Photographer Gabriel Ellison-Scowcroft discusses the inspiration behind his Mesa Rim Artist Corner installation, À L’Ouest, and the power of photography.
Mesa Rim: What is your inspiration for your work?
Gabriel Ellison-Scowcroft: ‘À L’Ouest,’ which means ‘to the west’ in French, is a reflection on moving from Québec to live in the western US. One of the first things I noticed after moving away from the east coast was the sense of space and scale that exists in places like California, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. The landscapes are often vast and unconstricted, so different from the gentle rolling hills and old forests of rural Québec. These photographs have helped to ground me in an unfamiliar place, and the open spaces represented in them are a constant source of inspiration.
MR: What do the pieces mean to you?
GES: This body of landscape work is a departure from the kind of photographs I usually make as an editorial photographer working for magazines or newspapers. These images are moments I was privileged to witness in the mountains or other open spaces, and while I don’t think it’s possible to convey the power of these places through anything other than being in them, these moments of light and space and clouds serve as a reminder of how grounded and alive it is possible to feel in places like these.
ME: Why do you do what you do?
GES: Sometimes I see a photograph that grabs ahold of me so entirely that everything else around it disappears. Sometimes this happens because the photograph is beautifully composed or because it makes me feel joyous or sad or awed. Sometimes it’s for reasons I can’t express. Even though it is only a frozen moment, an image can make an impact on a person, which is ultimately why I choose to make photographs. I believe that photography and storytelling have the ability to make people think differently about complex social issues and inequality, but also that they can bring meaning and emotion to the simplest of moments. I believe that it is possible to make good in the world through making work that moves people or offers them a new perspective. The photographs in this exhibition were made in part because it is often impossible for me not to make photographs when I’m in the mountains or the desert. These landscapes are powerful, evocative and dynamic. They change constantly under the influence of light and weather and seasons, and I can’t help but want to remember them just as I saw them.
The installation is now viewing at Mesa Rim Mission Valley.
Each photograph will be sold in editions of 5 at size A4 – signed prints at $100/print unframed or $145/print framed.
About the artist: Gabriel Ellison-Scowcroft is a documentary photographer and radio producer from Québec, Canada. He produces stories that explore complex social issues, inequality and injustice through photography and sound. Gabriel has also been a climber since 2013 and has worked on commission for Alpinist and Climbing magazines. Find him on instagram at @gabrielellisonscowcroft or www.gabrielellisonscowcroft.com.