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A new exhibition opens at the McCord Museum

After Notman
Photographic Views of Montreal 
A Century Apart


Montreal, Monday July 21, 2003 — Have you ever wondered what Montreal looked like a hundred years ago? How the city's buildings and street life would compare in photographs taken in two different centuries? Find out in After Notman — Photographic Views of Montreal, A Century Apart, a new exhibition of photographic duos that features "then and now" images of the city's busy marketplaces, bustling streets, and restful parks, and reveals the elegance and evolution of a remarkable city.

After Notman takes as its starting point the iconic images of Notman & Sons, a leading 19th-century photography studio whose staff photographed Montreal's streets, churches, markets and ports. Dating from 1863 to 1918, each Notman & Sons image is contrasted in the exhibition with a photograph taken by Andrzej Maciejewski (1959- ) a contemporary photographer and practicing artist. Between 1999 and 2001, Maciejewski returned to where Notman & Sons took its original images and rephotographed each site, paying careful attention to capture the same vantage point and time of day. Intriguing views include the Montreal harbour, Jacques Cartier Square and the Windsor Hotel.

Placed side by side, After Notman's 34 photographic duos serve to document Montreal's architectural heritage and urban evolution, and highlight the city's unique character and unrelenting beauty. Moreover, the rephotographs encourage visitors to play the game of looking for differences in composition, vantage point, angle, light, even the apparent weather conditions. In doing so, visitors will discover that although Montreal has changed, it has maintained its image by rebuilding on itself, keeping alive its heart, its spirit, its places of interest — in short, its urban vitality.

After Notman is on view at the McCord Museum from July 26, 2003 to July 25, 2004.  

Photographers' Biographies

William Notman (1826-1891)

Born in Paisley, Scotland, William Notman came to Quebec an experienced businessman and a well practiced amateur photographer. Upon establishing a studio on Montreal's Bleury Street he was commissioned to capture the construction of the Victoria Bridge, an impressive two-year project that cemented his reputation. From then on the business grew exponentially at its peak the Bleury Street studio produced 14,000 photographs a year, and twenty-six branch studios existed throughout North America. The tireless Notman gained international recognition, patented new techniques and lived to see three sons join the family business. High-end portraiture was a mainstay of the Notman studio, but city and landscape views also sold well to tourists. These works, so popular with the Victorian consumer, have earned the admiration of contemporary scholars for their abstraction, consistent vision and simplicity of design.

Andrzej Maciejewski(1959- )

Andrzej Maciejewski has worked as an artist and commercial photographer for more than 20 years and has exhibited in Canada and in his native Poland. His work has appeared in numerous magazines and can be found in the collections of the Metro Toronto Parks Department, the McCord Museum and the Virtual Museum of Canada, as well as in private collections. His future plans include expanding his rephotographic project by recapturing William Notman's views of Quebec and Eastern Canada.

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Source and Information:            

E-mail: nike.langevin@mccord.mcgill.ca 
Tel: (514) 398-7100, ext. 251