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Once Canada's 'best unemployed tuba player,' Ian McIntosh now speaks through photography

Taking part in the Focus On Simcoe photography festival, Barrie is the apple of McIntosh's eye in this week's Mid-Week Mugging

If a picture is worth a thousand words, Ian McIntosh’s work may never stop talking.

McIntosh is a local photographer who has many pieces of work that showcase the beauty of the city he moved to in 2000.

A classically trained musician who specialized in the tuba, McIntosh ended up playing in a brass quintet that toured Canada. The lack of orchestra jobs in Canada pushed McIntosh to his other passion, photography, and he hasn’t looked back.

“At one time I was the best unemployed tuba player in the country but that didn’t pay the bills for my family,” said McIntosh. “I had a friend who had a darkroom and I always loved taking pics so I made that switch. It was a long switch, as I quit music in 1995 and decided on going hard at photography in 2012.”

The City of Barrie has designated June as photography month and will be home to a photography festival to boost tourism in the region. The Focus On Simcoe event will feature more than 20 exhibits of amazing photography that will delight the eyes and McIntosh will present his Barrie Perspectives at the Flourish Vitality Centre.

The yoga studio is shared with his partner in life and business and will be filled with some of the most recognizable Barrie landmarks in town.

“My exhibit will show the beauty of Barrie through taking pictures of the various landmarks in town, particularly the Spirit Catcher,” said McIntosh. “This piece of art is clearly the icon of this city; it’s not even close. When you see the Spirit Catcher or hear of it, you think Barrie and I do have a lot of pics of it, but also of other well-known and not so well-known locations in the city.”

One of the most recent pics of the Spirit Catcher is called Spirit Storm and was taken during the big wind storm from a couple weeks ago. McIntosh saw a video someone was taking of the landmark by the lake as it’s movable parts were swinging in the strong wind and took a series of photos and added his own personal touch to it.

“So much of the structure is on swivels so even the headpiece was going horizontal the winds were so fierce that day,” said McIntosh. “I saw the sun trying to come out as the storm was dying down and knew it would be a great sunset, so that’s how I got the sun streaks in it. I used a technique called in-camera motion or movement to add motion to the picture which is why it it has such a certain level of dynamics that doesn’t exist in reality.”

McIntosh has many techniques that he uses to create a visual of the picture he takes and to enhance its beauty. One of McIntosh’s pieces is that of Allandale Station during a sunset where he has removed all the fencing, equipment and clutter that surrounded it and made arguably one of the city’s most iconic pieces of art.

“That is kind of the epitome of what I do,” said McIntosh. “I take something that exists and create something that doesn’t exist in a microsecond; it does exist over a period of time and it's an imagining of what it can be. I don’t create photographs, I create images and what I think is art even if some people may not agree.

"Some might say it’s not the purist way or that I’m cheating and hey, that’s their opinion, but I do what I do and am who I am.”

Many in Barrie love McIntosh’s work and even Mayor Jeff Lehman stopped by recently and posted about it on his social media, a huge honour to McIntosh.

The 57-year-old photographer loves when his work gets the credit he feels it deserves and hopes others will come and check it out.

“To have the mayor here and then post about it was awesome,” said McIntosh. “That’s one of the reasons we take pictures, to have them viewed and enjoyed. I love seeing the reactions of people who get lost in checking every detail of one of my photos; it makes all the hard work very worth it.”

Barrie Perspectives can be viewed everyday in the month of June from 1-4 p.m. at Flourish Vitality Centre at 11 Victoria St., Suite B1, in the same plaza as Pie Wood Fired Pizza.

The big day for McIntosh will be Saturday, June 9 from 7-9 p.m. at the same location as he will be hosting a reception with live music, wine and cheese.

For more on McIntosh and his work, check out his website here.


Shawn Gibson

About the Author: Shawn Gibson

Shawn Gibson is a staff writer based on Barrie
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