Today marks the vernissage of Intersections, a photography show featuring Brant Thompson, at the Atomic Rooster. A showcase of the best of hundreds of shots and his first photography show, I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Brant this past weekend about what inspires him as a photographer and what led him to this point.
Brant became interested in photography in his late teens and early twenties. He took the photography program at Algonquin College and, for a while, was really into it. Over the years life happened and photography was left at the sidelines until, many years later, Brant got a cell phone with a decent camera. Having his phone on him at all times rekindled a smoldering fire, which lead to the purchase of a camera – a tool he carries with him always.
Brant’s photos offer an insider’s view of Centretown – the interesting people, places, and things that make the neighborhood what it is. “Centretown is full of local independent businesses, where the owners are in the shops. There’s Antique Skate, SpaceMan Sound, the Atomic Rooster…” he begins, when asked about what makes this place so special. And the list goes on. The neighbourhood attracts such an interesting group of people – artists, students, entrepreneurs, skateboarders, professionals – making it such an inspiring place to live. When Brant encounters an interesting person he would like to photograph, he asks if they are ok with having their photo taken. “Surprisingly”, he remarks “90% of them say yes.”
Having his camera on him at all times means that Brant can capture things that one may overlook, if out to shoot a specific shot. A reflection in a puddle; the neighbourhood shot through a graffitied pane of glass; the lighting at a particular time of day. “I want to show the neighbourhood the way that people who live here really see it” Brant states, very matter-of-factly.
The show itself is very urban, a portrait of the core of the city. Nearly a year in the works, Brant first spoke to Shelley Braun [Server and Art Curator] at the Atomic Rooster about doing a show last winter, and showed her some of his photographs. When in the Rooster one evening, several months later, Shelley approached him and asked “Can you fill that wall?”
A space in Centretown that showcases local artists and people in the community who are doing their own thing, it is really special for Brant to have his first show at the Atomic Rooster. All of his photos were taken in the neighborhood, on or just off of Bank Street. “The show is really a celebration of Centretown”, says Brant, “it reflects the community I live in and the community I love”.
Intersections, featuring Brant Thompson, will be on display at the Atomic Rooster (303 Bank Street) from November 30th-January 11th. Join the artist at the vernissage on Tuesday December 2nd, from 7-10pm. For more works by Brant Thompson, see his website. For a complete list of participating artists, click here.