In which I begin to stick prints to a board, looking for some pattern, some something.

And if process doesn’t interest you just scroll to the bottom for a review of Leslie Hossack’s show Freud Through the Looking-Glass.

Let’s go . . .


I’ve never enjoyed aimless photography . . . you know, walking around grabbing, like a crow, any shiny thing that attracts my attention.

Neither have I liked photography that is ultra-focused . . . you know, those bodies of work where every damn photo is just about the same.

A grander scheme is what I’m after, something with deeper complexity and dimension than either of the above-mentioned approaches engender.

Now, I prefer to let the subject matter, as much as my biases and proclivities, inform how I photograph each of my projects. The problem here, or, rather, one of the problems, is that I have no idea what the subject matter actually is. This project doesn’t even have a name or any coordinates.

And I must stress here that the subject matter does not necessarily have to be that which I’m photographing. No, the stuff I’m photographing might just be a stand-in for some other thing. You know . . . metaphorical, metaphysical, something.

So the other day I chose 48 images from my select folder and made some small prints.

And so it begins, this (other) initial phase of a project that is unlike any project I have done before.

I’m gonna stick ’em up on my bulletin boards, move ’em around and look for some sense, a pattern, some way forward. At this point I’m just trying to find out what the aim of this project might actually be.

And part of this phase is (maybe) figuring out how I want the images to relate to one another, bearing in mind that the final form of this thing will (might be) be some kind of printed publication.

I kind of like the idea of 2-shot columns. And of course there’s always the good-old standard side-by-side thing. Or what about simply one photo by itself, and then another?

The only thing I know at this point is that I don’t know. That, and that there’s a whole lot more image-gathering, pondering and trial and error and error and error ahead of me.

Something to look forward to.



After more than a decade spent studying (with brilliant icy precision and a lack of sentimentality) the architectural infrastructure (and thus the politics) of the era surrounding World War II, Leslie Hossack has shifted focus.

Her new work, Freud Through the Looking-Glass (on view at Studio Sixty Six), is framed as a study of the pre-war Vienna of Freud and Hitler, but the photos belie that strict interpretation. This work shows us Hossack’s reactions to encountering the, for lack of a better word, infrastructure surrounding Sigmund Freud.

That is . . . rather than showing us, as she has done in the past, her arrival at some destination (the East Gate of the 1936 Olympic Stadium in Berlin, for instance) here Hossack shows us her journey to the destination.

Not to give you the idea that these photographs are a travelog of her trip to Berggasse 19, in Vienna, where Freud lived and practiced for almost 50 years. On the contrary, the images here are all situated either directly outside Freud’s old office, or in its inside. The (subtle but present) difference from her previous work lies in the type of images Hossack has brought back from that encounter, as well as in their sequencing.

We are brought from the outside to the inside through a chronological sequence. We enter and move through a hall to the couch where the psychoanalysis took place. It’s a trip.

Further, on the facing wall is a series of images where we see, mapped on as a ghostly smear, Hossack’s face reflected in the glass that covers some of the art and other artifacts that inhabited Freud’s office.

By inserting herself, and by adding narrative elements to the whole, Freud Through the Looking-Glass shows us Hossack’s reaction to what’s in front of her in a way deeper than just registering awe. The work begins to become psychological.


Leslie Hossack
Studio Sixty Six

Author: Tony Fouhse

Tony is an Ottawa-based photographer.