The Centre for All Canadians
Stewart St. Night, 1983, digital print, 35.6 x 50.8 cm. Courtesy of the artist
Stewart St. Night, 1983, digital print, 35.6 x 50.8 cm. Courtesy of the artist

Lionel F. Stevenson: Fifty Years of Photographs (1962-2012)

Stewart St. Night, 1983, digital print, 35.6 x 50.8 cm. Courtesy of the artist
Stewart St. Night, 1983, digital print, 35.6 x 50.8 cm. Courtesy of the artist
A career survey of the work of P.E.I. photographer and master printer, Lionel Stevenson, focusing on selected thematic groupings and series, including large-scale studies of Peggy's Cove erratics, Canadian streets and landscapes, and documentary commissions on Island elders and historic barn architecture.
Stewart St. Night, 1983, digital print, 35.6 x 50.8 cm. Courtesy of the artist
Stewart St. Night, 1983, digital print, 35.6 x 50.8 cm. Courtesy of the artist

This exhibition brings together a selection of works from the lengthy career of distinguished Prince Edward Island photographer Lionel Stevenson. Born in New Glasgow, P.E.I., Stevenson was working commercially in Toronto by the early 1960s, and was already showing fine art photography in 1964, beginning with an exhibition at Hart House, University of Toronto. In the late 1960s, he broadened the scope of his practice following a period he spent working under the great American documentary photographer Berenice Abbott. Stevenson recalls that it was Abbott who taught him how to capture a highly personal form of photographic expression, as much through printing technique as through selection of the initial shot, and that aesthetic quality was possible no matter what the photograph’s ostensible function (her own documentary work was closely linked to a political project). One need not make self-consciously “artistic” works to achieve a result both beautiful and true to the vision of the photographer. Stevenson’s unique approach is thus evident here in work drawn from many sources: commercial practice, documentary commissions, and more personal projects, including the images of Peggy’s Cove glacial erratics printed in large scale specifically for this retrospective.

It is Stevenson’s contention that subject matter is largely secondary in the creation of his most successful photographs. The special quality of the medium is that it is forever linked to a real moment, undeniably connected to a particular place and time. But paradoxically, it produces documents that bracket this moment out of the flow of everyday life, severing it from reality through the action of capturing a strictly visual statement, ultimately to land on a piece of paper. Thus, the implication of the artistic photograph as Stevenson presents it is that focused vision, rather than deceiving us, provides us with access to a truth that redirects our usual utilitarian and acquisitive habits of experiencing what surrounds us. The object of his practice is not merely to preserve, but to renew what he captures with a camera, holding out the promise that seeing can transform.

-Pan Wendt, curator

Newsletter Signup

HOURS OF OPERATION 


Art Gallery

Open daily from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. |  July and August, open Thursdays until 8 p.m.


Box Office

Monday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.  |  Sunday 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Sundays & Evening Performances: The Box Office opens 2.5 hours prior to each performance.

Please call 1.800.565.0278 or 902.566.1267 for information.

Mavor’s Restaurant

Monday – Wednesday 11a.m. – 9 p.m.
Thursday – Saturday 11a.m. – 11p.m.
Sunday Closed

Please call 902.628.6107 for information.

Showcase Gift Shop

Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.  |  Sunday Closed
Please call 902.628.6149 for information.

The Story of Confederation 

Monday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.  | Sunday 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.


Toutes nos excuses. La version française de notre site Web est présentement en construction.

Hours of Operation


Art Gallery

Wednesday to Saturday 11a.m .-  5 p.m  |  Sunday 1p.m. – 5 p.m.  |  Monday and Tuesday Closed


Box Office

Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.  |  Sundays & Evening Performances: The Box Office opens 2.5 hours prior to each performance. Please call 1.800.565.0278 or 902.566.1267 for information.

Mavor’s Restaurant

Monday – Thursday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.  |  Friday – Saturday  11 a.m. – 11 p.m.  |  Sunday Closed
Please call 902.628.6107 for information.

Showcase Gift Shop

Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. |   Sunday Closed
Please call 902.628.6149 for information.

The Story of Confederation 

Open only on Saturday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

  • I agree to receive further communications from Confederation Centre of the Arts for upcoming events, promotions and market research purposes.