May 29, 2024

Portraits and Fashion: Quebec Photographers Beyond Borders

Press Release

Turning the lens on Quebec talent

Montreal, May 29, 2024. – The McCord Stewart Museum will present Portraits and Fashion: Quebec Photographers Beyond Borders from May 31 to September 29. This groundbreaking exhibition is first and foremost a celebration of the talent of Quebec photographers, whose boundless creativity has enthralled the art directors of the world’s leading fashion magazines, advertising agencies and music scenes. The prints of 17 established and emerging photographers who were either born in Quebec or immigrated here, but who all have international reach, are brought together in a brilliantly designed exhibition. They are: Max Abadian, William Arcand, Richard Bernardin, Alex Black, Sacha Cohen, Cristina Gareau, Andréanne Gauthier, Royal Gilbert, Shayne Laverdière, Carl Lessard, Monic Richard, Norman Jean Roy, Étienne Saint-Denis, Nelson Simoneau, Oumayma Ben Tanfous, Xavier Tera and villedepluie. In addition to fashion photos taken for the press, an impressive series of iconic portraits will unfold before the public’s eyes, from Céline Dion, U2 and Charlotte Cardin to Nelson Mandela, Zidane, Elisapie, Adele, Barbie Ferreira, Mika and Les Louanges. This exhibition, presented by Holt Renfrew Ogilvy, is aimed at a wide audience with a passion for photography, fashion and the world of Quebec, Canadian and international celebrities. The project is accompanied by a catalogue featuring 268 photographs by the 17 photographers.

“This exhibition is the second instalment of our summer programming devoted to fashion photography and celebrity portraits, alongside Norman Parkinson: Always in Style. It’s an unprecedented opportunity to meet 17 local photographers, who are true ambassadors of Quebec’s creative vitality, reaching out to the four corners of the globe. It also reflects the growing concern for greater diversity in the fashion industry and society in general. Perhaps it will inspire the next generation of photographers to dare to dream beyond borders,” says Anne Eschapasse, President and CEO.

Curated by Thierry-Maxime Loriot, the man behind several memorable exhibitions, including Thierry Mugler: Couturissime, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, and most recently, the retrospective devoted to the creative duo Victor & Rolf, Portraits and Fashion: Quebec Photographers Beyond Borders is his first exhibition to focus on contemporary editorial, commercial and commission photography. Some twenty audiovisual pieces, produced for the occasion – including a multisurface projection by the creative agency Rodeo FX – grant a peek inside the photographers’ artistic approach and feature anecdotes from artists who were shot by the exhibition photographers.

“There are so many ways you could define the work of these 17 artists, who brilliantly blend the different genres of photography. They are sometimes referred to as portraitists, documentarians, image artists or fashion photographers. But they all have one thing in common: Quebec. Whether from Tunisia or Iran, the Laurentians or Montérégie, well-established or yet-to-be-discovered, these artists have all developed their unique creativity and aesthetic vision in Quebec, before exporting and establishing themselves as key players on today’s international scene. For some, Quebec’s fashion and publishing microcosm and its photography schools have been a springboard that has propelled them towards the great capitals – such as New York, London, Paris, Los Angeles and Tokyo – and the pages of the biggest magazines,” says Thierry-Maxime Loriot.

“Holt Renfrew Ogilvy is very proud to be the presenting sponsor of Portraits and Fashion: Quebec Photographers Beyond Borders at the McCord Stewart Museum,” says Natalie Lord, Divisional Vice President and General Manager, Holt Renfrew Ogilvy. “The McCord Stewart Museum and Holt Renfrew Ogilvy have long enjoyed a successful relationship. We are looking forward to supporting this exciting exhibition for fashion-loving Montrealers and visitors alike.”

  • Xavier Tera, <em>Marina</em>, Japon, 2020
  • William Arcand, <em>Mika Santos & Seid Mahamat</em>, Vogue Hong Kong, Londres, 2023
  • villedepluie, <em>Hubert Lenoir</em>, Foufounes Électriques, Montréal, 2018
  • Shayne Laverdière, <em>Xavier Dolan</em>, L’Uomo Vogue, Paris, 2014
  • Sacha Cohen, <em>Barbie Ferreira</em>, Los Angeles, 2023
  • Royal Gilbert, <em>Mathieu Simoneau & Taja Feistner</em>, toit du Stade Olympique, Montréal, 2019
  • Richard Bernardin,<em> Claire Elliot</em>, Habitat 67, Montréal, 2006
  • Oumayma Ben Tafous, <em>Aheem</em>, Brooklyn, New York, 2020
  • Norman Jean Roy, <em>Joni Mitchell</em>, New York magazine, 2020
  • Nelson Simoneau, <em>Winnie Harlow</em>, Toronto, 2017
  • Monic Richard, <em>Leonard Cohen</em>, Montréal, 2001
  • Max Abadian, <em>Isabelle Boulay</em>, Montréal, 2023
  • Étienne Saint Denis, <em>Michaela, Ally, Dreony & Tess, campagne Lecavalier</em>, Montréal, 2020
  • Cristina Gareau, <em>Laurie Boudreault</em>, Tofino, Colombie-Britannique, 2018
  • Carl Lessard, <em>Elipsapie Isaac</em>, Sacacomie, 2010
  • Andréanne Gauthier, <em>Joaquin Phoenix</em>, Toronto, 2018
  • Alex Black, <em>X</em>, Montréal, 2022

Object photographs

Works imbued with humanism

While the first common thread linking the photographers in the exhibition is their strong connection to Quebec, the second is undoubtedly their humanistic approach to their practice, which lies at the heart of their relationship with their models. This sensitivity has allowed them to capture highly emotional moments.

Ariane Moffat tells us about Royal Gilbert’s photo shoot for the cover of Elle in September 2021: “I surrendered myself completely to Horth’s artistic vision, and she ‘showed me her colours’ on the morning of the shoot, suggesting that I wear a body suit for the cover, lying full length, without concealing anything from my round, exposed body. I already trusted her sophistication and good taste. So I was able to enjoy this statement right down to my toes! The result made me proud. I felt sublimated in Royal Gilbert’s always tender and fair eye. All woman (at last, the Italian I wanted to be!), all me (vamp version!), voluptuous and timeless. I always feel privileged to be so magnified in pictures with such a ‘formula 1’ team to reassure me.”

Isabelle Boulay, photographed for her album Les chevaux du plaisir (2023) by Max Abadian, said that “photography is a divinatory art that consists in seeing ‘beyond’. It has the gift of making visible that part of the other that we call mystery. Max has this gift.”

Giving free rein to creativity

The exhibition explores the decompartmentalization of artistic and fashion photography that began in the 1990s. This openness, the beginnings of which can be seen in the other exhibition on fashion photography presented since April at the Museum – Norman Parkinson: Always in Style – has allowed these visual artists to give free rein to their creativity.

Each work testifies to mastery, but above all to a unique style and vision of portraiture. Norman Jean Roy, Richard Bernardin, Xavier Tera and Nelson Simoneau give us elaborate stagings that suggest narrative fragments and spark the imagination. Meanwhile, Alex Black, Cristina Gareau, Oumayma Ben Tanfous, William Arcand, villedepluie, Sacha Cohen and Étienne Saint-Denis are noted for the social dimension of their photography, in search of multi-generational encounters, questioning society’s dynamics with a generous and humanist approach, always with a visual flourish that is both singular and fascinating. Monic Richard and Carl Lessard make abundant use of black and white in their art. According to Thierry-Maxime Loriot, it’s “a way of distancing oneself from fashion, in order to emphasize the image, the subject and the emotions, rather than the garment, which is relegated to the background.”

Focusing on the celebrities who make Quebec shine

Whether they were born in Iran or Tunisia and have made Quebec their adopted home or are natives of la belle province but have chosen to settle in Japan, France, the United States or elsewhere in Canada, they all have one thing in common: they have perfected their art in Quebec, and thus immortalized numerous Quebec celebrities. Through his selection of photographs, Thierry-Maxime Loriot pays tribute to some of the leading figures in contemporary Quebec, including Dany Laferrière, Xavier Dolan, Anne Dorval, Isabelle Boulay, Leonard Cohen, Hubert Lenoir, Kaytranada and Phyllis Lambert.

“This exhibition and its catalogue are, for future generations, a testimony to a chapter in Quebec’s history, reflecting Quebecers’ pride in embracing and celebrating the diversity and range of their rich heritage and cultural landscape, through the people and symbols that I wish to pay tribute to with this exhibition. Quebec is the emotional tie that unites us all: our creativity really does resonate beyond our borders,” says Thierry-Maxime Loriot.

  • Roger Aziz © Musée McCord Stewart Museum
  • Roger Aziz © Musée McCord Stewart Museum
  • Roger Aziz © Musée McCord Stewart Museum
  • Roger Aziz © Musée McCord Stewart Museum
  • Roger Aziz © Musée McCord Stewart Museum
  • Roger Aziz © Musée McCord Stewart Museum
  • Roger Aziz © Musée McCord Stewart Museum
  • Roger Aziz © Musée McCord Stewart Museum
  • Roger Aziz © Musée McCord Stewart Museum
  • Roger Aziz © Musée McCord Stewart Museum
  • Roger Aziz © Musée McCord Stewart Museum
  • Roger Aziz © Musée McCord Stewart Museum
  • Roger Aziz © Musée McCord Stewart Museum
  • Roger Aziz © Musée McCord Stewart Museum
  • Roger Aziz © Musée McCord Stewart Museum
  • Roger Aziz © Musée McCord Stewart Museum
  • Roger Aziz © Musée McCord Stewart Museum
  • Roger Aziz © Musée McCord Stewart Museum
  • Roger Aziz © Musée McCord Stewart Museum
  • Roger Aziz © Musée McCord Stewart Museum

Exhibition views

A summer of fashion at the Museum

The exhibition completes the diptych of exhibitions devoted to fashion photography presented this summer at the McCord Stewart Museum. Portraits and Fashion: Quebec Photographers Beyond Borders picks up where Norman Parkinson: Always in Style leaves off in 1990, presenting the evolution of recent fashion photography. Visitors to the Museum will be able to explore a century in the evolution of fashion and the particular photographic art associated with it. The two exhibitions will also reveal just how far we’ve come since Norman Parkinson’s time.

“This project is in keeping with several exhibitions that the McCord Stewart Museum has already devoted to fashion photography, including Horst: Photographer of Style (2015) and Norman Parkinson: Always in Style (2024), and with its mission to examine the different forms of artistic expression that have manifested themselves in Montreal and beyond, from yesterday to today. It also resonates with the Museum’s remarkable collections of photography as well as dress, fashion and textiles, positioning it as a North American leader in these fields of collecting and museological expertise,” says Anne Eschapasse, President and CEO.

Curatorial and production team

An exhibition conceived and organized by the McCord Stewart Museum.

Curator and art director: Thierry-Maxime Loriot
Project management: Catherine K. Laflamme, McCord Stewart Museum
Scenography: Guillaume Kukucka
Graphic design: Paprika

Exhibition catalogue

The exhibition is accompanied by the catalogue Beyond Borders, featuring over 268 images by the 17 photographers in the exhibition, who work in the fields of fashion, portraiture, advertising and music, locally, nationally and internationally. The 252-page bilingual book is published by the McCord Stewart Museum/BT Publishers, edited by Thierry-Maxime Loriot and Anne Eschapasse.

Hardcover, 252 pages
Design: Paprika
Bilingual French-English
Price: $52
ISBN: 978-1-7389247-2-1

The exhibition catalogue is available at the Museum Boutique, in bookshops and by order from our distributor University of Toronto Press.

Exhibition merchandise

A range of products derived from the exhibition – postcards, magnets, tote bags, pouches (that can serve as pencil cases or makeup bags), beach towels and official posters – has been developed by Paprika and is available exclusively from the Museum Boutique for the duration of the exhibition.

Model for a Day contest in partnership with Elle Québec

For the exhibition, the Museum is partnering with Elle Québec, Holt Renfrew Ogilvy, Royal Photo, Profoto and the Marriott Château Champlain, to hold the Model for a Day contest from June 4 to 17. Three people will win a VIP beauty and fashion experience including a Guerlain beauty and make-up service and an exclusive styling experience at Holt Renfrew Ogilvy, before posing for a professional photo session courtesy of Royal Photo and Profoto. Added to this prize is an MClub overnight stay at the Marriott Château Champlain and other exclusive gifts for a total value of over $27,000. Full details of the competition will be available from June 4 on the Museum’s website.

Mini-exhibition at Holt Renfrew Ogilvy – June 14 to September 20

A sample of the exhibition Portraits and Fashion: Quebec Photographers Beyond Borders will be presented all summer long at Holt Renfrew Ogilvy, with a selection of 17 photographs – one portrait chosen for each of the 17 photographers – gracing the fifth floor of the iconic Montreal fashion store. This installation will take the works beyond the walls of the Museum to meet the fashion-conscious public.

Download documents

Press release PDF
Press release WORD

Press images

Object photographs
Exhibition views
Portrait of Thierry-Maxime Loriot

Activity related to the exhibition

Round Table – The Art of Fashion Photography: Behind the Scenes of a Photo Shoot

Wednesday, June 5, 2024 – 6 p.m. at the Museum (paid activity) and online (free)

Fashion photographers regularly collaborate with major magazines, the advertising world and the music scene. To mark Portraits and Fashion: Quebec Photographers Beyond Borders, take a behind-the-scenes look at a photo shoot with former model and exhibition curator Thierry-Maxime Loriot, who will be talking to some of the photographers in the exhibition and someone from the Quebec fashion publishing scene.

The round table will be moderated by Lolitta Dandoy, fashion journalist and production designer of the TV show Tout le monde s’habille.

Activity in French and English, followed by a public Q&A in French and English. Space is limited, reservation required on the Museum’s website.

The McCord Stewart Museum


A landmark in the heart of Montreal for over 100 years, the McCord Stewart Museum bears witness to the history of Quebec’s metropolis as well as its influence in Canada and around the world, celebrating the vitality, creativity and diversity of the communities that make it up.

The Museum amplifies their voices by interpreting and disseminating the remarkable heritage under its custody: six expansive collections of 2.5 million images, objects, documents and works of art that make it one of North America’s leading museums.

In keeping with its commitment to decolonization and sustainable development, it creates stimulating exhibitions and educational, cultural and community-engagement activities that look at the social history and contemporary issues affecting its audiences through a critical and inclusive lens, inspiring them to take action for a fairer society.

Heures d'ouverture et tarifs

Opening hours

Regular opening hours (until June 23)
Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Wednesday (10 a.m. to 9 p.m.)

Summer schedule (June 24 to September 2)
Monday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Wednesday (10 a.m. to 9 p.m.)

Holiday hours
Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day – Saturday, June 24: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Canada Day – Monday, July 1: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Labour Day – Monday, September 2: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m
Fête du Travail – Lundi 2 septembre : 10 h à 17 h


Adults: $20 | Seniors: $19 | Students (18 to 30): $15 | Indigenous persons: free | 17 and under: free*

Wednesday evenings: free (MC Snow’s Presence of the Past and permanent exhibition) or $10 (2nd floor exhibitions).

$2 discount on online ticket purchases.

First Sunday of the month: free for Quebec residents.

The McCord Stewart Museum would like to thank BMO Financial Group for the free Wednesday evenings, the Fondation J.A. DeSève for free admission for children aged 12 and under, and the Rossy Foundation for free admission for young people aged 13 to 17.

*Free admission for ages 17 and under on presentation of ID until June 30, 2024. Offer valid for general public visits only. Groups of more than 15 people and organized groups must refer to the group rates.

*Free for children 12 and under. Maximum of three children per adult. Offer valid for general public visits only. Organized groups must refer to the group rates.

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