Philippe Guillaume

A Study of Photography and Walking through the City in Modern, Postmodern, and Contemporary Canadian Art

Philippe Guillaume
Special Individualized Program (SIP) MA
Concordia University

Philippe Guillaume is currently completing a research and creation study concerning the relationship between photography and walking through urban space in Canadian art. This multidisciplinary work deals with the intersections between photography, walking, and city space. The project consists of two distinct components. The first part is a scholarly study of the relationship between photography and walking through urban space in Canadian art since the middle of the twentieth century. The second part is a substantial new work of photographic art that focuses specifically on boulevard Saint-Laurent in Montreal – also known as “la Main”. For this part, he is in the process of photographing the sidewalk along both sides of the street of the boulevard’s entire eleven kilometers. His aim is to generate a systematic grouping of photographs, based on photography and walking, that will result in a new aesthetic and dialectical reading for this space involving approximately 2500 photos he has taken along this street.

Walking with a camera results in a view of the city where the sidewalk is an ever-changing and recurrent space. As an artist Philippe is interested in investigating new ways of looking at urban sidewalks and streets with the creation of multi-media, multi-image photographic arrangements that disrupt a single point of view of city space. While his present work concerns mostly outdoor public space, past photographic projects have dealt with a different space that was mainly interior and private. He is currently creating urban photographs that express a critical thinking about perambulatory space, while also considering the social aspects of time and subjective sensorial input in an increasingly standardized world.

Philippe Guillaume completed a BFA with a major in art history at Concordia University in 2009. Before deciding to concentrate on academic research and creation he had a successful career as an independent fashion photographer, and his work was published nationally and internationally. He has been the recipient of two Lux Professional Photography and Illustration in Quebec Grand Prizes for photography, and his artwork is part of the collection of the Collection Patrimoniale Bibliothèque National du Québec, as well as the National Gallery of Canada. Since 2009, he has written photographic reviews for CV magazine and ” The Notre-Dame Street Overpass Sidewalk: From Bill Vazan’s Highway #37 to Today ” in Montréal as Palimpsest: The Dialectics of Montréal’s Public Spaces, published by the Gail and Stephen Jarislowsky Institute for the Study of Canadian Art.

Philippe Guillaume defended his thesis in August 2013 and graduated at Fall convocation with distinction.