Life in the Knife Exhibition

On September 29th I held my first solo exhibition at the Shenkman Arts Centre in Ottawa.  It was the culmination of more than two years work on the project and one year putting it together.  I learned much in the process and have a new found respect for the art of exhibition design.  I am very proud to see my images professionally framed (by Morgan of Wallack’s) and hanging in such a beautiful space.  I had wanted to share my experience living North of the 60th parallel in a more tangible way than sharing them online, while hoping at the same time to possibly inspire more Canadians to visit the great white north.

I certainly couldn’t have done it alone and am totally appreciative of the guidance I received from SPAO (School of Photographic Arts Ottawa) and the financial support from ARTicipate and the City of Yellowknife. Thanks also to Fujifilm Canada who have supported my work by ensuring I had the latest and greatest camera equipment while living North of the 60th parallel. Huge thanks to my friend Bill Braden for his curatorial text and his wife Val for the tasty Northwest Territories High Bush Cranberry and Blackberry jams. Thanks to my husband Eddie who baked approximately three dozen Bannock loaves to serve our guests. And thanks to Mike Taylor of the City of Ottawa who so expertly guided me through the entire process. And finally thanks to all my friends and fans who came out to view my exhibition and for your kind comments.  

Curatorial Text

Yellowknife is the kind of place that brings out the best in a photographer.

Maybe it’s the light… our 24 hours of summer daylight are so rich and fluid, you can drink them. In the deep of winter, the light is crisp and crunchy, like the dry snow under our Steiger mukluks.

It might also be something about the people who live here. We’re truck drivers and government guys and Dene elders and mobs of restless kids, every one of us with a vibrant face that wants to tell the lens our whole story.

Then again, it’s gotta be the land, the water and the sky. Crafted by nature’s ancient hand billions of years ago, the old grey rocks under us, the diamond-clear water around us, and the vast sky above us, waving with green and magenta aurora, are our soul.

Dyanne Wilson, in her two brief years as a Yellowknifer, nailed all of this. The proof is in her natural curiosity and her own photographic voice, evident in the clean, precise way she composes and edits her images. Each print tells us a story, revealing something about who it portrays, or the kind of day it is, or why that horizon or that cloud is important.

Dyanne and I met by chance, on the late spring ice one evening at the Government Dock in Old Town in 2016, when we spotted each other’s Fujifilm cameras and said hello. Since then, we’ve traipsed over the rocks, shot the aurora, and her technical adroitness solved many technical tangles for me.

I’m sorry that my “Fuji Buddy” left town so soon, but I’m proud to see her telling her stories about Yellowknife here in Ottawa.

Bill Braden

July 2019

Bill Braden has lived in Yellowknife and Whitehorse since 1964. He runs billbradenphoto, a commercial photography, editorial writing and aurora guiding service.  He has authored four photo books on northern topics. 

And if you haven’t yet seen the show, it isn’t too late!  The show will be on until October 22nd.  I hope you get a chance to drop by. 

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