Local photographers showcase work at Aerospace Defence Museum, North Bay

“Flares of Grandeur”

“Flares of Grandeur” by MCpl Michael Bastien

Rachel Lallouz, Staff Writer ~

Images from a select few Canadian Armed Forces photographers’ cache of work is currently on display at the Canadian Forces Museum of Aerospace Defence at 22 Wing North Bay, Ontario.

Included in the “Artists in CADPAT” exhibit is imagery from MARPAC Imaging Technicians Master Corporal Michael Bastien, Sergeant Angela Abbey, and Master Corporal Brent Kenny.

“I was pretty excited when I found out one of my photographs was selected,” says MCpl Bastien. “It is a rewarding feeling to know this picture will hang in the museum with multiple people taking the time to look at it.

MCpl Bastien’s “Flares of Grandeur,” taken two years ago while on board HMCS Regina, captures a Sea King helicopter setting off flares during a practice to deflect missiles. Enemy missiles will target objects giving off heat signature in the sky, such as aircraft. By deploying flares, the helicopter can successfully deflect an incoming missile, he explains.

“The first time I captured the photograph, the setting wasn’t exactly right and the weather wasn’t appealing,” says MCpl Bastien. “On my third try I almost missed the shot, but by some stroke of luck the settings on the camera were just right and I took it with perfect timing.”

He chose that photo for its contrast and clarity – difficult aspects to obtain in military photographs.

“Things happen very fast in the military, so you only have a matter of seconds to capture what is going on,” he says. “No one will do it twice for you. It’s a hit or miss.”

In Sgt Abbey’s 2002 photograph, “Take a load off,” a stone archway of a compound in Afghanistan frames a Canadian soldier providing rear security during a military operation.
Similar to MCpl Bastien’s experience photographing the military, Sgt Abbey says timing was what allowed her to take such a stunning photograph.

“I just happened to be leaving the compound at that moment and saw right away that the archway would provide a natural frame for the photograph,” she says. “I was in the right place at the right time, and saw the image through an artistic eye.”

MCpl Kenny had two photographs selected for the exhibit. In “Oh Dark Buffalo,” taken while on HMCS Whitehorse during Operation Caribbe in December 2015, the silhouette of a sailor standing on deck at dawn is visible, his figure illuminated by the sunrise.

“The composition of the first photograph is what’s really special,” says Cpl Kenny. “When I spotted the sailor, and then took the picture, it turned out to be exactly what I had thought it would be in my mind.”

His second photograph is of the same-sex couple’s kiss, taken Feb.23 following the return of HMCS Winnipeg from the Mediterranean Sea.

“This photo went viral around the world; it’s crazy” says MCpl Kenny. “It was voted number one of photos that have captured the global national interest on CBC. It was the gravity of what was happening that makes it important, and to know that part of my life is ingrained in the history of both Canada and the Canadian military is amazing.”

The photographs of the three Image Technicians will be on display until August 2016.

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