Brian Howell

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Kamloops Daily News, 2014, 2014
Digital photographs

4th & Seymour > AFTER DARK

Brian Howell graduated from Ryerson Polytechnical University in Toronto in 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Film and Photography. His photographic work examines vernacular expressions of shifting societal and personal values. Howell’s subjects are drawn from fringe, or marginalized communities; people and places resonant with allegorical meanings for an age that seems to Howell both broken and blinded. Howell’s photographic series build on the truth-telling mantra of an earlier era of documentary photojournalists though are given structure and further meaning by a more rigorous contemporary conceptual framework.

Each of Brian Howell’s individual projects have been successfully exhibited and published as a book or catalogue. “One-Ring Circus – Extreme Wrestling in the Minor Leagues” was published in 2002 by Arsenal Press and “Fame Us – Celebrity Impersonators and the Culture of Fame” was published in 2007 also by Arsenal Press. The 2011 catalogue for Howell’s exhibition of Carts at Vancouver’s Winsor Gallery featured an Introduction by author Douglas Coupland.

Howell’s new series of large-scale photographs of newspaper printing plant interiors offer a bold look inside the factories that support the journalism industry. “For me, these machines are bones of a skeleton,” Howell writes about his Press series. “It must be considered that this information originated somewhere, usually by someone who knocked on a door or made phone calls or travelled far to get a story.”

Brian Howell has photographed numerous printing presses of newspapers that have since closed down. As web based information increasingly usurps print based forms, more and more daily newspapers cannot compete. This shift has not only effected people’s livelihoods, but also the journalism industry and therefore the way that we receive our news. Howell’s printing press series documents a pivotal moment in history. For his series of photographs Kamloops Daily News, 2014, shot in Kamloops in the spring of 2014, Howell documents a ghost like scene of a once bustling newsroom and busy printing press. Projected as a slideshow in the windows of the old Kamloops Daily News building as part of Luminocity, these images of what remained inside the building convey a poignant reminder of this past and a palpable sense of loss experienced by the community of Kamloops.

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