MEET YOUR PHOTO CONTEST JUDGES – ARTIST, FILMMAKER AND EXPLORER CORY TRÉPANIER

Cory Trépanier is an artist, filmmaker and explorer whose oil paintings and films are conceived through extensive exploration into some of the most wild places in Canada. Whether in the landscapes that surround his home in Caledon, Ontario, or in the wilderness of the Far North, Trépanier is in constant awe of the variation and wonder of our natural regions. His painting expeditions have led him to tackle challenges few encounter, all in order to immerse himself in his subject: the Canadian landscape.

A decade in the making, Trépanier’s INTO THE ARCTIC Exhibition Tour premiered at the Embassy of Canada in Washington, D.C., in January of 2017. He is now bringing his unprecedented collection of over 50 Arctic oil paintings and three films to museums across the United States in the coming years. At its core is his 15-foot wide centrepiece, “Great Glacier”, one of the largest representational Arctic landscape paintings in Canada’s history.

Trépanier began filming his painting expeditions in 2004, and now has four televised documentaries under his belt, with his Into The Arctic 3 set for release later this year. Check out the trailer for his Canadian Screen Award nominated Into The Arctic II:

Cory Trepanier’s INTO THE ARCTIC II Film Trailer from CoryTrepanier on Vimeo.

A great painting, a superb film frame and a powerful photo are all built from the same kind of visual DNA: elements like composition, lighting, mood, pattern, texture, balance and perspective. A great image doesn’t require all of these, and rarely will have them all at the same time. One may come to the fore, like a main actor in a movie, with others playing supporting roles.

These elements are what I look for in a photograph. They form a visual structure that when well-orchestrated lead to a powerful image. Subconsciously, these elements are often the reason that one image will draw our eye over another, and grab us at a gut level, burning a lasting impression in our minds.

TIP #1: SQUINT! I do this in the process of choosing every scene I paint or film. Squinting simplifies a scene to its main shapes, and allows you to hone in on the abstract elements within your image. It’s easy to get distracted by the details and lose sight of the big picture. Of course, you can open your eyes again when you’re ready to press the shutter 🙂

TIP #2: The next time you see an image that inspires you, try to understand what’s causing your reaction. Is it the dynamic lighting? Is it the symmetry? Is it the scale? Is it the use of colour? Doing this exercise will help you apply these elements in your own image making.


Trépanier was inducted as a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society in 2012, and was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Living Explorers by Canadian Geographic magazine in 2015. He is also a member of the Explorers Club of Canada, and a recipient of its highest award, the Stefansson Medal.

Find out more about Trepanier’s projects and follow him on Facebook
Trépanier’s Fine Art: www.trepanieroriginals.com
Into The Arctic Project: www.intothearctic.ca
TrueWild Project: www.truewild.ca

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