Tag Archives: Lionel Stevenson

Back in the 70s

A Documentary Impulse’ Now Open: 1970s Photography of Prince Edward Island Life

New photography exhibition on display until May 2019 at the CCAG

A new exhibition has opened at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery (CCAG) that explores the everyday P.E.I. way of life through extensive documentary photography circa the 1970s. A Documentary Impulse: 1970s Photography of Prince Edward Island Life is on display until May 19, 2019.

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In the 1970s, as P.E.I. was undergoing rapid change, many Islanders began to be concerned about losing their “Island way of life.” It is not a coincidence that around this time many institutions, such as P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation and others, were created to preserve evidence from the past, and to conserve the historic architecture and heritage of the province. Individuals and interest groups were concerned about the effects that tourism, advertising, urban development, and industrialization would have on the peaceful pastoral landscape. Members of the Island agriculture industry and energy sectors held both modernist and anti-modernist ideals and against this setting the back-to-the-land movement demonstrated a renewed interest in renewable energy and a traditional farming lifestyle.

Photographers were commissioned to document everyday life, and were sourced from a critical mass of artists doing documentary projects on P.E.I. at that time. The 1970s remain a peak moment for 35mm photography on the Island. In the 1950s there were amateur photography clubs and commercial photographers. By 1975, many significant photographers were active on the Island, including acclaimed transplanted New Yorker George Zimbel, English documentarian Lawrence McLagan, and former Canadian Photographer of the Year (1966) Lionel Stevenson.

This new exhibition revisits an important 1978 exhibition from the CCAG, Document of Our Times – Prince Edward Island, 1977, which showed a selection of documentary work commissioned as part of a Canada Works project sponsored by the P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation. The idea was that photographers would document, “Life on Prince Edward Island” from May 15 to December 31, 1977. Over 250 rolls of film were shot by Lawrence McLagan, Lionel Stevenson, and Jake Werner, and the 2019 exhibition, A Documentary Impulse, will feature a selection of over 70 images from that project.

Alongside these pictures will be a selection of documentary images by some of the more prominent photographers active in P.E.I. at that time, including Zimbel, Wayne Barrett, and Richard Furlong.

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Back to Life

Local Photographer Exhibits at Watermark Theatre’s Gallery

The distinguished Canadian photographer from New Glasgow PEI, Lionel F. Stevenson, will have his works on display at Watermark Theatre’s gallery this summer.  Mr. Stevenson studied photography in Toronto and was awarded Canadian Photographer of the Year in 1967. In 1977 he founded a commercial photography and design studio, Camera Art in Charlottetown which he operated until his death in 2017.

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Lionel embarked on a great number of photographic projects, including “Elders of Island” which is a collection of 30 portraits of Island elders purchased by the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, a series of architectural books with Scott Smith and “Document of Our Times” a 1978 exhibition at The Confederation Centre that recorded Island life.

In 2012-13 Lionel had a retrospective, “50 Years of Photographs” at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery, which revealed to the viewer the range and dedication of his talent. To quote Pan Wendt, curator of Lionel’s retrospective, “If the photograph has always been a matter of evidence, Lionel Stevenson’s photographs are evidence not only of moments in the past but the lasting strength of the attentive hand and eye.”

The Watermark Gallery is a fine art gallery exhibiting original art created by local artists, it opens to the public on June 26th and is open daily except Sundays until August 31st. Call the theatre for operating hours at 902-963-3963.

For more information please contact Andrea Surich at 902-963-3963 or generalmanager@watermarktheatre.com