James Wilson

By John Leroux
Photographs by James Wilson

James Wilson
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A CBC New Brunswick Book List Selection

"The same stage, but different actors," explains Wilson. "There is something interesting to me about separating people from their environment, about keeping the focus on the individual. "

James Wilson’s studio portraits capture subjects ... Read more


Overview

A CBC New Brunswick Book List Selection

"The same stage, but different actors," explains Wilson. "There is something interesting to me about separating people from their environment, about keeping the focus on the individual. "

James Wilson’s studio portraits capture subjects from all walks of life. They document soldiers and street people, builders and bakers, artists and labourers. There is an intimate intensity in his photographs, which together form a timeless collage of life and faces from the early twenty-first century.

Wilson’s portraits are also the product of a purposeful gaze, distinctive observations in black-and-white. All window-lit, all photographed in his studio, all with the same black background, these photographic portraits open a door into the worlds and at times the unguarded emotions of the individual subjects.

James Wilson: Social Studies accompanies an exhibition that will open at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton, NB, in June 2020.

John Leroux

John Leroux has practised in the fields of art history, architecture, visual art, curation, and education. He is currently the manager of collections and exhibitions at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. Leroux holds a bachelor of architecture degree from McGill University, a master’s in art history from Concordia University, and a PhD in history from the University of New Brunswick. He was a team member of Canada’s entry at the 2012 Venice Biennale in architecture, and he has taught at the University of New Brunswick, the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design, and St. Thomas University. Leroux is the author or editor of sixteen books, including Peter Powning: A Retrospective, The Lost City: Ian MacEachern’s Photographs of Saint John, and Wabanaki Modern: The Artistic Legacy of the 1960s “Micmac Indian Craftsmen”.

James Wilson

James Wilson has worked as a photographer for more than forty years, using large format cameras, both film and digital. Wilson is best known for his landscapes, still lifes, and black and white portrait studies. His work has been the subject of fifteen solo exhibitions and has been featured in numerous group exhibitions. His photographs are also included in many corporate, private, and public collections, including those of the National Gallery of Canada, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, and Canadian Embassies and Consulates in Europe, North Africa, and the United States.

Reviews

“The book attempts something that photographers have strived for since the advent of the camera — to represent a time and place. One hundred years from now, when a New Brunswicker picks up James’s book and asks: ‘Who am I? Were do I come from? Who came before me?’ they will have 80 answers staring back at them. ”

“Wilson shares portraits of the very old and the very young, of the socially prominent and of the outcasts. All of his models are photographed using only natural light against a neutral grey background, a leveling effect that takes nothing away from the inherent dignity of each subject. ”

“The book attempts something that photographers have strived for since the advent of the camera — to represent a time and place. One hundred years from now, when a New Brunswicker picks up James’s book and asks: ‘Who am I? Were do I come from? Who came before me?’ they will have 80 answers staring back at them. ”

“Wilson shares portraits of the very old and the very young, of the socially prominent and of the outcasts. All of his models are photographed using only natural light against a neutral grey background, a leveling effect that takes nothing away from the inherent dignity of each subject. ”

Reader Reviews

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