MARK WALTON

Mark Walton is the editor of foto:RE|VIEW magazine, and founder of the foto:RE collective. He was a director and curator of FLASH | CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHY HERE, a festival of photography held in Waterloo Region 2015-2017. He is the curator of The Stanley Rosenthall Collection of photography and the author of COMPLICITY, an autobiographical photographic exploration of the life of a reluctant colonialist.

Mark is the founder of The Covert Collective and publisher of curated.

foto.re  | @mwaltonphoto

Posts by Mark

Faking Death

Penny Cousineau-Levine
Faking Death
Canadian Art Photography and the Canadian Imagination
McGill-Queen’s University Press

Penny Cousineau-Levine’s “Faking Death” is considered by many to come closest to defining the characteristics of “Canadian” art; specifically the photographic arts but her conclusions can be applied to visual, performing and literary arts as well. She posits that the photographs she used for her study (all artistic photos by a select group of artists taken between 1950 and the 1990’s) are rarely about the referent… as she puts it, “a pipe in Canadian photography isn’t usually a pipe. It’s probably a crucifix”. This “dislocation” is at odds with straight American documentary photography, where the “truth” of the image is its most important characteristic.

The book, although academic in tone (indeed it was written in an attempt to describe to her university students the notion of a Canadian tradition of art), is a captivating read and draws many more fascinating conclusions. Once enlightened by her observations, you can’t help but see the characteristics she lays out in almost every piece of Canadian work.

This book is a MUST read for all Canadian artists and art lovers. It is available at McGill-Queen’s University Press. ~ Mark Walton

Christina Z. Anderson – Cyanotype: The Blueprint in Contemporary Practice

Christina Z. Anderson
Cyanotype: The Blueprint in Contemporary Practice
A Focal Press Book, Routledge

Cyanotype: The Blueprint in Contemporary Practice is THE book you need if you want to learn how to create stunning cyanotype prints. Written by Christina Z. Anderson and available online, it offers detailed notes on formulas, papers, digital negatives and the actual process itself, as well as highlighting the work of contemporary cyanotype artists. Anderson is also the author of similar books on gum prints and salted paper prints. I’ve included 2 of my test images using her processes below. ~ Mark Walton

Untitled, from Joe Martz’s Underpass series

Waterloo Ontario based photographer and graphic designer Joe Martz has a strong eye for the architectural. His ability to capture the beauty in the details and structure of buildings and infrastructure we barely notice as we walk by them is powerful. One cannot help but begin to seek them out on one’s own after seeing his work.

A member of the foto:RE collective, Joe seeks the “strong lines, patterns and symetry” of a subject and often tries to find an “abstract perspective to present a different view”.

Joe’s work can be found on Instgram @joemartz and at joemartz.com – Mark Walton

Ana Žanić – One Breath

The first time you see Ana Žanić’s watercolor and pencil artwork is like taking a sharp blow to the limbic system. Every one of your senses screams “I know this” but cannot figure out what “this” is or why it knows it. They take on the form of something both organic and subliminal, communicating to us of the past (back to pre-history) and our deeply troubled emotional state we find ourselves in through the pandemic.

Her colour palettes are very natural and gently reassuring… mother earth will take us back into her bosom and help us heal. The meticulous marks speak of long journeys past, and reach out to our future selves to remind us that we have struggled before and have overcome those obstacles… we can do it again.

I reached out to Ana and asked her a few questions.

Click! The Photography of Stanley Rosenthall

“Photography to me is like a kid playing in a sandbox…”

Alors on danse

Ashley Guenette’s Alors on danse (Let’s Dance) is one of a series of animal acrylics she has created that are a cross between Canadian myth and Aesopian fable. They are definitely “of the north” and express how closely connected we are to the land from a cultural standpoint in this country.

You can find Ashley on Instagram and at ashleyguenette.com

~Mark Walton

Patti Smith – Land 250

Patti Smith
Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain
Currently Out of Print, copies available on Amazon or at specialty bookstores.

Patti Smith Land 250 is a collection of images taken by the legendary musician/artist/poet using her beloved Polaroid 250. The 250 camera creates instant images using polaroid (and later Fujifilm) peel apart instant black and white or colour film, whose production was discontinued in 2016. The camera is unforgiving, relying on a small electronic sensor to automatically set exposure, leaving the photographer only to select focus and composition. Smith plays it like a violin, coaxing romantic, sonorous photos of everything from a taxidermized bear to the gravesite of Yeats.

There is a beauty in the photographs that comes from both the subject matter she chooses but also inherent to the time period in which the camera was created. It is a tool of the 1960’s and reminds us, like all photography, of things past, frozen for an instant and captured for posterity.

~ Mark Walton

Saul Leiter Early Color

Saul Leiter
Steidl
Currently Out of Print, copies available on Amazon or at specialty bookstores.

Saul Leiter – Early Color is a must have for the library of any street photographer who shoots in color. Leiter’s work is not as confrontational as that of Robert Frank and seeks to find moments of the sublime in every day life and scenes. Shooting with expired and “artisanal” films in the 1950’s gave Leiter a palette unmatched by others, making Early Color breathtaking in it’s ability to capture one with a block of red and yellow on a taxi, or to draw you in to the lives of those sitting behind a window in a New York café.

Originally a rabbinical student (Leiter’s father was an important Talmud scholar), Leiter rebelled against his parent’s hopes for him and started shooting black and white fashion photography in New York. He embraced color before many of his contemporaries.

~ Mark Walton

Homage II

Angela Reilly’s Homage II was one of those magical experiences where art can just overwhelm you. Sitting in a pub in Glasgow on my first night ever in the UK, a series of 5 portraits hung around the room had my full attention. From a distance I thought I was looking at photographs, but close up, it was so much more. You can practically see the blood coursing through the swimmer’s veins trying to warm her up. Angela won the National Portrait Gallery’s Portrait Award in 2006 and shows regularly in the UK.

You can find Angela on Facebook, and on Instagram.

~ Mark Walton

Prairie Gothic

George Webber
Rocky Mountain Books, 2013
$50.00 CND

If I was asked to pick 1 book of Canadian photography to be on a desert island with, it would be George Webber’s Prairie Gothic. I was lucky enough to be in Calgary when George had an exhibition at the small Art Gallery space downtown in 2008. The work, much of it from this book, changed me. Much like Walker Evan’s photographs in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men and the American south of the depression era, Prairie Gothic is a momentous testament to the landscape and people of the Canadian West.

georgewebber.ca

~ Mark Walton