Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 7, No. 4, 2008
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Robert J. Lewis
  Senior Editor
Mark Goldfarb
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Bernard Dubé
Diane Gordon
Sylvain Richard
Robert Rotondo
Marissa Consiglieri de Chackal
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Emanuel Pordes
Serge Gamache
  Arts Editor
Lydia Schrufer
Mady Bourdage
Emanuel Pordes
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Les Cosgrove
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Magdalena Magiera
Charles Malinksy
Marc Fortier
Bernard Dubé
Remigio Valdes de Hoyos
Mylène Gervais
Christina Coleman
Laura Hollick
Louise Jalbert
Rosemary Scanlon
Manitoba Art
The Gambaroffs
Francine Hébert
Marcel Dubois
Ruben Cukier
Raka B. Saha
Purivs Young
William Kinnis & Dominique Tremblay
Gudrun Vera Hjartardottir
Gee's Bend Quilt Collective
Magie Dominic
Ryan McLelland
Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

the photography of

reviewed by


John Gordon's second book, tentatively entitled Langley:The Seasons, will be published in the fall by Friesens Printers in Manitoba. His first book, Langley: Familiar Places, Familiar Scenes, was a best seller in British Columbia.

© John GordonWe naturally have a different appreciation of the photographer than we do of the artist. Artists after all create the paintings we see. They begin with an empty canvas onto which they dab and stroke and smear the colours of their passion and imagination until, by a mystery that even they do not understand, they are finally satisfied. They operate with tortuously demanding dexterity to produce works that are wonderfully original. It’s as if they give birth. By comparison, photographers don’t give birth, they adopt. They capture what is already there, deftly revealing the dynamic of the real world we might routinely ignore.

It’s a common misconception that all that is needed to take a good picture is a camera. Really, how hard can it be? Just point the camera at something that looks good or interesting and fire away. © John GordonBut every now and then we come upon a photograph that unexpectedly seizes our attention, and for a time we are completely captivated by it. Then, we may be humbled to accept how composing a photograph that might illicit some real appreciation is a task that is far more demanding and unforgiving than we ever imagined.

Perhaps it is a little too dramatic to claim that a good picture rescues the world from oblivion. But offering even the smallest thought to that claim begs the conclusion. How many times, for example, have we stood unawares among the wonders around us that, by some inexplicable conjuring, unravel themselves before the photographer’s eyes. Those moments are the ones we spend beside a crumbling stone building waiting for the next crowded bus; or walking past a wilting bed of foxglove; or moving like pigeons through the scatter of those deep sidewalk shadows thrown onto our path by high-rise buildings as they gorge on stolen sunlight.

© John Gordon

There is a basic instinctive response we all have to pictures in which a person is included. No matter how small a single individual may be in the larger picture, our eyes are instantly attracted to him. A good photograph can indeed be a sort of friend or personal place we visit so we can relive or rejoin in a shared experience with whomever is in the photograph. That is so because every individual represents us. © John GordonGood photographs have the potential to help us recognize or ponder what and where and even who we are. There are some pictures we want to have with us because they help ground us and over time become part of our continuity in life.

© John GordonSo here are pictures from John Gordon, a man who cannot help but do what he does. His work comprises the long dissolved miracles he has rescued from the secret world of the obvious. The auras of our passing hang in the air all around these images and we return to our lost moments to discover that is where we were once, where we always were and where we are now and if we cannot take good pictures to do our presence justice, John Gordon can.

For more of John’s work, visit his website:

Photos © John Gordon


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