Artist of the year 2019 – Gilles M. Belisle
A TALE OF TWO PASSIONS
The healer – the artist…
Medicine and photography are the two driving forces behind Gilles-Michel Belisle.
It was the best of times…
Born in the mid 1950’s in the small town of Lachute, Quebec, Gilles Belisle broke the mould at a very early age. As a child he showed keen interest in nature and art.
At 12 years of age, Gilles won first prize in a local drawing contest – a camera – and his artistic journey began. He explored all that he loved through the lens of his new acquisition as he revealed his wonderfully inspired view of nature and humanity.
As he grew, so did his love of science and photography. He entered medical school at the University of Sherbrooke and sought creative opportunities to combine his two passions.
During his residency in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Sherbrooke, he developed endoscopy photography at the Sick Children’s Hospital in Toronto. In 1982 he participated in a research project on vocal cord disorders at the Voice Laboratory in Vancouver. Photography by video-stroboscope provided him the opportunity to have his scientific research paper published in the “Canadian Journal of Otolaryngology”.
As fate would have it, while at the Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C., Gilles made valuable contacts at an international magazine. He was subsequently commissioned to join two expeditions, one in China and the other in Kenya and his journey as a photographer of exception was on its way.
After these soul altering journeys, Gilles deepened his pursuit of his two passions: medicine and photography. With camera in hand and shod in his in famous clogs (his only form of footwear!), he travelled the world at every opportunity.
It was the worst of times…
His life took a fateful twist in 2007 when he experienced the loss of vision in both eyes. After two separate retinal detachment surgeries and six months of provisional existence…unsure of the outcome..… he regained his eyesight and renewed his resolve to live his life to the fullest. What seemed to be the ‘worst of times’ transformed his life into ‘the best of times’ as he began his altruistic missions to third world countries including Africa and Haiti.
His experiences are rich, deeply moving and as unique as the man himself.
We invite you to come and share in the expression of his passion.
Drawing inspiration from his cultural journeys, Gilles Michel Belisle’s artistic process is unique and authentic. His ideas focus on a singular or multi-faceted subject, randomly inspired by his adventurous encounters. He then creatively selects angles and lighting in order to capture the most impactful image.
An intuitive artist, he senses and anticipates the precise instant he must be ready to capture the moment. Through this process his subjects remain perfectly natural, as he proceeds to immortalize their essence.
Every step, from the initial inspiration to the final printing, is conceived solely by Gilles’ passion and honest creativity; his professional ethic does not allow for any retouching. Through an impeccably mastered technique, his photos are witness to and a reflection of his personal, raw and honest vision.