Michel Dompierre, photographer: a witness of the light

Michel Dompierre, photographe: témoin de la lumière

Muslim in Niagara Falls

November 11, 2019 22h06


Michel Dompierre, photographer: a witness of the light

Michel Dompierre, photographe: témoin de la lumière

Johanne Fournier

Special Collaboration


RIMOUSKI — “Why do I do photography?” inquired the photographer, Michel Dompierre, in the interview in the Sun. “It is because of the light, the quality of the light.”

Such a torch, the artist of Rimouski use of this light and makes it radiate for more than 40 years. If it has, the time of installation, painted scenes, landscapes and especially people of her adopted land that is the Bas-Saint-Laurent, he has also shown a light own to other lands, like so many moments of eternity.

Michel Dompierre was particularly fond of the photograph of the type of documentary and humanist. “Witness to the lives of men and women is a form of humanism”, considers he. For the photographer, it is important to bear witness to his time and the territory it inhabits. The challenge? “It is to find the exotic, to bring a different look to rediscover the territory inhabited.”

Its lens has often set the Peak-to-English of the Bic and the Rocher-Blanc Rimouski, those places that, with a single clicking of the trigger of his Cannon, morph into works of art.

The photographer has produced six books of the municipalities and the RCMS of the Bas-Saint-Laurent. He has never received grants from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec or the Canada Council for the arts. In addition to the books in The Bas-Saint-Laurent : the roots of Bouscotte and By exposure time, which, respectively, have been published by Éditions Trois-Pistoles and Edition Radio-Québec, the achievement of the other four volumes has been funded by contributions from businesses and organisations in the community. “I took it myself,” he says. I was trying to develop a sense of social recognition. If you want your business to work, it is necessary that the territory is inhabited, it is necessary that you give value. I’m so proud of the involvement of private companies in the four books!”

Michel Dompierre, photographe: témoin de la lumière

The contortionist Laurence Racine-Choinière in front of the islands of the Bic in Rimouski

Michel Dompierre

Many trips

The man born in 1945 in Hull has entered the labour market as a journalist for Radio-Canada. After leaving journalism, he has worked as director of communications for Monique Vézina, minister of external Relations under the Mulroney government. During the many trips that imposed on him the task, his camera was always a part of his baggage. “Thanks to that, I had access to some persons,” says he again. Those who have the more marked will be the film-maker Gaston Kaboré, one of the founders of the pan-african Festival of cinema and television of Ouagadougou (FESPACO) in Burkina Faso and the surgeon of bush Ann Spoerry, co-founder of the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) in Kenya.

After having worked for a year and a half the minister Vézina, Michel Dompierre will have more, eventually, that her camera to the only master. It will become the official photographer of the singer-songwriter Richard Desjardins, of which he has illustrated the career for a period of thirty years. Even if they surrender now to the major contracts because of back pain, he is pacing up and down again with as much passion the maritime territory.

Michel Dompierre, photographe: témoin de la lumière

Spinning top on the island of Taquile in the middle of lake Titicaca in Peru

Michel Dompierre

The thunderbolt

His revelation to the eighth art came at the age of 17 when he was invited to visit a dark room. He then installed a laboratory in his room, with a huge enlarger. This crush has never faded since.

Michel Dompierre don’t like to say that it is a self-taught. His practice and his knowledge of photography are definitely worth several degrees. The photographers who inspire her are Sebastiao Salgado for the photo to black-and-white and Henri Cartier-Cresson for the “decisive moment”. It will say at the Occasion that”there is no photo possible without the anticipation”.

The one that had the nausea pictures of sunsets has started to do. “But they are still inhabited, he says. There must be people on it.” If he is taking pictures of the sunsets, of which those of the fabulous islands of the Bic, it is because the colors of each have something surreal. It’s almost like magic. Indeed, the word “magic” is an anagram of the word “image,” notes the artist.



Michel Dompierre, photographe: témoin de la lumière

A young man and his balloon Sanankoroba in Mali

Michel Dompierre

“Mr. Dompierre is an important figure in the photographic art and in the immortalization of the landscape bas-laurentien, stressed the member of parliament for Rimouski, Harold LeBel, before bestowing the medal of the national Assembly Michel Dompierre de Rimouski, Thursday, on the opening day of the Salon du livre de Rimouski. He has, through his lens, documenting the evolution of the modern Quebec, with an artistic lens. This is the blacksmith in Trois-Pistoles or the first electrician in Mont-Joli, he photographed the simplicity of daily life.”

For the member LeBel, this decoration was intended to recognize the work of Michel Dompierre, but also to acknowledge his important legacy of some 15,000 photographs to the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ). “What are these eyes which have seen all these beauties is extraordinary”, has launched the ceo of BAnQ, Jean-Louis Roy, during the ceremony.

This unique collection is a unique look that can be documented for the generations to come, a pan of history spanning from 1975 to 2008. According to the member for Rimouski, the photographer has made an outstanding contribution to the development of the territory in bas-laurentien.

“I accept this medal with great humility,” said the recipient. “I feel that my photos came back before all the citizens,” he explained as the first because of his legacy. The other reason is because he was anxious that something might happen to his pictures, that he loses all. In addition, none of his relatives could not keep them and take care of it. He believes that this is all that it leaves.

This gift is huge. “I kept the third of the good images I had made, says Michel Dompierre. Those that I have kept, this is like a good wine it keeps.” The man, who celebrated his 74-year-old Friday, yet for at least a year to scan volunteer pictures and to contextualize each of them. “It is a work of a monk”, he admits.

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