Arbour in ROM's Touched By Fire

Click here to print this page
Monday November 22, 2010

Midland Free Press

Photographer John Arbour's work will show at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). The Midland area shutterbug has two pictures in the 2010 Touched by Fire' Show -an online and live exhibit celebrating the art of people with mood disorders. The live exhibit involving 50 -70 works will be held as a single night's event this year at the ROM on the evening of November 25th, while all submissions will be mounted on the online gallery at :

By Fire began in the fall of 2007 and by 2009 received over 450 submissions for the live show and sale -75 were chosen to be exhibited at the ROM. The show attracted an audience of over 700 people. Arbour got involved this year after his sister-in-law sent him a link for the show -he submitted ten images and two black and white's were accepted -a boy in a window and a bollard image.

"The boy in the window was a walk by lucky photograph. I was attending Humber College at the time for the Creative Photography program and we had an assignment to photograph a window or windows. I think the shot represents a young boy that is feeling captured or held back from his better part of life. We all have those moments," said Arbour of his work.

"The bollard photograph was taken this year at the town dock in Penetanguishene. The two ropes represent the benefits of a healthy relationship between two people where the sum of each is greater then the individual, synergy. Having gone through a divorce myself and felt the pain of that and know the joy of the synergy."

Arbour says he shoots photographs so people will enjoy them while he himself, enjoys the creative element of freezing a moment in time. Arbour who attended Sir Sandford Fleming College and climbed some trees with a Forestry Technician diploma in 1976, says he thinks the involvement with the environment and photography are two blends that work. Using infrared film in Pickle Lake heightened his interest in photographic expression.

"I enjoy the magic of capturing a moment in time. I left Chapleau and five years of fighting forest fires and picked up my gear and headed to Toronto. Had a blast," said Arbour who
attended Humber College enrolling in the Creative Photography program in 1981.

"I worked for many industries, advertising agencies and photographers for fourteen years. Now, I am very proud to be here at this point."

Arbour's family grew up with the Watson's of Midland. He has always loved Bud Watson's photography, who he says "captured landscapes like the greats". Arbour bought his first 35mm from Watson in 1972.

"We have gone through a major transition from film to digital based photography. The years of the ol' basement darkrooms have passed. No longer do I care about the light crack under the door," says Arbour.

"I gotta say digital is great. I assembled 55 photographs for my first major show at the Huronia Museum in Midland in April, 2009. I am a member of Quest Gallery of Penetanguishene and Huronia Foundation of the Arts."

Arbour says that Lorne Watson, Bud Watson, Yousuf Karsh, Ansel Adams, Sherman Hines, Fredrick H. Evans, Paul Strand Edward Weston are a few great photographers he has admired for many years because they were "pioneers in the still image art form".

Local shows Arbour has given or been involved in the recent past include: Show Huronia Museum in Midland, April 2009; Villageois Art Show in Lafontaine February to May, 2010; Sixth Annual Juried Art Show at Quest Art School Gallery in Midland May 2010; Third Annual Art-In-The-ParkĀ© in Penetanguishene July 2010; ArtOn-The-RocksĀ©, Whalen/Maxwell Island July, 2010; and Art Walk, Midland, August, 2010.