BEHIND THE SCENES, BEFORE THE SHOW
Club rats come one, come all. Before hitting the rock circuit this weekend, swing by the School of Photographic Arts in Ottawa (SPAO) on Dalhousie Street North for your fill of Ottawa rockers.
The School, founded in 2005 by co-directors Khalia Scott and Michael Tardioli, has produced photographers who emphasize craft, quality, and style in their work.
Among this year’s crop of grads is Jamie Kronick — when he’s not behind the lens, he’s a drummer with the band Paramedics. As part of his year-end project, Kronick approached fellow musicians to participate in his Songwriter Series.
The series comprises 20 photos of 20 Ottawa musicians documented in songwriting mode. Kronick swooped into living rooms, bedrooms, and offices to catch the likes of Jim Bryson, Rolf Klausener, John Allaire, Ana Miura, Amanda Rheaume, Adam Saikaley, Sarah Hallman, Andre Bluteau, and Jonathan Chandler in the act.
“The whole idea of the project was to shoot musicians in the locations where they write their music,” Kronick says. “I’m a big natural light fan—I try not to bring in too many lights to create a false scenario. I want the photos to reflect the environment the musicians work in.”
Those environments vary. John-Aaron Cockburn of Dry River Caravan writes using his accordion, while walking around his house; Sarah Hallman likes the intimacy of the bedroom for her intensely personal songs. Jill Zmud, meanwhile, takes a studious approach, sitting down at a desk for an hour a day to commit ideas to paper.
Kronick wanted to document how physical spaces were reflective of headspaces of each of the songwriters. The tightly focused portraits are intense and detailed. You see the screwed-up, confused looks of those deep in thought. You see the idiosyncrasies and style quirks of individuals’ homes.
Kronick went to Canterbury and Glebe high schools. He later toured with the Ottawa band The Architects before picking up his first point-and-shoot camera. He started shooting bands at live shows and slowly accumulated better gear. He applied to SPAO and is finishing the portfolio program after two years of full-time study. He worked primarily with SPAO director Michael Tardioli in a process Kronick describes as a mentorship. “He forms you.”
The results of that mentorship will be on display at SPAO’s Sixth Exhibition Portfolio Program, which features the works of 13 first-year students and 10 graduating students. April 29 – May 6. Vernissage Friday, April 29. 3-9 p.m. www.spao.ca
WHERE ELSE TO BE THIS WEEKEND
Roxanne Potvin has taken a tour of a number of musical styles over her past four albums. Her newest album, called Play, expands on her early leanings (blues rock), dapples in her mid-career musings (pop), and expands into an invigorated approach (Feist-ian songwriting with a tonne of soul). Saturday, April 30. 8:30 p.m. $15 in advance. The Black Sheep Inn, 753 Riverside Dr., Wakefield, QC. www.theblacksheepinn.com
The Allrights unleash their 1990s influences at their concert this weekend. They’ll play a pile of new, original scuzzy rock songs and covers by the likes of Superchunk and Guided By Voices. With The City Above and Old Crimes. Friday, April 29. $5. Clocktower Brew Pub, 575 Bank St. www.clocktower.ca
Sound Seekers is published weekly at OttawaMagazine.com. Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine. Subscribe to the print edition here.