WISH YOU WERE HERE
When he was a teenager in the mid-Seventies, living in rural Nova Scotia, Avard Woolaver would spend hours studying the album covers created by the London-based design group Hipgnosis. Long before he became interested in photography, while LPs like Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” or “Ummagumma” were playing on the turntable, he scrutinized those covers, trying to penetrate the mysteries of the evocative and layered visual compositions. His “Wish You Were Here” is a photographic project that’s been ongoing for several years. The aim is to capture images that have a sense of the surreal but are easily seen in everyday life. He also tries to capture the senses of whimsy and humour that he liked about those album covers of his youth. The images come through observation, rather than Photoshop or other editing. For him, this is an important aspect of the project: there’s no manipulation of the image. Reflections, juxtaposition, and scale all come into play.
Avard Woolaver is based in Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast. He grew up on a farm and took up photography as a form of self-expression to document the world around him and to record interesting places and events. His father was an amateur photographer for most of his life and gave him a camera when he was 18. After that, Avard studied photography at Ryerson in Toronto. Living in an urban environment was new for him, and he did street photography as a way to adapt to the new surroundings. He was influenced by photographers like Elliott Erwitt and Lee Friedlander and strove to capture humorous and quirky scenes with a sense of humanity.
These days he lives in the country and has a slower, more mindful approach. Currently he’s scanning negatives from a thirty-year archive which has led to five self-published books of photos taken in Toronto in the 1980s and 1990s. He takes photos daily, mostly near his home, and plans to continue publishing and exhibiting his works.