Carl Snyder received a B.A. and M.L.S. from McGill. Photography had long been of interest so, while working as a librarian, he started moonlighting as a darkroom technician at a commercial photography studio in Montreal. Soon he was assisting on camera and later was hired as a freelance product photographer. Freelancing continued with a move to Toronto and work in several commercial and advertising studios from 1984 – 2009. He became involved with local artist collectives and gallery work when semi-retired in 2009. A move to Wolfville in 2011 has led to new landscapes and associations.
change and history
I concentrate on local and familiar landscapes and how they describe change and history. Some guidance comes from bits of poetry that have stayed with me over the years, including:
“Should we have stayed at home and thought of here?”
– Elizabeth Bishop, Questions of Travel
“The world is not with us enough.” – Denise Levertov, O Taste and See
“I am what is around me.” – Wallace Stevens, Theory
I stay close to my chosen locations and make them what I know. I read their history. Then I use my imagination with photography as my guide.
My landscape photography is known for illustrating the horizontal, near abstraction of form and color we encounter every day. Strong form emphasis is combined with the various color experiences resulting from natural daylight conditions. Although I began work in the film era my work today is strictly digital. Most landscapes are stitched multi exposures, processed only to preserve the detail, atmosphere and colors of the original scene. I do have some direct visual influences, especially Joel Meyerowitz’s (photography) use of color, Rackstraw Downes’ (painter) overwhelming use of panorama and Sarah Jones’ (St. John, NB, painter) landscape abstraction.
in a different world
My work in photography evolved in two different worlds: freelance for hire (1984-2009) in large urban settings (Ontario) and art co-op/small gallery in smaller towns and city (Nova Scotia). The challenge as a commercial freelance was maintaining a large, varied portfolio that would appeal to a variety of clients – product, jewelry and food photography, in studio or on location on large format transparencies. Inherent in the portfolio was my ability to do the job – there was little or no reason to produce academic credentials and certainly no reason to write proposals, grant submissions or artist statements. A strong portfolio and accurate cost/time estimates were what mattered.
Now I find myself in a different world where the written word and a sense of overall artistic direction is required. Curators and gallery owners want to see strong, well articulated concepts. Without a formal education in art I find it difficult to meet these expectations. I have had some success in some smaller galleries in Nova Scotia and since 2013 have been involved with ViewPoint Gallery photography co-op in Halifax. By working with ViewPoint and VANS I will further understand this new art environment.
establishing a professional art practice
I moved to Nova Scotia in the fall of 2011. In January of 2012 I took part in the Annual Acadia University Art Exhibition and learned that VANS is the major province wide organization for visual artists. I became a member that year. Through the VANS directory I’ve been able to network with various artists in the Valley and discover the local arts advocacy community, especially the Culture Conversations of Nova Scotia Communities, Culture and Heritage. I especially look forward to each issue of Visual Arts News.
In 2015 VANS was looking for more regional representation on its Board of Directors so I joined the Board at the 2015 AGM in Mahone Bay. I’ve recently joined the membership review committee in an effort to help clarify how VANS can best define and respond to the concept of membership. Being involved with VANS is helping me understand how to identify and resolve the issues of establishing a professional art practice.
series of large panorama landscapes
I’m currently completing a series of large panorama landscapes that reflect remnants of early Acadian/Planter settlement in the Wolfville area. This work involves experiments that combine elements of digital printing and hydraulic jack printing pressure treatment of the photo paper. We’ll see…