I was very privileged to have had done my graduating portfolio on the sisters living at the residence Maison Jesus Marie. I am more privileged still to be able to continue the project. For the senior nuns that I have photographed many have used their portraits for their funeral and obituary. Since I have exhibited my portfolio about half of my Sister sitters have made the transition. This project has really put time in perspective, as well as who if fact gets asked to pose for a portrait. The power of the portrait is powerful. Marie, the last in this series, is the evening nurse and the care taker of these wise women. My aunt Helen (2nd to last) invited her for a photo. When she stepped into the the room I immediately could see her glow in the late afternoon light. It was a pleasure to stop her in her tracks, pose her and capture an essence. She was so ecstatic with the result that I was moved. So often I hear “oh I’ll break your camera” “I’m ugly” “I wish my looks were worth your talent” … if only they could see through my eyes. Through a photographers eyes we see so many more versions and the light that helps to define you. That’s why I am so happy when people who normally don’t pose allow me into their world, and allow me to make a rendition of that moment … all passing moments. By the way the first lady is Sister Theresa who taught at Vincent Massey High School, a teacher I have known since my high school days; and it is a pleasure to allow you to see her smile this way. And as for my center portraits two and three … these are the very special Superior’s who allowed my project to take root in the first place. My deepest gratitude!
Welcome to the bigger picture from the Maison Jesus Marie. These are the pictures that I took while working on my Dawson Portfolio, which was limited to 11 images. Some are studio shots set up on location and others are the sisters in their residence, including some of the people who are part of this community. I have included this years Christmas Recital in this post. These are some very special ladies, all of whom have dedicated their lives to the service and education of others. We need to celebrate their gifts and recognize their contribution to our communities making sure things were done properly. During this assignment I had cause to reflect how they managed the hospitals and the cared for the sick, an environment I know all too well. These days we see how mismanaged these institutions are, a very unfortunate circumstance. How I would love to replace some of the managers I see with these good Sisters of Mercy! At one time these sisters were in the 1000’s and now only a few 100 remain and with each passing month another returns home to God.
At last is has come to present my final portfolio for my Dawson graduation. It has been an interesting semester and process. Initially I was looking at presenting 2 markets, one in portraiture and one in Advertising/Illustration. Unfortunately, this second did not materialize as a series and I concentrated on the portraiture. These 11 images were shot at the residence Marie Jesus, and the women in these photo’s are nuns, all of them teachers and very special people. I especially want to thank Sister Helen from making this project happen and introducing me to this wonderful and warm community, and I also want to Thank Valerie Simmons, my portfolio adviser for her patience and professionalism. Thank you all for this challenging and wonderful experience. Cheers. Postscript: the first sister in my series Julienne Duval born in Feb 1916 died on the 1st of January 2016. She had planed her funeral from A to Z and had used my portrait of her to commemorate her life. I am happy to have had the opportunity to see and capture her smile.