Portfolio: Matthew Plexman

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The portfolio program at The Dylan Ellis Gallery allows photographers to house their work in an accessible space.

This series features Q&A’s with photographer currently participating in the program.

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What draws you to shoot landscapes?

I’ve always been fascinated with what we commonly call ‘Nature’.  The more time I can spend out in the bush, or on a lake, the better.  A long time ago, I realized that the majesty of our natural landscapes was due in large part to the the scale, the whole of it left to right, top to bottom. The horizon expanding 180 degrees from left to right- as far as our peripheral vision would allow. What was directly in front of us was made much more interesting within the context of the whole of our vision.  But this peripheral vision is not typically captured within our photos.  I set out to try to capture this more “organic” view.  My vision has refined over the years to focus on the intersection of humankind and nature- how we change it, adapt to it and interact with it.  My large scale panoramics are particularly well suited to this endeavour.

Do you have a favorite location?

My favourite location to date has been the 737 km length of the Dempster Highway which runs between Dawson, Yukon Territory to Inuvik, Northwest Territories.

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What is a funny story that you can share about shooting in the field 

Early in my career, I was shooting a panoramic landscape of Toronto’s downtown from the roof of the CN Tower for a panoramic slideshow about Toronto.  Communiqué, the company that hired me to do the shoot had arranged everything with the CN Tower people.  They let me go up (twice!) with no safety gear to lay on my stomach and hang over the edge of the roof- something that would never, ever be allowed today.  I was using a 4×5 camera and the widest lens I could find.  The only way to make the shot work was to physically have the camera extended beyond the edge of the roof of the tower on an arm attached to the tripod.  I had to put a black cloth over my head to compose and focus.  All good until I fumbled and dropped the lens cap – over the edge (I was a little nervous, after all).  Good job it was just the cap.

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