Chuck Samuels

Chuck Samuels : Becoming Photography : 1991 – 2010

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

Opening Saturday, March 13, to Saturday, April 24, 2021

Exhibition presented at Plein sud and at EXPRESSION, Centre d’exposition de Saint-Hyacinthe

Une entrevue avec Chuck Samuels

More than an artistic discipline, photography is Chuck Samuels’s favorite subject and the object of his experiments. Since his first exhibition in 1980, the artist has explored the mechanisms of photography and, to a lesser extent, those of cinema and video. He frequently photographs or films himself and thus his practice tends to address memory, photography and cinema.

In the early 1990s, he appropriated images by delving into various photographic and film archives. Turning the camera towards him to study the questions raised in the recording processes, he has over time integrated his own presence into his work, a process that has become a central part of his work. By focusing the camera on itself and staging himself, Samuels seeks to replace photography, in other words to become photography; a way for him to draw attention to the very nature of this medium of expression that has become an extension of himself.

Becoming Photography is a double exhibition presented simultaneously and in collaboration with EXPRESSION, Centre d’exposition de Saint-Hyacinthe. The Before the Camera (1991) and Before Photography (2010) series, presented at Plein sud, trace the genesis of the approach developed by Samuels over the course of his career. The Before the Camera series examines the representation of the female nude in the history of photography, as well as its wide acceptance without any critical basis. The Before Photography series explores the figure of the photographer in popular cinema and television during his father’s time and his own initiation into photography.

Saturday, February 27, to Sunday, April 25, 2021
Logo Expression The exhibition at EXPRESSION, entitled Becoming Photography : 2015-2020, presents the artist’s recent corpora produced since 2015: The Photographer (2015), After (2020), On Photography (2020) and The Complete Photographer (2020).
Chuck Samuels, After Avedon
(Detail) (1991) from Before the Camera

Chuck Samuels is a Montréal artist whose photographs and videos have been exhibited and published extensively in Québec, Canada, and abroad since 1980. Samuels’ photographs are part of the collections of La Maison européenne de la photographie (Paris), Le Musée de la Photographie (Charleroi), the George Eastman Museum (Rochester), the National Gallery of Canada, Le Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Worcester Art Museum and the Cinémathèque québécoise as well as many Canadian and foreign private collections. His installation and video works have been shown in various venues, including several film/video festivals in Canada. From 2002 to 2014 Chuck Samuels served as the Director of Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal (since renamed Momenta, biennale de l’image), an international biennale of contemporary photography.


Chuck Samuels, Untitled #16A
(Detail) (2010) from Before Photography

The exhibitions presented at Plein sud and at EXPRESSION were produced from a publication entitled Chuck Samuels. Becoming Photography, co-edited by EXPRESSION, Plein sud and Kerber Verlag (Germany). The work, graphic design by Dominique Mousseau, includes images from the six projects presented in the exhibitions, as well as essays by Joan Fontcuberta and Mona Hakim.

The publication will be available in French and English at EXPRESSION, Plein sud and in several bookstores in North America and Europe.


Before the Camera was supported by a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts. The artist gratefully acknowledges the support the publication received from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.

Chuck Samuels, Untitled #02B
(Detail) (2010) from Before Photography
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