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Rosemary Hasner shares her love for mixed-media photography

February 15, 2024   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

“You always have a camera with you,” said Rosemary Hasner, mixed media photographer. “Some of the pieces, people ask me, ‘What are you doing in town?’ when I’m taking an unusual picture.”

Ms. Hasner is a mixed media photographer, based out of Caledon, adding a variety of things to her surprising photographs. She told us in a recent interview that she turns to nature for many of the “found objects” she includes in her pieces.

“Mine tends to be still life and collage with found objects or a photo of a bird and lay that in my image,” she said.

For some years, she was involved with the Mad & Noisy Gallery in Creemore, a gallery that included artists of all mediums. She is involved with Headwaters Arts and placed three pieces in the Re-Launch show at the Alton Mill that ran from Jan. 10 to Feb. 11. Her primary focus is taking editorial photography for In the Hills magazine.

Nature plays a huge role in Rosemary Hasner’s paintings. Ms. Hasner worked for the Conservation Authority of Toronto for 18 years and finds this a great artist community with Headwaters, Simcoe and the Blue Mountain.

“I’ve been written-up in numerous magazines,” she commented. 

As photographers, she opined “We have to capture the moment; we see things differently. A photographer plays with the light.”

She feels that it is good for artists to re-invent themselves once in a while. So, she is interested in watercolour and working with wood. She is collecting all these things and seeing how she can come up with a collage. There is an owl in one and she loves interesting titles for her pieces.

Between photography and effect, she created a piece called the Group of Seven with seven cows walking up to her. People have this as a print in their kitchen was her comment, adding the title helps. Her Group of Seven are Charolais white beef cattle.

She has found that a quirky title can sell a piece quicker.

It has been a passion for Ms. Hasner and she still goes around photographing old barns and uninhabited old houses.

“You can almost hear the animals and the people. It’s a little eery.”

She will add texture to capture a rural scene. There is nothing like standing in the antique barn, where layers of colour give it some drama.

People have remarked that her “images are dark and mystifying.”

Often viewers want to know about the images. They want to see and learn about them but she is not worried about someone else copying her process. 

Other techniques are taking a number of images and mixing them together – a butterfly, a feather and layer it. She brings it together and keeps working on it until her story is finished. Usually. she writes something that she was thinking about: “Why I did what I did.”

People like it and she sticks the story on the back of the piece, something quirky.

She told us, “I love what I do. My photographs are a story and an image.”

It has been wonderful meeting the people she has through In the Hills.” She used to travel to find old houses more than now. It was strange not knowing what things were to be found still in old houses. She takes those pictures, like a coffee cup still on a kitchen table. Normally, she did say, she goes with someone else.

To add just a little watercolour, a little dab to imitate an old vintage photo.

“Like the colourized Christmas Carol we don’t watch because we like the black and white better,” she said. “I like old black and white films. They’re soft and I’m evoking an emotional reaction from my work for sure.”

For her future, she has had some health issues, including a rare form of cancer but she is focusing on her health and now she is back on the mend. She has also found she is happier when she is working on her art, observing, “When people look at art something goes off in their brain.”

Doing her art she does not think about illness; now she is creating for herself, stimulating her own brain and focusing on what she is doing.

“It’s a form of therapy,” she said. 

When you go to nature, out on a trail, that does wonderful things is Ms. Hasner’s assurance.

Lately, she is back to Headwaters, showing her work. No matter what, she is doing art and her condition never slowed her down to do editorial photography. She still had to pay the bills.

Said Rosemary Hasner, “I am great now. I like to leave it up to the viewer.

“Chaos is life.” 

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