Photo Essay / Essai photographique - Canada's New National Museums

Photo Essay / Essai photographique

Canada's New National Museums

Harry Foster
Canadian Museum of Civilization
Fig. 1 The Great Hall of the National Gallery growing out of the bluffs of the Ottawa River.
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Fig. 2 Café l'Entrée in the Great Hall.
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1 The suggestion from the Editor of the Material History Bulletin to do a photo-essay on the recently opened National Gallery of Canada and the National Aviation Museum conveyed the challenge to capture photographically the statements made by the architects, the institution themselves and the exhibits they contain. I found both institutions to be unique and beautiful responses to their settings and curatorial mandates. Each, I think, work very well. Interestingly enough, both the Gallery and NAM exhibit their objects as works of individual merit. The physical setting in which the objects are shown have to complement the items on display by establishing a mood and by providing a suitable backdrop for them. I think in the Gallery especially the strengths and character of the architect himself are evident in many places. As I worked in and around the building, I found myself thinking of the man and this revealing of himself through his architecture. I hope the photographs which follow effectively transmit the ambiance of the new museums and provide a sense of my own reaction to them. Curators like to say that museum objects speak for themselves. In their own way so do photographs, and I have accordingly limited my captions for each image to a simple identification of the subject matter.

Fig. 3 The Garden Court.
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Fig. 4 The Contemporary Art Gallery with Sandstone Spiral by Richard Long in the foreground.
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Fig. 5 Canadian Galleries Contemporary Arts Society and Alfred Pellan.
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Fig. 6 Entrance to the delta-shaped National Aviation Museum.
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Fig. 7 Curtiss HS-2L, La Vigilance.
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Fig. 8 First World War aircraft showing a Sopwith Snipe in flight.
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Fig. 9 First World War aircraft. Avro 504K trainer, with RCAF memorial in the background.
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Fig. 10 The bush aircraft "island" showing a Noorduyn Norseman IV.
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