Manitoba

Winnipeg photographer captures strength of Indigenous women and girls in new exhibit

​A Winnipeg photographer has used a 175-year-old photo technique to capture the strength of Manitoba’s Indigenous women and girls.

Jon Adaskin captured 20 portraits of women whose loved ones were murdered or went missing

      1 of 0

      A Winnipeg photographer has used a 175-year-old photo technique to capture the strength of Manitoba's Indigenous women and girls.

      Jon Adaskin's photo series, Dignity, went on display at the Haberdashery on Albert Street this week.

      Adasking photographed 20 Indigenous women and girls who had loved ones who had either been murdered or gone missing.

      "I felt a sort of deep sense of injustice for Indigenous people. I felt like, there's a massive, national, devaluation of Indigenous people and specifically Indigenous women and that somehow, somewhere along the way we allowed this to happen," said Adaskin, who worked on the project with NDP MLA Nahanni Fontaine.
      Jon Adaskin said he felt compelled to work on the project with Nahanni Fontaine because he "felt a sort of deep sense of injustice for Indigenous people. I felt like, there’s a massive, national, devaluation of indigenous people and specifically indigenous women." (CBC)

      Adaskin approached Fontaine to find women who were affected by the issue and who would be willing to sit for portraits. 

      He used a wet plate collodion technique, which dates back to 1850, to capture the portraits. Subjects, whose names have intentionally been left out of the project, have to sit for longer than a typical photograph.

      "[It was] super, super emotional. We had to stop many, many times through the project," he said. "A lot of crying – a lot of breaking down. We stopped for breaks many, many times."

      Haberdashery owner Luke Nolan said the response to the photos, which are part of the FLASH Photographic Festival, has been overwhelming and emotional.

      "A lot of people have come in — you can see emotion. We actually had a great opening day, and I actually got teary," said Nolan.

      Adaskin said he hopes visitors leave with the realization that all Canadians bear some responsibility for the pain the women in the photographs have experIenced.

      "The best that I can hope for is people can't look away. That they have to look into the eyes of people that are having their photos done and that they are looking in the faces of pain – they can't look away," he said. "I'm calling for it to end. This has got to stop."

      The exhibit will be on display at 84 Albert St. until Oct. 31.

      Jon Adaskin says the photos are meant to showcase the strength of Indigenous women and girls. He hopes viewers leave with the sense that “They’re looking at the faces of pain and hopefully there’s a realization that we all bear some responsibility for that." (Jon Adaskin)