Susan Dobson’s “Viewfinder” photographs feature seascapes seen through the ground glass of historic large-format cameras. Recently, Dobson was given unprecedented access to the archives at George Eastman House in Rochester, NY. She selected vintage ground glasses from historic view cameras from their collection, scanning the glass to incorporate into her own photographs.
Many of the glasses have distinctive markings that the original photographer made to organize compositions and show signs of wear and tear. The glasses that Dobson scanned range in date from 1848 to 1980 and are used to help the photographer compose each photograph.
With her large format Toyo Field camera, Dobson spent last summer, fall and winter photographing Lake Ontario, Lake Huron and Lake Erie. To complete the image, Dobson has superimposed the historic ground glass onto her photograph of each seascape. This is the first exhibition featuring Dobson’s new “Viewfinder” photographs.
Susan Dobson’s photographs and installations have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions across Canada, as well as in the United States, United Kingdom, Belgium, China, Germany, Spain, and Mexico. She has been a featured artist in photography festivals including CONTACT (Toronto, Canada), Fotoseptiembre (Mexico City), Le Mois de la Photo (Montreal, Canada), Bitume/Bitumen (Brussels), and FotoNoviembre (Spain).
She was a contributing artist to the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad and her work was featured in the 2012 Biennial Builders at the National Gallery of Canada. Her work is in corporate and museum collections, including Oakville Galleries, Art Gallery of Windsor, McIntosh Gallery, Portland Art Museum, and the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, an affiliate of the National Gallery of Canada.
Dobson’s photographs have been published in periodicals and newspapers, such as CV Photo, Photo Metro, The Globe and Mail, and Border Crossings. Her work has also been featured in Carte Blanche, a compendium of Canadian photography, and Massive Change by Bruce Mau. She has lectured on photography at institutions including the University of Waterloo, the University of Barcelona, and the National Arts Centre in Mexico City. Dobson is the recipient of two Gold National Magazine awards, and numerous awards and grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council, including the K.M. Hunter award for visual arts.
Most recently, she received a major grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for her project The Pictured Past and the Future Perfect: Shifting Tenses in Contemporary Photography. Dobson is Associate Professor in the School of Fine Art and Music at the University of Guelph.