Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Favourite Foote Photos: Ken Gigliotti

Lewis Benjamin Foote’s photographs are a time capsule of early Winnipeg. They are quiet, strong photos, like silent movies.

These are pictures taken at a time of great change, they are reflections of the hopes and aspirations of a new century. His photographs are significant not because of what the photographer imposes on the subjects but rather the photographer seeing clearly the greatness in the everyday people, places, and events he was present to photograph.

L.B. Foote brings expert technical execution of the very difficult task of photography. There wasn't anything easy about being a photographer in years of the early 1900s. The cameras, the process, and archiving, everything was hard, but the times were also hard.

Foote brought simplicity, order and clarity. The medium was restrictive and bulky, but his pictures are full of interest. There is nothing haphazard, almost every picture is intentional, almost mathematical.

These were optimistic years of building, creating and expanding. He defined the times and place he live in. He created living, breathing representations of the greatness of his time.

Of course, pictures can set the scene, they can tell others where you have been, and what you have seen, they can map tragedy, record greatness, chronicle failure, they can record details of time, place, personality, and changes that might other wise be lost.

Pictures tell stories, reveal character, happiness, joy, ambivalence, sadness. They verify, and quantify, justice or injustice, they can tear down or build up.

A single picture can say a thousand words or next to none at all, it is the photographer’s choice. Pictures reveal passion, THEIRS and Yours.

Pictures look into soul, it is believed they steal spirit, they can expose evil or show the very best our culture has to offer.

Pictures are personal, they are about SOMETHING, they are about SOMEONE, they are about yourself. Pictures are the connection between your brain, your eye, your shutter, and your commitment to the world around you.

We are saying I NOTICED THIS! Lewis Benjamin Foote's pictures are a testament to his time.

His pictures last, they say something about a time that would be otherwise lost.

Pictures start with a subject, but they also have background and foreground. Clothing and hairstyles and automobiles that can be dated. In time the importance of the subject will diminish and the background and foreground will gain in importance.

- Ken Gigliotti

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Ken Gigliotti started at the Winnipeg Free Press as a staff photographer in 1979. He has won numerous awards for his work, including Canadian Press Photographer of the Year (2001), the Western Canadian News Photographers Association News Picture of the Year Award (1997) and three Canadian Press Pictures of the Month. Ken started his career shooting pictures for his high school yearbook in Thunder Bay. He studied photography for two years at Ryerson Polytechnic Institute in Toronto and worked at the Chronicle Journal in Thunder Bay as a staff photographer before joining the Free Press. Ken has contributed to several book projects, including the Free Press’ A Red Sea Rising: The Flood of the Century and The Way We Live in Manitoba, The Winnipeg Jets: a Celebration of Hockey in Winnipeg and the A Day In the Life of Canada project in 1984. Ken has worked with Canadian Press photo teams at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, the Commonwealth Games in Victoria, and covered six Grey Cups. He is married to Sherri and has two grown children, son Jade and daughter Joelle.

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