Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Fine Art of Photography




Everyone needs a creative outlet, and for artist Mary Talbot, that outlet is photography. ‘I started with a wonderful point and shoot camera given to me by my mother.’ In her words, she started exploring her passion for photography rather latent in life, a passion that was bursting to come out. She now reflects;  ‘photography has given me serenity’.
Born and raised in Bermuda, Mary acquired an early appreciation of the arts, as her mother was a painter. Her great-grandfather too was a painter, and to this day, Mary feels a connection with him through his paintings of nature and landscapes.

With family ties to the East Coast, she decided to study at a small University in New Brunswick. During her time there, she came to appreciate life in Canada, which included a change in seasons, big trees and wide-open spaces. After graduating with a BA studying Psychology and French, she returned to Bermuda where she worked and saved money for her permanent move back to Canada. She was ready for different experiences; she was ready to widen her horizons.

Starting in Toronto in 1967, she then moved north of Port Hope, a place where the famous author Farley Mowat now calls home. She settled down and raised her family there and eventually she wrote to the well-known author for a job. By the mid 1980’s, Farley Mowat was looking for an editor and Mary was hired. She remains his editor to this day.

It was in the mid 90’s when Mary acquired her next camera. She remembers being inspired by frost on the windows, and did everything she could to get up close and capture the images on film. Disappointed, she just couldn’t get the picture that she wanted with her point and shoot. Farley, noticing her frustration, left, and a little while later came back with a Pentax Spotmatic, which he suggested she try. With manual adjustments Mary found the control she needed to capture the image she wished to share.

It is when this artist gets close up that she finds the abstract in her subject, everyday objects are transformed ‘beyond their familiar documentary appearance’. Her true passion is exploring the world around her through her lens where she finds the unexpected, and Mary responds to the subject best in this way. Looking at her subjects up close, Mary becomes truly absorbed as she discovers the details, the patterns, the textures and how colour plays with everything. The Macro lens allows Mary to choose what to focus on. In her artist statement she reveals ‘we all interpret things individually but, as we reflect on art of any kind, it is perhaps not as important to understand what a subject is as it is to simply feel its essence’.

Mary studied with the distinguished Canadian photographer Freeman Patterson, who remains an inspiration for her to this day. She also pursued workshops with Andre Gallant, Richard Martin and New Zealand’s Sally Mason where she has explored techniques with panning, montages, and multiple exposures. She has travelled with her photography and notes that subjects are ‘wherever you are’. This time of year, when the sun from the south is still low, one of her most favourite places to work is in her own kitchen as the lay of the light coming through the glass reflects the colours. Freeman Patterson wrote in his book Odysseys that light is ‘the most creative physical force in the universe‘.
Speaking of the cover photo, Mary says ‘Combining two images into a montage can produce intriguing photographs. This is the technique used for “Memories of Spring” and produced the desired watercolour painting effect.

To learn more about Mary Talbot, please visit her website at

Also see the Spring edition of The Link magazine now available for pick up near you!