Patricia Vervoort is an assistant professor of art history at Lakehead
This is Lionel Stevenson’s first published collection of black-and-white photographs. A professional photographer, Stevenson emphasizes the people and places of his native island. The 32 photographs are accompanied by simple captions identifying the place name. An introduction by Karen Emily Lips, Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, emphasizes the natural and unpretentious aspects of Stevenson’s work.
The seeming simplicity of photographs identified by place name is, however, more complex. For example, one of those captioned “Charlottetown” is a view of a piglet race, while another presents three small frame houses seen at night. There are two labeled “Dundas Plowing Match,” but the expected view of a plowing match is not included. Instead, one depicts a row of men wearing suits and seated on a platform; presumably, these are the judges. The other is a view from inside a refreshment stand showing the customers lined up along the counter. “Cavendish Shore,” the first in the book, is, I think, the most impressive of the landscape views; it shows a snow drift which resembles in form a sculpture by Robert Murray.
Reasonably priced, Stevenson’s book should find wide appeal. The photographs, especially those with people, allow the viewer to interact with the art. For another view of the island, Francis W.P. Bolger’s Spirit of Place (CBRA 1982, no. 2095) captions colour photographs with quotes by Lucy Maud Montgomery.