Category Archives: Arts & Culture

Invitation: ELEMENTAL Photographic Exhibition

After more than 30 years of shooting and nearly 125,000 images, I’m pleased to announce the opening of my first solo exhibition. The invitation is below; I hope you have the opportunity to stop by.

For complete information on the exhibit, visit www.elementalphotographic.com 
Andrea Cordonier

Exhibition Overview

An interpretation of earth, water, fire, wind and void

Generally, I shoot what’s before me. Partly, that’s a reflection of my time not being my own for so many years. More often than not, I was shooting with kids in tow, who threatened to run onto the road or fall off cliffs, leaving only seconds to capture whatever had caught my eye. It honed my reflexes and made me hyper-aware of my surroundings.

At that time, the sheer amount of data being uploaded to my brain kept me from going mad and released the endorphin rush one would normally ascribe to a sustained period of “flow.” By design and necessity, flow manifested itself in minute and unpredictable packets of time. But limitations are not such a bad thing. They’ve made me a more responsive and intuitive shooter.

When I began sifting through myriad photographs to cull and sort and, finally, choose images that would form this first show, the theme quickly came to the fore. I was reading The Book of Five Rings by Musashi Miyamoto, a Buddhism-infused book by a 17th-century Samurai swordsman which spoke directly to the five elements of earth, water, wind, fire and void, a simple yet striking way to describe the natural forces that repeatedly presented themselves in my work.

We think we can conquer and subsume the natural world. We think we can somehow improve on it, create a more ordered existence. But we can’t. It’s already perfect beyond the shallow limits of our imagination. We have already been granted Paradise in every soil, rock, sky and native plants and trees, and in the sun and rain that have brought life and longevity to this planet. This has been absorbed by my brain and my bones, forever altering the way I see and think and feel. We are inseparable.

But even the most elemental of my photographic pieces have overtures of the human in them, implied if not overt. A distinctive narrative structure reveals itself through detail, bold composition, the use of light and shadow, careful juxtaposition, and select revelation. What is not seen is as critical as what is, demanding a second and third look.

In shaping the show, I’ve been mindful that ELEMENTAL is not a sweeping retrospective but the first public showing of a selection of my work. As such, I’ve focussed on two styles:

On the brick wall hangs a single series of large format colour landscapes entitled “Drive-By Shooting, Saskatchewan.”

The B&W narrative non-fiction are arranged opposite, combining a series (“Ferry Hair”) with individually framed, thematically-connected yet otherwise unrelated pieces.

I have to start somewhere. This is where I’ve chosen to begin. I’m delighted to have you along for the journey.

Andrea Cordonier
www.elementalphotographic.com
August, 2017

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A Psycho House on Top

While most people who drive the I-81 through Syracuse, New York are focussed on the gargantu-signs that foretell their arrival at the state’s largest shopping complex, I am fixated on another architectural curiosity: a decrepit Victorian house on top of an abandoned warehouse. Continue reading A Psycho House on Top

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Nicolas Cage Returns to Burritt’s Rapids

Also see the Facebook Page: Nicolas Cage in Burritt’s Rapids

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In 1986, a 22-year-old shirtless Nicolas Cage starred as world-champion sculler Ned Hanlan in the Canadian film production of “The Boy in Blue,” partially shot in the village of Burritt’s Rapids, Ontario over eight days in September 1984.

On Wednesday, April 19th, 2017, Cage will make a return visit to Burritt’s Rapids, a tiny village in the southwest corner of Ottawa. This time around fans will have to settle for the sweaty, celluloid version of the popular actor. Continue reading Nicolas Cage Returns to Burritt’s Rapids

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Guerrilla Art for Curious People

It took 18 years of rural living for Guerrilla Art for Curious People to surface.

The idea popped into my brain because I love nothing more than discovering public art in unexpected places. Every time I’m surprised by an installation – turning a corner or driving through a neighborhood – my body vibrates, my head alights and I am consumed by happiness. To quote Mr. Whitman, I Sing the Body Electric. Continue reading Guerrilla Art for Curious People

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New York and the MTA Underground Art Museum

I love riding New York’s subway system – just not as much as I love walking the city. 

Riding necessitates paying attention to lines and stops and tracks – my mind can’t wander for fear of ending up in who-knows-where – but walking favours mental and corporeal freedom, especially when time holds no sway.

However, my penchant for perambulation has its downside: walking New York means I’ve all but missed the MTA Underground Art Museum, an Ali Baba-on-steroids-sized treasure trove.  Continue reading New York and the MTA Underground Art Museum

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My Brain on Art-O-Mat®

It’s more fun than Pez and more addictive than crack.

I nearly lost my mind when I stepped into District Taco and spotted the Art-O-Mat® against the wall. It’s a refurbished cigarette machine, but instead of vending cancer sticks, it dispatches micro art pieces for five bucks a hit.

Of course, I immediately started plugging it with money and pulling the levers. Continue reading My Brain on Art-O-Mat®

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“Too fancy and ingenious”: Children’s Books by Adult Writers

Reading to children is inextricably intertwined with the idea of home, comfort and love. These five children’s books by authors better known for their adult writing, are available in first edition form from Peter Harrington, London’s leading rare book firm. And because we all love a good backstory, the home lives of the authors prove as interesting as the books themselves. 

This piece is reproduced with permission from its author, Rachel Chanter, and Peter Harrington Rare Books Continue reading “Too fancy and ingenious”: Children’s Books by Adult Writers

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The Sham of Highest and Best Use

This triplet of houses in Québec City defies the modern logic of “highest and best use” and its inherent rule of being “maximally productive.” It flaunts every last morsel of economic thought except one: It is a keeper of history, and provides a vital and extraordinary point of interest in the city’s viewscape, arguably contributing to the profits realized by the city’s tourism efforts. Continue reading The Sham of Highest and Best Use

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Capital Building: A View from Washington – Part 3

Click here for Capital Building: A View from Washington – Part 1

Click here for Capital Building: A View from Washington – Part 2


Not Set in Stone: Memorials for the Future

The National Park Service (NPS), the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC), and Van Alen Institute collaborated on Memorials for the Future, an international ideas competition that took place between March and September 2016. The goal of the competition was not to directly produce new monuments, but to reimagine how we think about, feel, and experience memorials. 

It called for designers, artists and social scientists to develop new ways to commemorate people and events that are more inclusive and flexible, reflect the country’s diversity in history, heritage and culture, and that enrich Washington’s landscape while responding to the limitations of traditional commemoration. 

The jury chose four finalist teams –  Climate ChronographAmerican WildThe IM(MIGRANT) and VOICEOVER – who offered distinct concepts and approaches.

Continue reading Capital Building: A View from Washington – Part 3

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Capital Building: A View from Washington – Part 1

In spite of the oppressive heat and humidity of August in Washington, D.C., I did what I like to do best: I walked around, looked at things and talked to people. This being my first trip to the capital, I focussed on the National Mall, exploring adjacent neighborhoods, and my relentless pursuit of Guastavino tile

In D.C., security is the conversational opener in the same way people elsewhere talk about the weather. 9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombing were cited as the salvo, the traceable moments in time when Everything Changed. Reduced accessibility was visible on the streets, in screening procedures employed at every public building, and in architecturally-based security features. And what you couldn’t see – the behind-the-scenes invisible – hung in the air. Continue reading Capital Building: A View from Washington – Part 1

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