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'Bystanders' captures the moment

LL_june 11
A new exhibition at the Airdrie Public Library highlights the everyday scenes made significant by street photographers. Photo: Metro Creative Connection

Street photographers are, by intent, observers of human behaviour in public spaces, which, to our benefit, they capture with the camera’s unbiased clarity.

There are some well-known street photographers, such as the American Saul Leiter, known for his work documenting New York’s East Village, or France’s Robert Doisneau – considered a master of humanist photography, capturing playful and iconic images of Paris during the 1930s.

Canada’s own Fred Herzog, who emigrated from Germany to Vancouver in 1953, is best known for his images that capture people in moments of real life.

In honour of this important genre, starting this month in the main space and running to Aug. 20, Airdrie Public Library (APL) welcomes a new Alberta Foundation for the Arts Travelling Exhibition Program entitled Bystanders.

“Armed with a camera and few preconceptions, street photographers enter public spaces as ‘bystanders’ to the scene that unfolds before them. They raise their cameras and hold a mirror to everyday life, hoping to capture a candidness that cannot escape the physiognomy and accuracy of the medium,” said Shannon Bingeman, the exhibition's curator.

“The images selected for this exhibition offer a diverse range of subjects captured throughout Alberta and abroad over the course of four decades. From a ballerina standing ‘centre stage’ in a crowd to a barber peering out from the doorway of his shop, what unifies this body of work is the genre.”

She added each photograph contains a scene made significant by the photographer.

The exhibit is worth a viewing; there are candid moments from Heritage park (1984), the Calgary Stampede (1985), and Stephen Avenue (1981).

Also, for the summer, artwork from Bert Church High School students is featured in the Makerspace, and the Voice and Vision 2019 art and writing pieces can be found in the McCall Room.

For more information on APL’s art exhibits or any of the library’s programs and services, visit, call 403-948-0600 or drop by the library.
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