I lived in a house like this in Vancouver, Canada...

Today I was thinking of Vancouver, Canada. I spent 6 months studying at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, on Vancouver Island, in 1997, selected by photographers and filmmakers. I came with my lover, also a student at the School of Fine Arts in Paris (l'École des beaux-arts de Paris). I had made an artistic dossier for him, his work and for myself, and I wrote a dialogue between our 2 very different artistic practices, so that we could be selected together. Each had chosen a different school, even very far from each other, for him, it was the university. I had made these artistic records in my parents' house, my mother had a computer, long before the others, it was rare, she was ahead of her time. We didn't need schools to make the models, I had already studied graphic arts at Masters level, I was doing quite well. We lived in a house, after having lived for 1 month in a youth hostel, the women on one side and the men on the other. I had never opened my large suitcase and I had met a Brazilian stripper, who spoke Portuguese, she was staying in one of the 6 women's beds in the compartment where I was. So many stories. I followed the courses of the photographer Sandra Semchuk (born in 1948), during these 6 months and we realized with the team of students, from divergent backgrounds, I made many friends, a very beautiful exhibition of photographs, in a gallery. I had made a panorama of 400 color photographs displayed on top of each other like a large mandala (the mandala represents a perfect universe full of precious objects, in the Hindu and Buddhist usually circular) exhibited by color, named "Vancouver lover". One of my photographs had been selected by the group and Sandra, for the invitation card of the group exhibition named "Story". It was an underwater view as I was swimming in the open blue pools of Vancouver. I loved the attention of this photographer, she taught me so much. In France, I never had a teacher photographer, but there was a photographer recognized in my jury of fine arts diploma (Valérie Jouve) who said this sentence: "Your work is so open that I am lost". It represented me well. In Vancouver, my photographic views went beyond the intimate and public setting, underwater, in the air, airplane views, views of a couple of artists working, sometimes naked, winter landscapes, summer, autumn, there was an intense love and a vision of the artist woman at work, in front of her camera and behind, in the landscape, as if, love was part of nature, the human nature. In total destitution. I pay tribute to this photographer, who loves genealogy, in search of her culture, migrations, cultural mixing, bisons and bears, I learned that she had received a prize 2 years ago. I rediscover her, she hasn't changed, her voice, her face.
I learned to photograph at a very young age with my father, who had a good quality camera, and my mother made Super 8 films. Long before I passed competitions to study in Parisian art schools, I practiced in the image, in a very natural way, adopting an open-minded, and without preconceived ideas, nor any culture of the history of the photographers. So I kept this strange freedom, which needs no artistic recognition, on the images produced. Because it's almost as a family that we approach the images, but without claiming authority. We did images, as we did cooking, it was a question of framing, technique, color and above all, for me, it was a real pleasure, which I have always kept. I thus had a good artistic record
Sandra Semchuk is second generation Canadian of Ukrainian and Polish ancestry. She has been a photographer for 40 years, and is a co-founder of the Photographers Gallery in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada and a teacher at Emily Carr University. When I met Sandra, my teacher, she was making an exhibition on her relationship with her father, she showed me her work and that impressed me a lot, because in France, this relationship is almost taboo, and no artist works on this subject. She wrote this :

My father suffered from a serious heart attack in July, 1988. In Coming to Death’s Door: A Daughter/Father Collaboration (a series of work which includes the piece entitled Death is a Natural Thing, Sweetheart, was shown at Presentation House Gallery, 199 ), he and I look together at the event, which led to my helping him escape from the hospital. In the photographic images I trace my own responses to my father and to his inevitable death. This investigation occurs within the simple experiences of moving from the tent where I slept separate from my father’s home, overlooking a lake in northern Saskatchewan, and of situating myself in his bedroom. I use the camera gesturally as a way sustaining the experience from the inside, and of leaving a trace as an outside observer. The broken image, like the broken self, hastens the processes of reconstruction and synthesis.

Bio : Sandra Semchuk is a Ukrainian Canadian photographer and video artist born in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan. She was a co-founder of the Photographers Gallery artist run gallery in Saskatoon. Semchuk often works collaboratively using the familial, autobiography, and dialogue across generations, cultures and species. She worked collaboratively for fifteen years with her late husband, James Nicholas, Rock Cree actor and orator, to consider potential conciliations within the self and between the indigenous and non-indigenous. Their dialogue was grounded in experience–in the primary knowledges of place–land, flora and fauna and weather–and in human stories. The wider-than-human is the larger context. In her most recent 3D stereographic video poems she collaborates to resuscitate familial connections with the tree and forest. Semchuk’s book on the internment of Ukrainians in Canada: The Stories Were Not Told, Canada’s WW I Internment Camps will be published by the University of Alberta Press in 2018. This book brings together stories by internees and descendants with Semchuk’s photographs, cross cultural writing and historical documents. Semchuk has exhibited her work and collaborations at Presentation House, the Belkin, Vancouver and Comox Valley Art Galleries, British Columbia, the Photographers Gallery, the Mendel, Chapel, Mann, Godfrey Dean and McKenzie Art Galleries of Saskatchewan, Urban Shaman in Manitoba, the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography in Ottawa, the Center for Creative Photography, Arizona, the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, fotofeis in Scotland and the Museu D’art Contemporani in Spain. Sandra teaches at Emily Carr University in Vancouver.