“To me, this is the most exciting moment in the history of photography. The potential to explore things that we’ve never done in a still photograph are so great. . . I’ve been very conscious of using new technologies in the medium to push the medium outward …I find that by creating images that have an inherent beauty, people will look at them for just a second, and if I get you for just a second, then I think I can make you think a little deeper about what I’m showing you . . . The power of the single image is the way.”
[Stephen Wilkes in conversation with Peter Simpson of the Ottawa Citizen, prior to his artist exchange events in Ottawa, Canada, in November of 2015]
Art in Embassies and the Embassy of the United States in Ottawa, in partnership with the National Gallery of Canada (NGC), welcomed renowned American photographer Stephen Wilkes for the fourth lecture in the Contemporary Conversations series on November 19, 2015.
Contemporary Conversations brings internationally recognized American artists to Canada for a series of public lectures at the NGC intended to stimulate conversation around issues that transcend borders, and topics that inspire, teach, and create connections. Photographs by Wilkes were also on display as part of the Art in Embassies exhibition; Wilkes’ photograph Corridor # 9, Island 3, Ellis Island (1998) was featured at the U.S. Embassy Residence and Presidential Inauguration, Day to Night (2013), was hanging at the U.S. Embassy.
While in Ottawa, Wilkes was able to reach numerous audiences; he was a guest on the CBC radio program All in a Day, as well as CTV’s Morning Ottawa. He also participated in an interactive conversation held at the U.S. Embassy with an audience made up primarily of post-secondary students in international relations, political science, and photography. The discussion focused on the theme of “Photography as an Agent for Change.” The Contemporary Conversation at the NGC auditorium that same evening continued this theme, which was explored in more detail during the discussion between Stephen Wilkes and U.S. Ambassador to Canada, Bruce Heyman, before an engaged audience. The talk was simulcast to the Gallery’s lecture hall for the overflow crowd.