Pierre Mineau

Pierre has owned a camera and has been a photographer since the age of 12, growing up in rural Qu├ębec. One of his early experience was watching his father at work in his basement darkroom. Black and white print making became his main method of expression and the 70s, 80s and 90s saw him enrolling in evening college photography classes in darkroom technique, sensitometry and lighting while learning to use a 4X5 field camera, calibrating his equipment for the zone system and drawing inspiration from the likes of Ansel Adams, Edward Weston and Minor White. Like many of his peers, he has made a transition (albeit partial) to the digital medium and enjoys the huge latitude that is now offered by these new tools while staying true to the essence of what makes a great photograph – composition as well as the skillful use of light and shadow.

His background as an environmental scientist has given him an appreciation and love for the natural word and its intrinsic beauty. He often seeks areas protected from the abuses humans have heaped on nature and, when the human element does enter into his photography, it tends to reflect days gone by when we were in a more reasonable equilibrium with the other inhabitants of our shared planet. He has a fondness for parks and other natural areas but also for the little out of the way corners of towns and villages where pedestrians still rule and where wood, field stone and slate trump steel, cement and ashphalt.

This year’s entries in Photosynthesis 2014 hail from two different portfolios – both expressions of our questioning and reflection about the divine. Two of the images (Despair, and Cat nap) are from a series of haunting images taken in the La Recoleta cemetery in Buenos Aires earlier this year, where the rich and famous are buried amidst a stylistic jumble of mausolea spanning almost 200 years. The other images (Great Hall, Chapel and Wine press no. 12) are taken from a series taken at the Eberbach cloister in Germany in 2012. These photographs exude the gentle and quiet serenity of contemplative days gone by. The empty chairs in the chapel are a particularly poignant reminder of the gradual loss of monastic life as a human enterprise.