The following article was originally published in The Richmond News, on Wednesday, February 27, 2002.
Photographer Barrie Jones quickly puts Neil Olsen at ease as he readies his camera and snaps a shot of the Richmond Hospital nurse in his RN uniform.
Jones, a University of B.C. professor, is working on a new exhibit, Uniformed: Urban Heroes to McJobs for the Richmond Art Gallery, to be showcased in April 2002.
“Years ago I did hockey photographs and I got interested in the social baggage that comes with uniforms,” said the 51-year-old photographer.
“There was a brief time in history where there was disdain for the uniform — during the anti-Vietnam movement and the drug culture. Now, it’s romanticized, it’s kind of chic.”
This isn’t the first time Jones has explored the phenomenon behind the uniform.
After his initial foray with hockey uniforms, he produced a number of works presenting the uniform as a symbol of popular culture, a celebration of sorts for the values he holds dear, such as community work, the military, the police, and firefighters.
In this new body of work, Jones wanted to further explore the mystique behind the uniform, from the cultural to the heroic, to the mundane and the oppressive.
“The whole idea that we have different identities in he every day was interesting to me,” Jones said. “There’s the man in the uniform and the man at home.”
Jones clearly loves what he’s doing.
“I often fantasize that is I won the lottery I’d just to my photography,” he said. “But at the same time, I like teaching. The contact with young emerging artists keeps me inspired.”
Jones’s photography can be found gracing the walls at the University of Windsor, faculty of law, the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, Canada Council Art Bank, and is part of the British Columbia government collection, to name just a few.
You can preview Barrie Jones’s photography at the Richmond Art Gallery from now until March 1 during March miniatures, a silent art auction in support of gallery exhibits and programming.
On March 1 at 7 p.m., Jones’s work and those of many other artists will be sold to the highest bidder. The auction features a multitude of miniature artwork, door prizes, draws and refreshments.
His one-man photography show, Uniformed: Urban Heroes to McJobs, will be on exhibit at the Richmond Art Gallery from April 11 to May 9.