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Figure 1: Back of Brad’s Graduation Postcard 1994


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Figure 2: Front of the graduation postcard showing Power Poles


Where were you 'at' as an artist, when you made this work (i.e. the power poles and the contact sheet with Mark Holliday in the 700 block)?

Trees. Lot's of trees. I still haven't nailed it down, but a lot of trees show up in my stuff from back then. Power Poles was taken on 50th Ave SW with a 4x5 field camera & reduced, which is kind of the opposite way of doing things with a large negative. The city had come by & lopped off the entire one side of a whole row of poplars so the branches wouldn't interfere with the adjacent power lines. I wanted to make that picture kind of intimate, like a wallet-sized photo.

The contact sheet thing - I was conscious of 'the frame' that the camera imposed & was thinking about ways to circumvent it. So I ended up with a whole whack of frames in one image. Go figure. Also the notion of time comes in there too - departing from the "decisive moment" & getting a bit more cinematic, maybe. Also messing up space a bit, too, which is difficult with a single 1/60th of second exposure. And that stairwell was beautiful. South facing, lines and angles, shadows, movement outside. Mark is there for eye candy and scale.

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Figure 3: Brad Uphill. Mark Holiday in Stairs, 700 Block, 11th Avenue SW. 1994. 
Scan of black and white contact sheet


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Figure 4 Brad Uphill, painting, and Shawn Hillis, standing, during renovations at the first Untitled Arts Society premises at the 700 block at 11th Street SW


What were your dreams in founding the society?

I remember it as being more prosaic than dreaming. We need/want this - what do we have to do in order to realize it. Of course, alongside that was the notion that something very good was happening, that the seeds of a potentially positive thing were in our hands. There was an energy that comes from working as group to achieve an end. Sometimes that energy was negative and frustrating—head-butting, that sort of thing, but overall it was positive. Just like The Walton’s.

Did you ever think it would last this long?

I don't know. I knew that Untitled would evolve, the faces would change; the direction would change. But it's not like we were philosophically based - had a manifesto or anything - "Now, This is Art", or " Golly, To Heck With Representation", or " Dada or nada" - groups like that can burn very hot and bright, then slowly decay—we were just folks who mostly got along and respected each other and needed a place to work.

If you were blowing out the sixteen candles on the society's birthday cake, what would you be wishing for?

That all the past current and future members figure out what they are here for, and that Untitled doesn't get on the wrong end of some real estate fiasco.

What advice would you give artists just emerging from ACAD today?

Trust yourself and do the work.

Is there anything you would like viewers to know about your current work?

I wish I could say something about my current work. My work, as in job, is medical photography. Within that context, there are technical standards that I endeavour to adhere to—correct anatomical positioning, image size, depth of field, often difficult in the paediatric environment, so one must be flexible and adaptable. I do a variety of other photographic work there, but the thing about most of this work is that the viewership is confined to those who have legitimate access to the medical record. In regards to the photographic stuff that I do outside of the hospital, there is no thematic continuity that I can put a finger on, and I don't seem to have a very intentional approach—mostly snapshots, documenting the banal and the beautiful, whatever that is. I am quite fond of using Photoshop to dredge some interest out of images I would likely not have bothered with if they were shot on film, also, using Corel Painter essentials on automatic to create "Instant Art!"

Panoramic & stitched together images continue to crowd their way into my world too—I guess this goes back to the contact-sheet portrait and landscape stuff from way back, which in turn I think was a response to printing custom fluorescein angiography contacts in an ophthalmology darkroom, which I was doing for a while.

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