The Scribbler is very happy to have Sylvie as our guest this week. She has kindly agreed to share some of her beautiful photos and participate in a 4Q Interview.
Growing up in a New-Brunswick fishing village it didn’t seem possible that someone could create a livelihood pursuing artistic expression. Being from a very practical family, she steered away from the deep longing to create. But eventually she just couldn’t deny the hunger to live her truest self.
Make-up artistry was her first opportunity. While working as a dental assistant in Moncton, a TV producer landed in the dental chair. That’s where she got her first break landing a daily gig doing make-up on background cast. “I wanted more. I wanted to live in that creative world and pursue my dream of becoming a full-time artist.” says Sylvie. But New Brunswick isn’t exactly a mecca of media production. In her 30th year the opportunity arose to moved to Toronto and pursue make-up artistry more seriously. “I quickly learned that pursuing your dreams is damn hard work. It took me six months to find my feet and when I did I landed in the world of independent Canadian film. I appreciated the opportunity but I couldn’t ignore the feeling that maybe I wasn’t in the most ideal place for how I wanted to fully express myself. I felt the pull into the world of fashion.”
Soon she was collaborating with photographers on everything from make-up & hair to artistic direction. This is where her true love of artistic expression found its’ synergy. Earning a good living doing what she loved while growing as an artist in every way.
Just when she was peaking and finding her stride, everything changed. Pregnancy. Parenthood.
And like others who found themselves as first time parents away from extended family, the pull to go home was undeniable. Artistic expression would have to wait.
“I came home with my eyes wide open and knew that earning a living doing what I loved might not be possible. I tried jobs related to my career and knew, I was trying to recapture what I had instead of accepting the new reality.”
After much introspection and dabbling in other mediums, her heart eventually settled on photography. After all she had stood beside many of the top photographers in Canada and felt confident it was the means most closely aligned to her artistic identity. But instead of a controlled studio space, she wanted to find compelling expression in the world around her. Reconnect with her environment. The more she practiced her craft the more she felt drawn to the world of abstraction & colour.
Instead of merely reflecting back the world around her, small, minute details caught her attention. The more she captured these solemn moments the more she started to find her creative self once again. The more she found her creative self the more opportunity she saw to give it a purpose. And so she did. “My work is about finding beauty in the mundane. And once again, I have found my artistic voice.”
4Q. When did you develop your interest in taking photos?
SM: About 15 years ago. I was working as a make-up artist in Toronto. I had to take pictures of actors for continuity purposes. The industry was just starting to switch to digital from Polaroid and I bought myself a Canon Powershot G3. It was love at first click. I still have it as a matter of fact. The sets were always perfectly lit. I would take advantage of it in my down time to snap away. Plus the streets of Toronto always have something interesting going on at any given time.
4Q: Are your photos planned or spontaneous?
SM: I would say 95% of my images are spontaneous. I have dabbled in still life and staging a few shots but it never looks like it does in my mind’s eye. I prefer letting the subject speak and reveal its self to me. I do give myself themes sometimes like for example only shoot things that are yellow or round or 10 feet from the house.
4Q: Pleased share a childhood anecdote or memory.
SM: Wow a child hood memory.
So many to choose from like picking wild berries with my grandmothers and making homemade jams. Sunday drives down to the docks to get soft vanilla ice-cream from the dairy bar, swimming in the river from sun up to sundown with my feet all cut from chards of glass stuck in the mud, climbing the big pine tree in my back yard to the very top and swaying in the wind, listening to my mom play Fleetwood Mac songs on the guitar, canoeing with my dad, skating on the frozen river & ponds. These are a few of my favourites
4Q: What should we know about your future in photography? Any shows planned?
SM: My vision is to have gallery exhibits around the world but for now I have an exhibit in a local Gallery in Moncton: “The Champlain Dental Gallery”. Yes you read it right. A dental office that also acts as an art gallery and support to local artists.
For a few Sunday’s this summer I’ll be at the local market in Shediac, New-Brunswick
People can also visit my web site and place orders:
Thank you Sylvie for sharing your exceptional shots and for being our guest.
And thanks to you - the visitors. Please leave a comment below.