Whether photographing a mountain valley, sand dunes by the sea, or leaves in the forest, Brenda Castonguay knows how to breathe life into the otherwise mundane or cliché. Shooting mostly in black and white, her images possess an ethereal, luminous quality – a vividness of detail and atmosphere that belie their monochromatic origins.
“Photography’s all about patience,” says Castonguay who has been both an artistic and commercial photographer for the last 15 years. She uses a past in photojournalism to help her capture strikingly original images.
“You have to be able to anticipate – to see a landscape at high noon and know that the light will be perfect at 4:30 that afternoon. You have to stalk a good shot.”
Originally from Montréal, Castonguay was inspired to get into picture-taking during the 1990 Oka crisis, when she met hundreds of photojournalists while working at a film development lab near the historic standoff between Mohawk Natives and the Canadian military. Later she had a stint as a glamour photographer, shooting and selling people better versions of themselves at small beauty salons from Fort Nelson to Gander Bay. The experience, living out of her car for weeks at a time and travelling from one end of the country to the other, gave her the chance to discover Canada’s many natural wonders. Castonguay’s free spirit finally settled in Calgary in 1996, but her eye and camera continue to wander the countrysides of western North America whenever they have the opportunity.
Ultimately, Castonguay considers herself “an artist more than a photographer.” She sticks to traditional methods, developing film in her own darkroom, preferring the ability to control every nuance of a shot from its initial composition to the final print. In addition to scenics, Castonguay does studio work, specializing in baby images. It’s not Anne Geddes, though – she prefers the natural to the posed, eschewing props like flower pots and paint cans, letting her subjects run amok to capture a pure expression of neo-personality. To view more, check out the image portfolio, or call Brenda at 714-9252.