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Pierre-Emmanuel Chaillon

Region: 
South Slave
Community: 
Fort Smith
Phone: 
(867) 872-0718

Artist Story

I am a photographer and a filmmaker, with a particular passion for nature. I took up photography more seriously when I moved to Fort Smith, but had the experience of making movies and wildlife documentaries in France before moving to Canada. When I started working in France, the photographer I worked for was quite famous, so I started carrying tripods, and step-by-step, he showed me how to work with a camera. Once I learned the basics, I taught myself some more, and I’m still learning every day!

Since moving to Fort Smith, I have worked with Dechinta University to create a film on the Dehcho – which has recently been released on CBC shorts – and I am currently working on a Decolonizing Education project with Aurora College. I’ve been lucky to work alongside Elders through these projects. I feel really grateful to be able to learn so much through my job. I couldn’t believe that I had spent so much time in Canada without knowing this part of its history.

I usually take photographs of nature in the morning. I love the light at that time of the day, and it is really quiet. Depending on my mood, I will walk and look for landscapes or animals, or will simply go with the flow. I have been lucky enough to work all over the world, but the North is extremely inspiring. When I walk outside around to take pictures, I’m constantly touched by my surroundings. Sometimes I can sense that there is something about the place that is worth photographing. I’m not sure if it’s something calling me, or if I follow the light, but I try to capture an emotion in my photographs. I like to get a feeling of what’s around me, and when I get touched, I try to express that feeling through my pictures.

Sometimes I will stay in one spot, especially when I wait for an animal like a lynx, bison or birds. I’ve been lucky with photographing lynx lately, which I feel very grateful for because I connect the most with this animal. One day, I dream to be able to photograph a wolverine. As much as I love nature, I would also love to start working with the people of the NWT – connect more with them and their cultures. Nature will always be there, but I would like to expand on my skills in photographing people, which is more difficult.

Photography is part of my journey in slowing down. Taking pictures makes me aware of what’s around me. It makes me focus on small details: the colours, the light, and the shape of things. It helps me stay in the moment and makes me enjoy what’s in front of me. I always carry my camera with me – it’s a curse for the people who are in my life!

Artist Bio: 

Originally from France, Pierre Emmanuel Chaillon has lived in Québec for 15 years and now resides in Fort Smith. He studied biology in Québec, and moved to Fort Smith with his wife. When he was 12 years old, Pierre Emmanuel started working on movies and documentaries in France, which he dove back into when he moved to the Northwest Territories. He sells his artwork locally, and can be contracted for projects upon request.

Last Updated: January 21, 2019

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