I grew up in Duncans Cove, a small coastal community just outside of Halifax, Nova Scotia. My parents were musicians who had immigrated from Québec to play with the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra. Along with another pair of musicians from the United States, they bought two old houses in what was then a dying fishing out-port, and proceeded to rebuild and re-populate the small community with their children, colleagues and friends. So my childhood was surrounded by an extended family of musicians, actors and artists.
At an early age, I had decided that I wanted to be many things, including a violinist, a National Geographic photographer, and a scientific illustrator. My first camera was a Kodak Brownie which I received when I was six; by the age of nine I was in the darkroom with my father, and by the age of twelve I had inherited his Nikon. As a teenager, I pursued my varied interests with enthusiasm: music, photography, theatre lighting, and working in the natural history section of the NS Museum. But I always felt the dilemma of having too many interests to make a career choice. I spent several years studying at Dalhousie University and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (towards a major in Environmental Communication), while at the same time working in a wide range of diverse jobs, including waitressing, working on the trains, delivery driving, and as a biodiversity technician.
During this time I also became a member of the Atlantic Filmmakers’ Cooperative and started volunteering on a few projects. It is there that I finally solved my predicament of incorporating my various interests into a career. To me, film offered more opportunities than photography to tell a story, to collaborate with others in the creative process, and there was no limit to the stories I could help tell!
In 1984 I got my first contract and began working in the film industry full-time, syncing rushes at the NFB. I freelanced as an assistant picture and music editor, and within two years I finally worked my way into the camera department. For over 15 years I worked primarily as a camera assistant on numerous documentaries (mostly for the NFB), and as a focus puller on TV dramas and independent feature films (with Bill MacGillivray, Michael Jones, and Ken Pittman, among others), shooting a few documentaries, music videos, and short dramas along the way. I traveled extensively, working in Africa, Europe, Australia and across Canada, including the High Arctic.
In 2005 I transitioned to working full-time as a cinematographer shooting music videos and documentaries for various broadcasters and independent producers on a wide-range of topics including the arts, the environment, and human/cultural issues. Some credits include: “Black Mother, Black Daughter” (NFB 1989), “Kink V” (Showcase 2006), “Home Out of Nothing” (2009), “Roméo Savoie – la peinture au corps” (R-C/ ARTV 2010), and “La Petitcodiac – une rivière renaît” (R-C 2011.)
In addition, over the years I always felt the need to contribute to media literacy in young people, and have instructed various workshops and mentoring sessions in basic filmmaking, animation, and cinematography through film Co-ops, schools, and film festivals for ages ranging from toddlers to adults.
After living in Halifax, St. John’s, Toronto, and Montreal, I finally returned to live in the same house where I grew up in Duncans Cove with my husband and two boys, and strive to have a proper garden. I continue to work, albeit closer to home, always looking for opportunities to document and collaborate, and contribute with my interdisciplinary interests.