As a photography - based artist, I imagine myself in a dark room facing a two - way mirror. My camera is set up to shoot whatever I see through the glass. In the room is a single candle providing faint illumination and casting a ʻreﬂectionʼ on the glass. The camera catches both the external image and the inner reﬂection. It helps me see inwards as well as outward.
Having moved around much of my life and grown up in many different cultural environments, I have developed a profound interest in the connected themes of duality and liminality. I am fascinated with how visual metaphor can illuminate (perhaps change) perception. “Who?” is an endeavor to further develop these themes. It is a playful exploration - and perceptual challenge - of the literal and ﬁgurative notions of ʻportraitʼ by photographing subjects in panoramic environments. Further, perspective ʻdistortionʼ is explored by referencing the various facets of a subjectʼs personality by photographing multiples of each subject, the number of which is determined through extensive dialogue.
It is also an exploration of understanding and communication, of overcoming barriers to communication. Having recently been diagnosed with a learning disability - one aspect of which is that non-verbal communication seems a foreign language - “Who?” has become a therapeutic device. Each image completed changes my perception, alters - improves - my ability to see.
Greg Klassen was born near Cologne, Germany, the third son of a Canadian diplomat. Throughout his formative years, he was exposed to divers cultures and languages - a rich experience that was accompanied by a sense of cultural dislocation, which informs his artistic explorations. As a child, he enjoyed drawing and got his ﬁrst camera at age fourteen. At sixteen, he taught himself Ansel Adamsʼ “Zone System” in his basement darkroom. Though encouraged to follow a career in the sciences, which eventually led to a Ph.D. in Marine Biogeography, his passion for the arts (photography in particular) persisted. He paid for his tuition fees by working as a scientiﬁc illustrator ad photographer of microscopic specimens. When he took a photography workshop with Freeman Patterson in 2006, he found his true calling.
In 2009, he received a diploma in Advanced Studies (photography) from the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design and has been accepted into the MAA program at Emily Carr University.