CANADA WITH LOVE/ CANADA AVEC AMOUR
Volume 10 Number 4.
Few books have arrived on the market with as much fanfare as has Canada With Love/Canada avec amour, a compilation of colour photographs chosen by Lorraine Monk, whose previous publications were Canada: A Year of the Land and Between Friends/Entre amis. Ostensibly published to mark the patriation of Canada's constitution as well as her 115th birthday, this book comes complete with impeccable credentials, containing as it does a preliminary statement by Prime Minister Trudeau, an embossed insert with message from Governor General Schreyer, a prologue by Harold Town, and an epilogue by Louise Gareau-Des Bois. The fifty photographs included in Canada With Love/Canada avec amour were the winning entries in a competition whose theme was "Searching for a Canadian Landscape." Each photograph is at least full page in size, with some spread out over two pages, and is accompanied by a facing page containing a fragment of text, prose or poetry, by a Canadian author. Unfortunately, this double-barrelled approach to Canadian nationalism does not work effectively, as in quite a few cases, there is little correlation between the image displayed in the photograph and the image created or evoked by the text. For example, a picture by Sherman Hines depicting ominous blue-grey storm clouds hanging over a wheatfield near Olds, Alberta, has been paired with a quotation from Paul Kane that alludes to a warm, hazy Indian Summer evening.
The photographs have been reproduced with exquisite care, ensuring that the colours have an almost supernatural glow to them. Practically all depict landscapes devoid of humans or human artifacts. Where buildings such as farms or rural houses are included, they seem to be part of the natural landscape. As a consequence, the images tend to melt and blend into each other, rather than stand out as unique. Two photographs that are memorable are Michael Gilbert's "Tobermory, Overlooking Georgian Bay," and Shin Sugino's "Point Pelee, Ontario." The former is the only one in the book to feature a human figure as an integral compositional element and is extremely reminiscent of an Alex Colville painting. The latter photograph whimsically depicts a pink straw hat bedecked with green ribbons magically suspended in air above a wooden walkway.
Although this book is not the masterpiece it pretends to be, it is, nevertheless, a useful addition to a library's Canadiana collection, for it would be of interest to students of art and photography as well as the general reader.
Susan Morrison, Nelson A. Boylen S. S., North York, ON.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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