About Eric Boutilier-Brown
I am a Canadian photographer who lives and works in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I currently divide my time between teaching photography through PhotoWorkshops.ca, and pursuing my fine art photography. I have been involved with the arts since a very young age, mainly due to my mother’s career as an Arts Educator and artist. When I’m not working on my photography or teaching, I enjoy time with friends, listening to music and reading.
Without a doubt, I would say that Edward Weston was my biggest influence. His work, both nudes and otherwise, have always represented the highest ideal of visual aesthetics for me. Other influences would be Robert Mapplethorpe, Walker Evans, Joyce Tenneson, Joel-Peter Witkin, Fredrick Evans, and Alfred Steiglitz (more for his ideas and style, though I do enjoy his images as well). More than anything though, I’d say my biggest influence would be the hundreds of photo books and magazines I’ve poured through over the years, both for the entertainment and the education they provided.
2010 was another successful year, with another solo exhibition, this time focusing on my work with frozen flowers. Frozen Light was my most successful exhibition to date, both in terms of public reception, and sales. In the summer, I traveled again to the UK, this time spending a week teaching in Cornwall, which was followed up with another week of photography - specifically focusing on almost a dozen cathedrals and abbeys in South-West England. This work will be the focus of an exhibition in 2011 titled Symmetry in Stone.
2008 had two distinct highlights - a highly successful exhibition of my water Nudes, “Memory of Water” in Halifax in the spring, and then a 17 day trip to Scotland, working with four models over the first two weeks of the journey.
In 2007, to celebrate the end of my 20th year of photographing, I released Portfolio XX, which, when coupled with the earlier Portfolio XV, present a strong survey of the first two decades of my work.
In 2006, I moved back to Halifax after living in New Brunswick for four years. This saw me returning to my hometown, and the city in which most of the models with whom I am fortunate enough to work with, live. Since returning, my company, PhotoWorkshops.ca, has seen consistent growth, offering a broad range of pre-scheduled classes and one-on-one training for the Nova Scotian photographic community, and international Photography tours..
Turning Points and Milestones
In the late summer of 1995 I posted my first web site, the great-grandfather of this one. It was my first foray into digital imagery, and has proved a successful one by almost any measure. I continue to expand and develop this site, and think I have been successful at making each new incarnation better than the one it replaced.
In the fall of 2005, I made a complete shift to digital cameras, selling the last of my film equipment, and investing in studio lighting and digital printing equipment. The decision was prompted by a variety of changes in my personal life, and the experience of producing Miranda, the New Brunswick Portfolio. With the shift to digital, for both image creation, and printing, I can now access all my historical images (both film and digital), and create new images of the quality I have always demanded from my work.
The first major shift in my working process since 1991 took place in 2001; I changed my main camera from a 4"x5” view camera to an 8"x10” camera, a larger camera format which demands more from the photographer and subject both. In 2002, I sold of my 4"x5” camera, and focused on using 35mm, medium format, and 8"x10” camera. In 2003, both the 35mm cameras and medium format were set aside for a digital SLR; this left me workign with only two cameras system for the first time since 1987 (one film and one digital).
In 1999, I completed my first public portfolio, the Alberta Portfolio, which marked a new step in my work. Funded though an advanced offering of the portfolio, the Alberta project was the most intense period of photography in my life, and yielded a very strong body of work. In 2001, I completed my second portfolio, Cassandra, the Nova Scotia Portfolio, and 2003 saw the release of Portfolio XV, marking 15 years of working with the Nude.
It was not until 1988 that I made my first nude photographs, and those were hesitant, floundering more than anything else (I had drawn the Nude since I was 14, but never had the nerve to ask someone to model for photographs until I was 19). Since then, I have been concentrating more and more of my creativity on the human figure, pursuing something that is for me ever elusive, but at the same time, ever present. In 1991, I began to use the view camera extensively, and this, combined with enough spare time to really work on my photography, pointed me in the direction which I would follow for the next fifteen years.
I received my first camera, an Olympus OM-10, when I was seventeen, and began exploring photography using an ill-equipped darkroom in my high school. From there, I attended the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design where I intended to study sculpture but was sidetracked by photography. Between 1987 and 1989 I attended the Art College full-time, and between 1990 and 1995 I attended on a part-time basis. In 1995, I became an Associate of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. During my period of study there, I worked with a variety of photo instructors, including Robert Del Tredichi, George Steeves, Gary Wilson and Alvin Comiter. I have also studied independently with Daniel Kazimierski.
When I started photography in 1986, I thought of it simply as “taking photos”. The idea of images as art or personal expression was totally foreign to me, and I hadn’t even heard of Ansel Adams, let alone other great(er) photo-visionaries. It was only in 1987, when I started at art college, that I began to think of photography as more than “just pictures”.
For the first three years or so, my work was a little unfocused (I was a student after all), but I found myself drawn to a number of subjects with similar qualities. I worked extensively with industrial sites and portraiture, both of which held a richness of character to my eyes. Out of this work eventually developed my current focus upon the Nude and the Ruin.
Currently I work with photography both for artistic expression and for income, making it the central force in my life. Besides photography, I enjoy web surfing and a handful of computer games.
I also am an avid reader and music consumer. By far my preferred writers (beside photo books) are Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, George R. R. Martin and the like. My musical taste ranges from the brilliant Polish composer Gorecki to New Model Army (by far my favourite band), Kate Nash, Sisters of Mercy, the Arctic Monkeys, Joy Division, Snow Patrol, Marilyn Manson, Bjork, Nine Inch Nails, Ani DiFranco, Liz Phair, Green Day and the Smashing Pumpkins.
I also have online a full CV.