March 2, 2024

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Photographer Jean-Claude Lussier shifts from fashion to fine arts

Lussier wants to devote more energy to the kind of photos that could be displayed in art galleries, to complement his more commercial work.

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Jean-Claude Lussier has been doing fashion photography in Montreal since the mid-’80s and now, more than three decades into shooting fashion, he’s thinking the time is right to make the leap into more fine-arts-style photography. The Montrealer is talking to galleries in a number of cities around the world about mounting an exhibition. He recently moved his studio from the Breman Building at corner of Duluth Ave. and St-Laurent Blvd. to the Belgo Building near Bleury and Ste-Catherine Sts. because he feels that’s a better spot to open his studio to the public, which he will do this fall.

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“I don’t have the pretension of opening an art gallery,” said Lussier, in a phone interview Friday. “It’ll be my studio with a little art gallery inside the studio. My goal in my life at this point is to show some of my archives. I have so much accumulated over the years.”

At the same time, Lussier is intent on bringing an even more artful approach to his photography. He’s worked on many major advertising campaigns over the years, including for L’Oréal Canada, Lise Watier, Wonder Bra and Simons, and his photos have been published in Elle Québec, Elle Canada, and Ocean Drive magazine. But now he wants to devote more energy to the kind of photos that could be displayed in art galleries, to complement his more commercial work.

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A photo, titled Flower, by Jean-Claude Lussier. Courtesy of Jean-Claude Lussier.
A photo, titled Flower, by Jean-Claude Lussier. Courtesy of Jean-Claude Lussier. jpg

“I don’t want to just take photos, bang, and put it in a frame,” said Lussier. “I want to work with a different type of emotion. I want them to have more depth. In fact beautiful clothes in fashion shoots are art, in a certain sense. So what is fun to bring together artful fashion with more artistic photography. Also what I’m doing is finding the most edgy photos from my archives and I’m reworking them (with all of the modern technology). I just want to take the photography to another level.”

He currently has a number of his photos on display at Latitude Nord, an upscale Italian furniture store on St-Laurent Blvd.

Like so many seasoned photographers, Lussier is not thrilled by the dominance of social-media in our era and the smart-phone culture that has turned everyone into a photographer and, in his view, has hurt the value of professional photography in our culture.

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A photo titled Blue Dream by Jean-Claude Lussier. Courtesy of Jean-Claude Lussier.
A photo titled Blue Dream by Jean-Claude Lussier. Courtesy of Jean-Claude Lussier. jpg

“For sure, these changes make life more difficult for photographers,” said Lussier. “All the clients today do e-commerce and social-media networks and that’s it. When you walk around the streets of Montreal, you don’t see any beautiful advertising campaigns any more, like we used to see back in the day. You used to see these beautiful campaigns on billboards and on bus shelters. There were also beautiful campaigns in magazines. We don’t see that any more. It’s the new generation that lives on their telephones, they buy on their telephones, they’re on social media and that’s it. It’s all about the influencers on social media. I find it banal. Maybe it’s just because I’m from another generation. I find it sad. I think this has made photography seem banal. For sure everyone can take beautiful photos with their phones. For me when you take a photo, you look at the lighting, you look at what works best for the person. Now the phones do it all for you.”

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