Portraits of Women, 1974-1977 by Rebekah Hakkenberg

The University of Saskatchewan archives are home to a fascinating collection of portraits by Canadian photographer John Reeves. Commissioned by Lorraine Monk in 1975 for the International Year of the Woman, the photos document (mostly) Canadian women from various walks of life. There are portraits of artists, scientists, mothers, historians, clairvoyants, you name it. Regardless of profession, each portrait reveals an equally accomplished, complex  and fascinating human being. Each woman is pictured in comfortable surroundings, wearing her everyday clothes, probably adding to the comfort level that allows the individual personalities of each woman to shine through. The subject returns the gaze of the viewer/photographer, but it doesn't feel like a challenge or confrontation, it is an intimate, familiar act. A knowing look exchanged between equals. One feels as though they could be in conversation with an old friend, about to confide an intimate secret or jewel of wisdom or a joke they just heard over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. Below is just a small sampling of what you can find in the online archives, which also contains portraits of Anne Murray, Alice Munro, Mary Pratt, Gabrielle Roy and even (the one anomaly I could find in a gallery of Canadian portraits) Norwegian-born actress Liv Ullman. 

Jackie Burroughs, Actress, 1939-2010

Constance Nozzolio, Scientist

Vicky Crowe, Craft Manufacturer and Retailer

Karen Kain, Ballerina

Beryl Fox,  Documentary Film Maker

Buffy Sainte-Marie, Singer

Dorothy Wyatt, Mayor

Margaret Laurence, Writer

Joan Fox, Film Historian

All photos courtesy of John Reeves and the University of Saskatchewan archives.

Rebekah Hakkenberg is a curator/writer/photographer living in Toronto. She is also the co-creator of Once Again, To Zelda, which is where an earlier incarnation of this post originally appeared.


Alex said...

Whoa, Aunt Hettie!

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