(Originally posted Oct. 29/2010. Re-posted today as part of our special Black History Month tribute highlighting 28 of Canada’s top influencers & trailblazers.)
Photographic Artist / Publisher, Nok Photo Publishing, Toronto, ON. Born: Jamaica.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica and having earned his Fine Arts degree at Toronto’s York University, Michael Chambers has been the recipient of the 2010 Harry Jerome Award, 2007 WORD Magazine’s Arts Award, and the 2000 Mosaic Image Award for his contributions in art and photography. He has been a guest lecturer at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Ontario College of Art and Design, Ontario Science Centre, Chatham Cultural Museum and Toronto Board of Education.
His diverse career as artist and global citizen is the subject of Anton Wagner’s documentary, The Photographer – An Artist’s Journey, and his images have been exhibited and published in the UK, France, South Africa, Japan, the U.S., and Canada. As an independent curator and documentary filmmaker, Michael has worked tirelessly presenting workshops encouraging and motivating various youth groups who are considered to be at risk. His photography is included in such award-winning films as Ester, Baby and Me, Journey to Justice, and Love, Sex and Eating the Bones. His own directorial film debut entitled The Box, attempts to absolve viewers of conventional stereotypes.
Michael presented an outstanding exhibition called “Sandbox” at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre. The installation aimed at making inclusive the diverse cultural landscape we call the contemporary Canadian, presenting thought-provoking insight through the eyes of a child. In 2008, he presented critically-acclaimed exhibits at the Royal Ontario Museum, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia as well as the National Gallery of Jamaica. Michael’s work will also be featured in the upcoming book, Jamaican Art.
His most recent film credit is as creative director on the Hon. Lincoln Alexander documentary, A Linc in Time, The Making of a Judge (the George Carter story), and contributor on the musical ASE.
Featured articles: Including in Planet Africa Magazine, “From Behind the Lens” by Mawuli Chai, Canada (November 2010, pages 30-34); DNA magazine, by Andrew Creagh, Australia (November 2010); The Globe and Mail, “At Last…” by R.M. Vaughan, Canada (October 16, 2010, page R11).
Honours: Also include being honoured by the National Film Board of Canada for his contributions to photography and social activism; inclusion in Who’s Who in Black Canada.com 2 (2006).
Favourite book? Black Like Me by John Griffin. This book for me examines and challenges the notion of identity.
Favourite quote? “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” – Nelson Mandela
Given the chance, what would you love to do that you haven’t done yet? There is so much I want to do, I just don’t know where to begin. First is a trip to Ghana…
Who inspires you? The most inspirational figures in my life were my parents. Their philosophy was never to let someone else’s perceptions define who you are.
Why do you do what you do? As a photographer I truly love art of storytelling via a single image. The personal history of the viewer helps to develop a visual dialogue, therefore it’s meaning.