COMMENTARY: What I have discovered from seeing the environment by means of a camera lens

Anne Launcelott is a journey and street portrait photographer primarily based in Halifax. She has exhibited in team shows across Canada, the United States and Europe and has had lots of prosperous solo demonstrates in Halifax. Her work is in the Nova Scotia Art Financial institution the Canadian Basis for Chinese Heritage Preservation, Toronto and the Photography Museum of Lishu, China. “‘We Are Nova Scotia,’ 100 portraits by Anne Launcelott,” is offered at Chapters and Indigo bookstores across Nova Scotia, and on-line at, and Signed copies are available at Bookmark, Spring Backyard Road and at In A Box Items, Dresden Row, Halifax.

By Anne Launcelott

“To travel is to discover that everybody is mistaken about other international locations.” — Aldous Huxley (1884-1963), British creator

When I was in Russia in 2018, I was travelling and photographing with two achieved images buddies, a person a Russian and the other Taiwanese. My Russian mate asked me why I photograph, and devoid of hesitation I answered, “because I love to.” This turned out to be the consensus for all 3 of us and no doubt the cause why we have enjoyed travelling together on different photographic excursions.

To explore the rhythm of daily life in a new location, one particular need to working experience it. I do this by discovering all the back again streets, camera in hand, observing and recording daily lifestyle, striving to capture the personalities of the inhabitants.

At the age of 15, I been given a Brownie instamatic digital camera as a birthday gift from my father and I have been using pictures ever considering the fact that. I have constantly pursued a variety of artistic expressions and attended the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design from 1978 till 1983, majoring in ceramic hand-developed sculpture.

For over 25 decades I labored largely in black and white film photography and experienced a darkroom to develop my own prints. My major topics had been my little ones, and I photographed them through their childhood as they went about their daily things to do. Now that that I’m an vacant-nester, I have time to go after my really like of vacation and pictures. When photographic film, chemical compounds and paper grew to become unachievable to acquire, I gave in to the electronic medium and begun to photograph generally in color.

Strangers would invite me into their houses so that I could photograph them and would then give to share their scant food with me.

I am self-taught and my private fashion has developed by just “shooting.” I’ve attended workshops with some of the greatest photographers in the planet. My 1st was with Michael Wooden, who taught Miksang Pictures. Miksang is a Tibetan term this means “good eye.” It is a contemplative type of photography that focuses on mastering how to look and see.

A workshop with New York Metropolis street photographer Jay Maisel greatly affected my use of colour, light and gesture. A workshop with Catherine Karnow taught me to gradual down and actually get pleasure from anything a new location has to give, not just the photographic options. Workshops with Steve McCurry actually opened-up a entire new planet of pictures. It was by my travels with Steve that I fulfilled some amazing people who have develop into existence-prolonged pals and the greatest travelling companions.

Drying rice, Ashuganj Bazar, Bangladesh.  - Anne Launcelott photo
Drying rice, Ashuganj Bazar, Bangladesh. – Anne Launcelott image

When I attended my very first photographic expedition with Steve McCurry to Burma (Myanmar) in 2012, my artistic journey morphed into a enthusiasm combining road portrait images with visits to international locations where I experience I have travelled again in time. My fascination with cultures that are diverse than my individual has affected my want to journey to new and unfamiliar destinations.

Producing magic

My portraits have a tendency to be environmental they are taken in the subject’s organic location, in their dwelling or office, and illustrate the subject’s lifetime and surroundings. I by no means seek out to pursue a individual narrative, but rather I photograph what “stops” me. I am captivated to colour, texture and light-weight, and these elements present a abundant backdrop for my topics.

At times my images are shot candidly to seize a decisive minute and at other periods my topics are really informed of my presence. Getting close and interacting with persons, frequently by speaking with hand gestures, fosters a shared trust that will occasionally final result in something magical going on. A photograph has the skill to history an emotion in a fraction of a next. I want my photographs to say one thing about lifestyle and the human situation and to pull the viewer in by telling a story via that imagery.

Anne Launcelott, a self-portrait. “To discover the rhythm of life in a new place, one must experience it,” she writes. - Anne Launcelott photo
Anne Launcelott, a self-portrait. “To find out the rhythm of existence in a new spot, a single should practical experience it,” she writes.

In 2020, I was approached by SSP Publications, a area publishing organization in Halifax, to journey around my house province to acquire 100 portraits additionally a picture putting each individual of them in context. With intercontinental travel at a standstill due to COVID-19, this challenge could not have appear at a more opportune time. I ordinarily obtain it hard to photograph at household, I suspect because anything is common. I experienced to assume creatively about how I could keep correct to my design and style of vacation photography while taking the portraits for the e-book.

When successive pandemic lockdowns and ongoing limitations proved demanding, this was a most gratifying expertise. The final result is “‘We Are Nova Scotia,’ 100 portraits by Anne Launcelott,” printed in Could of this calendar year, with a forward by Premier Tim Houston.

Lessons realized

My travels to countries with numerous cultures has taught me that as humans we share a common bond called humanity. We all have the means to enjoy, to treatment, to be form, to be compassionate, demonstrate empathy, be fantastic-hearted and generous.

Strangers would invite me into their residences so that I could photograph them and would then offer to share their scant meal with me. Moms nurtured their little ones with appreciate, and all were being anxious about meals and well being care. This was expressed so succinctly by a mom from the Kara Tribe in the Omo Valley of Ethiopia, where foods is scarce and entry to a medical professional is unachievable.

The ladies at the bus stop, Rybinsk, Russia. - Anne Launcelott photo
The women at the bus prevent, Rybinsk, Russia. – Anne Launcelott image

One particular of the most typical bonds among the folks is the cellular cell phone. Anyone has a cellphone, and even in remote communities in Burma, men and women would be glued to their mobile phone, both playing games or earning mobile phone phone calls. The exception was in the Omo Valley, in which the men and women reside off the land and have no functioning drinking water or electricity, and absolutely no online service.

Young children are small children and enjoy the identical game titles everywhere you go in these types of a carefree way. No make a difference which country I was travelling in, men and women were helpful and welcoming, and inspite of not talking the exact language, I have experienced a special bond with some of the females who shared some thing of themselves with me. A Vietnamese mom of a boy or girl that was born with deformities from Agent Orange showed me her wedding day images and was capable to express her sorrow about her kid. She was worried about his education and learning because the loved ones did not have ample dollars to go on sending him to faculty.

The most profound lesson I have realized from observing the entire world is that we really are not so unique following all.

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