Photographers have often used the landscape as a genre to explore our human relationship with the natural environment. In “Focus | Finder” Dobson has taken serene photographs of Lake Huron and has overlaid the markings and focus points found in the viewfinders of digital and analogue cameras. Through the photographs Dobson focuses our attention on the act of looking, with an emphasis on the emotion of our present moment.
The photographs, for Dobson, may rise in our collective consciousness a variety of issues, from rising water levels, pollution and industry, and the plight of plastics that threaten ecosystems and aquatic life. The images thus aim to operate not just as transcription, but also a metaphor and poetry, framed within our present moment.
Susan Dobson graduated with her MFA from the University of Guelph in 1997. Her work has been exhibited in major photography festivals such as CONTACT (Toronto), Fotoseptiembre (Mexico City), Images Festival (Vevey, Switzerland), Le Mois de la Photo (Montreal), Bitume/Bitumen (Brussels), and FotoNoviembre (Tenerife, Spain) as well as public gallery exhibitions across Canada, the US and Europe.
Her recent exhibition, “Slide Library” at the Ryerson Image Centre was named by the Globe and Mail’s Kate Taylor as one of the top 10 most stunning exhibitions of 2021.
Extensively reviewed with articles in CV Photo, Harper’s, Photo Metro, Magenta Magazine, Prefix Photo and Border Crossings, Dobson’s work has also been published in Carte Blanche, a compendium of Canadian photography in 2006, and Massive Change, Bruce Mau’s 2004 primer on new inventions and technologies.
In 2011, Dobson received a major grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to fund a 4-year collaborative project with curator Alison Nordström of the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York. The group exhibition, Of Time and Buildings, which included Dobson’s work, was first shown at George Eastman House in March 2014 and travelled to the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre in 2015.
In 2019, Susan Dobson was long-listed for the Scotiabank Photography Award.
Dobson’s photographs are in the corporate collections of BMO Bank of Montreal, Scotiabank and TD Bank Group as well as many public galleries including the National Gallery of Canada, Oakville Galleries, Swiss Museum of Photography, and the Tenerife Espacio de las Artes, Spain.
She lives in Guelph, Ontario where she is Associate Professor at the University of Guelph.