our writers very carefully and, as is the case with the photographers, we feel strongly about supporting rising talents. This being said, I hope you will appreciate the work of our authors just as much as you do that of the artists: CVphoto is about images, but it also speaks in words.

Happy reading!