Northern Exposures

Lovers of Canadian photography get Carte Blanche

By Alec Scott
April 20, 2006
MaryAnn Camilleri.  All images courtesy of The Magenta Foundation.
MaryAnn Camilleri. All images courtesy of The Magenta Foundation.

MaryAnn Camilleri is a powerhouse. In 1994, while she was in her 20s, she helped found the glossy arts magazine Venue – for a time, an important voice in the wilderness that is Canada’s perennially troubled magazine publishing scene. That same year, she published a collection of photographs of drag queens called Ladies, Please!, which opened doors for her in New York. After working in the American metropolis for 10 years as a publisher of art books, Camilleri recently returned to her hometown of Toronto to open Magenta Publishing. In the last two years, she has assembled a volume of photographs from the top Canadian photographers working today, for her venture’s first release.

“It was a selfish project in a way,” she says. “I wanted to get to know what was happening in the Canadian photographic scene, and this enabled me to do so.” Entitled Carte Blanche – and out next week – the book features well-known shutterbugs as well as emerging talents, and covers the gamut from art photography to documentary to editorial and commercial work.

“They’re curious beasts, photographers,” Camilleri says. “More so than other artists, they’re able to use their skills for both artistic and commercial purposes. But even when you’re doing it for direct pay, you can bring a level of artistry to it.”

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