Getting to know…

Phil Hossack
Phil Hossack

Light

A photojournalist for 40 years, I am in the slow process of unshackling myself from the day to day demands of a nationally recognized career and opening my personal journey in pursuit of light.

The light I seek comes in many forms: The perfect light for photography; the lightness of being that comes with pursuing art with no restrictions; the light of inspiration.

The Storyteller

I continue to tell stories through personal projects, whether documentary, fine art, portrait, wildlife, landscape or street photography. Hopefully in combination. Life can and should be reflected in art.

Freedom from the “shackles of full time employment” comes with its own responsibilities. I was one a of a select few in this country to have the opportunity to pursue a career in photojournalism and to make a good living doing what I loved. Photography became the vehicle used to explore the world and express myself and the things I see. Whether a single image, a “decisive moment” or a selection of images chronicling and describing my encounters along the path.

My parents sometimes accurately described me as lazy, but I’ve always been driven by a voracious appetite to see. Not just to look, but to actually see — to explore and understand. A need to know more.

“Watch,” my father used to say as his patience waned, my early questions about life, things and people were an unfathomable test of his patience. “Look and learn” were his words of dismissal; shrugging off my persistence.

I’ve never forgotten that message…

Ol’number One

The First Camera

I picked up my mother’s camera at the age of five and finished off the roll of film my first day making pictures. Portraits of friends in the backyard. I found my artistic voice, so to speak, right there — framing images in that Box Brownie.

I soon began to ask for more and more film and I’ve never stopped photographing the world around me. It led from hobby to avocation and education as an artist, to a long career and calling.

That camera still sits in my china cabinet today, a small display of where I came from.

That’s a short summary of my story, but I’m here to introduce you to more than a lazy kid who picked up his mother’s camera and starting shooting.

Curiosity in Action

Every story I’ve told with a camera or without started with a question: “What’s that?” or “Who is doing this?” or “Where does this happen?”

Get the picture? These questions have lead me down a visual storytelling path I still follow every day. I share the journey in workshops now too, for novice and experienced visual story tellers alike where we look for narratives to share and ways to turn them into art.

This blog will be one way of getting those questions and visual answers out into the world; to audiences seeking to learn.

Light in Action

Geraldine McManus, Spirit of the White Buffalo
Lockport Pelicans
Valour
Pollock’s Hardware Co-op GM Mike Wolchok
The Sun, eases into the western horizon glowing red through the dust of the fall harvest underway in the Red River Valley .

The Book

Beyond my continued pursuit of photography, I’ve entered into a separate project: an artbook filled with images of Manitoba people, places and light.

Yes, a collection, worthy hopefully, of your own coffee table and library. Writer Mitchell Toews and I are collaborating on a volume of stories and images collected during our past, current and yet to come experience. We’re looking for and finding answers in the stories, the light, landscape and people on our path. We hope to merge visual images with prose to create an ekphrastic dialogue. The stories will include a basic factual narrative — the W5 of the subject matter — as well as related fictional pieces that borrow from reality and add another creative aspect; a hybrid composition made of pictures, words, imagination, and creative collaboration. A joint written/photographic diary of our travels and challenges, adventures and travails will be kept and may well figure into the book project in some way.

The Manitoba Arts Council | Conseil Des Arts Du Manitoba has contributed a funding grant to support the creative development of the project.

Old Friend New Relationship

Author Mitch Toews in the studio he shares with his wife Jan at their Jessica Lake Mb. home.

Mitch and I began our journey together as best buddies around the age of six in Steinbach, Mb. The Hossack family moved away a few years later and Mitch and I lost touch until recently. Some 60 years later our connection is still there and our mutual creative circuits have reactivated for this project.

This book project, however, is another blog, yet to come. We’ve been eager to start for over a year, but COVID-19 has complicated matters. We are holding off in anticipation of unrestricted travel and the ability to visit people and places in person. Both Mitch and I have been vaccinated and await completion of that process. We are watching the government regulations carefully!

Stay tuned, subscribe to these periodical missives, there’s “Answers to questions” segment coming soon.

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