Our 2016 Contact Photo Festival feature is photographer Monica Glitz.
Monica will be showcasing her works from her Ancient Splendor series that documents UNESCO World Heritage sites. Each print featured in the show will be made using alternative printmaking processes.
Leading up to her show, we will be asking Monica a series of questions about her work. Stay tuned for the weekly posts and come check out the show!
April 22 – May 31 | Opening April 28
Why world heritage sites?
I have always had a fascination with history and the stories of the past. It is the romance of wondering what it would have been like to live (or at least step back) in time.
UNESCO has already designated more than 1000 locations of outstanding cultural or natural historical significance.
These World Heritage Sites are a concerted effort to preserve history, whether it is the natural beauty that has not yet been destroyed by progress, or architectural remnants of civilizations that thrived long ago. I love places where you can lose yourself in time and place. Places that ask more questions than give answers. Thought provoking places that challenge you to ask questions. What were their stories? What was it like to be here long ago?
I would hope that through my exploration and personal vision of these amazing sites that my photography can play even a small part in historic preservation. By engaging a wider audience that may not be able to have direct access to these locations (or aren’t even aware of them), to see the beauty of the place, engage their curiosity and perhaps teach people something about our world. Hopefully instilling the idea that these locations are worth the effort (and money) to preserve for future generations. We have already lost so much. Awareness is a start.
Which region was the most interesting?
It is impossible to choose. Each area is special in its own way and a part of an experience of exploration, observation and capturing the essence of the moment. Some regions, such as Europe or Asia have an overwhelming number of historically important places to visit, while other regions have such stunning natural beauty that you are left speechless with wonder. Sometimes the unexpected creates the most interesting experience and visual surprise.
I have already had many once-in-a-lifetime trips to my dream locations all of which I wouldn’t hesitate to go back to time and again. But there is so much more of the world to explore and so many places I have yet to see. Even those places that may not initially be high on my list always prove to be outstanding. Regardless of the location, all it takes is to “see and feel” the place. The magic of the moment has less to do with what I see and more to do with the way I see and feel. Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary (or in the case of World Heritage Sites, the outstanding) from the smallest details to expansive vistas beauty surrounds us.
Did you notice commonalities between the sites?
Every one of these places is in jeopardy of some kind. Not all locations have the resources to protect these amazing places. Senseless destruction occurs due to thievery, vandalism, destruction, excessive tourism, deterioration or natural phenomena including weather.
Unfortunately, it also seems that recently the determined tourist, phone in hand, appear everywhere. They are completely unaware (or uncaring) to the harm they are doing in their quest for that good “selfie” just to make their friends jealous. Artifacts are destroyed, sensitive natural habitats invaded, animals threatened.
UNESCO World Heritage Convention’s mission to identify, safeguard, and promote unique cultural and natural heritage around the world deemed to possess outstanding universal value for all humankind.
Once recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site there are preservation guidelines and safeguards to deal with deterioration and destruction but there are definitely no guarantees.
Monica Glitz grew up on a farm in Ontario, Canada. Artistic from an early age, she went on to seriously study art through high school and in university. Monica holds a degree in Fine Art / Art History from York University, graduating on the Dean’s list as well as receiving the Atkinson College Students’ Association Award for academic excellence.
Her venture into fine art photography started while travelling for pleasure. Through Monica’s great passion for exploration she discovered that exotic travel destinations were also the home of many exciting photographic subjects. Although she is self-taught in workings of the camera, Monica’s visual and artistic sensibility at perceiving the world around her is reinforced by training in artistic fundamentals such as line, form, colour theory, and composition.
Monica’s photographic works focus on dramatic subjects, evocative compositions, fascinating details, and atmospheric settings that inspire an appreciation of the beauty that surrounds us. She attempts to capture the essence of the moment of standing in awe of the view, whether it is an inspiring landscape in Scotland, sunlight on a cathedral tower, wildlife in remote Africa, remnants of ancient times or walking along a mist shrouded path in the mountains of China.
Her fascination with ruins of ancient civilizations was strongly developed during her University years. She is naturally drawn to anything historical, but particularly the crumbling ruins of the past where one’s romantic imagination can take flight. Whether they are the remnants of Canada’s short historical past or the ancient temples of a civilization that thrived 1,000 years ago, Monica’s images tell a story.
Travelling the world continues to be a passion. Her travels over the past 20 years have inspired Monica to photograph more than 100 UNESCO World Heritage sites – some of the most photogenic places that one could ever wish to visit.
Monica Glitz has always taken the road less travelled to experience the wonders that the world has to offer. Her travels over the past 20 years have inspired Monica to photograph locations with natural beauty and historical significance throughout Europe, North & South America, Australia, Asia, and Africa. Her images capture the essence of standing in awe of the view, whether of ruins from ancient times or a mist shrouded path in the mountains.
In this series of photographs, Monica has captured stunning images of distinct historically important and environmentally sensitive UNESCO World Heritage sites. Her images capture the feeling of looking back in time, and often the smallest details tell the best stories.
These images are presented in two alternative printing formats with historical roots in the 1800’s: platinum palladium and tri-color pigment gum over palladium. These special printing techniques produce distinct works of art that possess a beauty, depth, and permanence that will endure generations and give justice to the enduring qualities of the subjects captured in the images.
Monica’s passion in photography is to share the beauty she sees from an emotional perspective, and to challenge the mind and imagination to ask questions about the past … who? why? how?