A CBC New Brunswick Book List Selection
"The same stage, but different actors," explains Wilson. "There is something interesting to me about separating people from their environment, about keeping the focus on the individual."
James Wilson’s studio portraits capture subjects from all walks of life. They document soldiers and street people, builders and bakers, artists and labourers. There is an intimate intensity in his photographs, which together form a timeless collage of life and faces from the early twenty-first century.
Wilson’s portraits are also the product of a purposeful gaze, distinctive observations in black-and-white. All window-lit, all photographed in his studio, all with the same black background, these photographic portraits open a door into the worlds and at times the unguarded emotions of the individual subjects.
James Wilson: Social Studies accompanies an exhibition that will open at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton, NB, in June 2020.
About the authors
Architect and art historian John Leroux takes a holistic view of his profession, seeing beyond buildings themselves into the cultural, intellectual and physical landscapes to which they contribute. Born in Fredericton, Leroux graduated from the McGill School of Architecture in 1994 and completed a Masters degree in Canadian Art History at Concordia University in 2002. He has worked at several award-winning architecture firms in Toronto, Atlanta and Fredericton, and also teaches at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design and St. Thomas University. He has won many awards for architectural and public art projects throughout Canada, and has pursued various creative disciplines such as set design for Theatre New Brunswick. A contributing architecture columnist for the Telegraph-Journal and Canadian Architect magazine, he is also the author of three books on New Brunswick architecture: A Fredericton Alphabet, Building Capital: A Guide to Fredericton’s Historic Landmarks, and Building New Brunswick: an architectural history.
James Wilson has worked as a photographer for more than forty years, using large format cameras, both film and digital. Wilson is best known for his landscapes, still lifes, and black and white portrait studies. His work has been the subject of fifteen solo exhibitions and has been featured in numerous group exhibitions. His photographs are also included in many corporate, private, and public collections, including those of the National Gallery of Canada, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, and Canadian Embassies and Consulates in Europe, North Africa, and the United States.
“Wilson shares portraits of the very old and the very young, of the socially prominent and of the outcasts. All of his models are photographed using only natural light against a neutral grey background, a leveling effect that takes nothing away from the inherent dignity of each subject.”
“The book attempts something that photographers have strived for since the advent of the camera — to represent a time and place. One hundred years from now, when a New Brunswicker picks up James’s book and asks: ‘Who am I? Were do I come from? Who came before me?’ they will have 80 answers staring back at them.”
Other titles by John Leroux
Wabanaki Modern | Wabanaki Kiskukewey | Wabanaki Moderne
The Artistic Legacy of the 1960s “Micmac Indian Craftsmen” | Ta'n Koqoey Naqtmuksi'kɨpp 1960ekk “Mi'kmewaqq L'nu'k ta'n Natawiteka'tijik” | L’héritage artistique des Micmac Indian Craftsmen des années 1960
A Natural Balance
The K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre and Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens at Acadia University
Bibliography of New Brunswick Architecture
A Retrospective / Une Rétrospective
Ian MacEachern's Photographs of Saint John
A Vision in Wood and Stone
The Architecture of Mount Allison University
Restoring the Lost Fred Ross Mural
Glorious Light: The Stained Glass of Fredericton
Building a University
The Architecture of UNB