Photo: Morgan Mackenzie McGhie.
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Karsh Award honours future of Ottawa photography at special exhibit

The Karsh-Masson gallery in City Hall is exhibiting Continuum, comprised of seven emerging photographers in Ottawa nominated by Karsh Award laureates. These laureates were invited to put forward a local Ottawa artist who worked within the world of photography and who deserved the attention and recognition of Ottawa’s artistic community for their creative works

As a result, Joi T. Arcand, AM Dumouchel, Leslie Hossack, Olivia Johnston, Julia Martin, Meryl McMaster, and Ruth Steinberg were all chosen to exhibit their pieces in this celebration of contemporary photography.

The Karsh Award is presented every two years to an Ottawa artist who displays great skill in photography and dedication to their artistic practice. It is named in honour of brothers Malak and Yusuf Karsh, talented Ottawa-based photographers active in the mid-1900s.

Continuum connects many moments in time,” said Melissa Rombout, curator of the exhibition. “It is a connection that starts with the Karsh brothers in their respective fields of photographic art, their indelible stamp on Ottawa as their home base and their generous encouragement of emerging photographers, and this is a legacy commemorated via recognition of Ottawa’s distinguished photographers through the Karsh Awards.”

Rombout worked tirelessly with these seven artists over the course of the past fifteen months to bring together new and exciting talent from the modern age of photography.

The exhibit, which mayor Jim Watson attended to officially open it to the public, greets guests with a variety of pieces by the seen artists. Arcand revealed her work titled “To the Depth of a Plow,which addresses the issues her father faced as a First Nations reserve farmer. Dumouchel, a University of Ottawa alum and part-time professor in the Department of Visual Arts, unveiled her intriguing triptych Flesh and Stones.

Hossack’s attraction to locations associated with monumental events that occurred in the 20th-century led her to create H-Hour, Normandy 1944.“The Madonna’s is a series created by Johnston, a teacher at the School of Photographic Arts: Ottawa. Martin, a U of O master of fine arts alumna, displayed her personal work entitled “Normal Wear and Tear. “Wandering is a fantastic group of images created by Meryl McMaster that explores the idea of lineage, history and culture through her photographic works. Steinberg created a series of nude portraits of older woman named “What the Body Remembers,in which she tackles the question of why we are no longer considered sensual and passionate when we grow old.

These artists are all unique in the way they use the photographic medium to display the meanings that they wish to convey. Continuum has allowed these individuals  to open their work to the public as the great photographers of Ottawa’s future.

Continuum runs Sept. 14–Oct. 22 at City Hall. Admission is free.


  • Spring 2022: Desiree Nikfardjam Fall 2021: Zofka Svec 2020-2021: Aisling Murphy 2019-2020: Ryan Pepper 2018-2019: Iain Sellers 2017-2018: Ryan Pepper