Leslie Hossack’s fine art photographs have been exhibited across Canada from Vancouver to Newfoundland and in the United States. Her images have appeared in many publications including: Globe and Mail; National Post; Ottawa Citizen; Calgary Herald; PhotoED; Galleries West; The Churchill Project, Hillsdale College and Chartwell Bulletin in the US; The Literary Review and Apollo in the UK.
Her work is held in private collections at home and abroad, and in public collections including: Library and Archives Canada; Global Affairs, Canada; the Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum; the Nikkei National Museum; the City of Vancouver; the Canadian War Museum; the National Churchill Library and Center, Washington DC; and the Sigmund Freud Museum, Vienna.
Hossack has been recognized with many awards including the 2010 Ottawa Photography Festival Portfolio Award and the 2011 Applied Arts Award for Architectural Photography and Limited Edition Prints. In 2012, she was selected to participate in The Canadian Forces Artists Program and was deployed to Kosovo. In 2013, Hossack’s series Stalin’s Architectural Legacy won a top award for historic architecture in the ipa (International Photography Awards). In 2015, she was presented with an RBC Emerging Artist Finalist Award in Ottawa.
When Canada celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2017, Hossack was invited to participate in Ottawa’s sesquicentennial Karsh exhibition entitled Continuum. Also in 2017, she was invited to be artist in residence at The Sussex Contemporary Gallery, Ottawa. In 2019, Hossack was welcomed as a “researching artist” in the National Gallery of Canada, Library and Archives.
In 2016, her books Testament: Leslie Hossack in Kosovo (2015) and Registered: The Japanese Canadian Experience During World War II (2015) were finalists in the A+ Photo Book competition sponsored by School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa. First prize was awarded to Registered. Her other books include Cities of Stone, People of Dust (2011), Berlin Studien (2011), Charting Churchill: An Architectural Biography of Sir Winston Churchill (2016), H-Hour, Normandy 1944 (2017) and Freud Through the Looking-Glass (2018). Traced: The Arcane Legacy of Scotland’s Freemasons will be launched in 2019.
The photographs featured in these books are part of Hossack’s larger body of work that explores: Hitler’s Berlin, Stalin’s Moscow, Mussolini’s Rome, Churchill’s London, contested sites in Jerusalem, the NATO Headquarter Camp in Kosovo, buildings linked to the Japanese Canadian internment during WW II, the D-Day landing beaches of Normandy, the Nazi occupied Channel Islands, Dr. Sigmund Freud’s pre-war Vienna, and the Freemasons of Scotland.
Focusing on the built environment and related archival documents, Hossack has completed major studies of iconic architecture in: Vancouver 2008-2011 and 2013-2014, Paris 2009, Berlin 2010, Jerusalem 2011, Moscow 2012, Kosovo 2013, London 2014, Normandy 2015, Vienna 2016, The Channel Islands and Rome 2017, and Scotland 2018. Closer to home, her Ottawa work includes the Diefenbunker and the now vanished Canadian Forces Base Rockcliffe.
Public spaces, changing communities, and familiar items from previous generations fascinate me. I do not live in the past, but I do feel a strong sense of time running through my photographs; I hear a narrative in every series and I see a story in every image.
I am drawn to iconic locations associated with major events of the last century. In fact, my entire body of work is held together by my interest in the monumental structures and powerful personalities who shaped the 20th century. I take great interest in researching the history of the locations and events that I explore, and the written descriptions that I compose form an integral part of my artistic practice.
My photographs are interpretive, not documentary. I am fascinated by what an architect creates when putting pencil to paper. My intention is to fashion an image that reveals what I imagine the architect originally designed, minus the chaos and clutter of contemporary life. I feel compelled to deconstruct the buildings – to take them back to the drawing board, and set the stage for the protagonist to enter.
Whether I am photographing an iconic landmark, a massive construction site, a vanishing community, or a secret society, my work continues to revolve around three major themes: inclusion/exclusion, change/continuity, longing/loss. Often this involves an exploration of the architecture of memory and commemoration. But underlying all of this is my insatiable search for meaning and insistent examination of the singular question of simple human survival.
Self-Reflection, Number 13, Vienna 2016, from the series The Freud Photographs by Leslie Hossack