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Features / May 29, 2008

Geoffrey James: The Landscape and the Camera

Geoffrey James Vimy-Ridge 1993? Courtesy National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa? © Geoffrey James

“Utopia/Dystopia: The Photographs of Geoffrey James” presents more than 80 photographs in a career-long survey of works by the Toronto-based photographer. Recognized as an eloquent interpreter of landscape with his panoramic and large-format cameras, James has been taking photographs since the early 1970s. In the 1980s, his series on historical gardens in France and Italy investigated the overlap of beauty and rationality in the landscape and the shaping hand of human thought. In the 1990s he turned to making images with a less optimistic outlook on the ruined, intrusive landscapes of asbestos mining in Quebec and the brutalist US/Mexico border fence in southern California. This decade he has followed with examinations of suburban and urban landscape. A complementary exhibition, “Geoffrey James: Landscape and Memory” also runs until June 24 at Trépanier Baer in Calgary. (380 Sussex Dr., Ottawa, ON.)