Gabriel Safdie


Gabriel Safdie is a well-known name in Stanstead, where he is extensively involved together with his wife Eva Juul in the Coeur de Stanstead project and the general revitalization of Rock Island. While residing in Montreal, where he is actively involved in the arts, he and his wife have had a lakeside home in Ogden since the mid-70’s.

Safdie is a writer who was a professor of literature, creative writing and theatre. He is currently involved in literature, theatre and music, while his work in photography began with his travels as he especially wanted to share his impressions of the far reaching places he was visiting, such as in East Asia and the Orient. He had in fact formerly taken some photos to show places he had gone to for a travel magazine, mainly Egypt and Mexico, where he is still engaged both in work and personally.

In recent years, he has developed a passion for photography, it having captivated him as a form of art. Meanwhile his interest continues in capturing new places he visits where he focuses on people and places and the texture of life on location. What has changed most is that he now photographs a wider range of subjects and is far more attuned to his aesthetic sense of the art.

He started making an annual calendar eight years ago, selecting photos from his ever growing archives under a specific theme for each. It is through the dissemination of his calendars (at 1000 copies each) that his work has reached so many, but it is also how he came to be offered the opportunity to exhibit his work.

Safdie has shown mostly in Canada and China having had some major success under the name "Changing China through the Eyes of a Canadian Friend" (Bejing, Qingdao, Tai'An, Hangzhou, and others). He is scheduled for further exhibits in Montreal and Zhejiang in the coming year. Currently he has embarked on compiling a book of photos and texts depicting the last third of a century in China.


Gabriel Safdie est un nom reconnu à Stanstead, où il est impliqué, avec sa femme Eva Juul, dans le projet du Coeur de Stanstead et la réviviscence générale de Rock Island. Il réside à Montréal où il est impliqué activement dans les arts et réside, mais il a aussi une maison d’été à Ogden depuis les années soixante-dix.

Safdie est un écrivain qui a été un professeur de littérature, de théâtre et d’écriture créatif. La photographie a commencé avec ses voyages parce qu’il voulait partager ses impressions des pays lointains, tels que l’Asie et l’Orient, qu’il visitait. Il a pris des photos au Mexique et en Égypte qui ont été destinés à être publiés dans un magazine de voyages. Safdie est toujours lié à ses pays de façon professionnelle et personnelle.

Récemment, il a développé une passion pour la photographie, une moyenne d’art captivante. Son intérêt de photographier les pays qu’il visite n’a pas changé. Par contre, maintenant il a la capacité de photographier plus de sujets et il est plus conscient du côté esthétique de l’art de la photographie.

Les dernières huit années, il a créé un calendrier en utilisant une sélection de photos provenant de sa collection. Chaque calendrier avait une thématique différente. C’est par le biais de la distribution de ses calendriers que ses œuvres ont pu atteindre un si grand nombre de personnes et c’est aussi la raison qu’il a été offert l’occasion d’exhiber ses œuvres.

Safdie exhibe généralement au Canada et en Chine où il a eu un gros succès sous le nom de « Le changement de la Chine à travers les yeux d’un ami canadien ». Il est invité pour d’autres exhibitions à Montréal et Zhejiang l’année prochaine. Présentement, il travaille sur un livre de photos et de texte qui discute des dernières trente années en Chine.


Artist Statement

Aerial Views

In the past few years I have exhibited on these walls photos taken from around the globe, wishing to share views and vistas of my explorations, often from remote places that few would ever have the opportunity to visit. The subject has ranged from rural and scenic locations to heavily urbanized centres, including what I consider as hard edged street photography.

Simultaneous to my urban life and life of travel, I have been involved in this region of Lake Memphremagog where we have our home in Cedarville, as well of course in the surroundings and most specifically with Stanstead as the nucleus, for almost forty years now. I have also been involved in this gallery's very sector, Rock Island, in trying to bring it new life, one which will make this place a great attraction in the realm of culture and the arts, it having been a commercial centre in decline when my wife Eva Juul and I embarked on this commitment in 2008. 

It is in this vein that this year I have chosen a very different course in the selection for this show. I do have a significant number of photographs in my archives that focus on this region, including what I consider some of my finest work that is drawn from my life on our magical lake round the seasons, as well as from the towns themselves with its rich historical sites.

More specifically for this show, in the past couple of years I made two aerial trips in the region with our local flyer, George Weller, and managed to shoot some photos of both Stanstead and the Lake, when it occurred to me that some representative aerial photos, along with a few of our landmarks (such as the Haskell) would give some sense of the grandeur and beauty of our world here.

   For the first time I have experimentally had the photos printed on canvas in anticipation of a more painterly effect than what I am used to. I am not quite certain whether I will use this method again---I'll give myself time to get used to it---but nonetheless the images are what they are, and I sincerely hope I have succeeded with them to capture our unique environment which has enriched so many of our lives.