Leslie Hossack’s fine art photographs have been exhibited across Canada from Vancouver to Newfoundland and in the United States. Her work has been featured in: The National Gallery of Canada Magazine; Globe and Mail; National Post; Ottawa Citizen; PhotoED; Galleries West; Luxe; The Chartwell Bulletin and The Churchill Project, Hillsdale College in the US; The Literary Review and Apollo in the UK. In addition, Hossack’s photographs have been featured in books including “War Art in Canada, A Critical History” by Laura Brandon (2021) and “The Origins of Totalitarianism” by Hannah Arendt, The Folio Society (2022).
Her work is held in private collections at home and abroad, and in public collections including: the National Gallery of Canada Library, Ottawa; the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa; Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa; the Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum, Ottawa; the City of Vancouver; the Nikkei National Museum, Burnaby; the Sigmund Freud Museum Library, Vienna; the National Churchill Library and Center, Washington DC; the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson AZ; the Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge, UK; the David Collection Library, Copenhagen; the Hirschsprung Collection Library, Copenhagen; and the Art Gallery of Ontario Library, Toronto.
Hossack has been recognized with many awards including the 2010 Ottawa Photography Festival Portfolio Award and the 2011 Applied Arts Award for Architectural Photography and Limited Edition Prints. In 2012, she was selected to participate in The Canadian Forces Artists Program and deployed to Kosovo. In 2013, Hossack’s series Stalin’s Architectural Legacy won a top award for historic architecture in the ipa (International Photography Awards). In 2015, she was presented with an RBC Emerging Artist Finalist Award in Ottawa.
When Canada celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2017, Hossack was invited to participate in Ottawa’s sesquicentennial Karsh exhibition entitled Continuum. Also in 2017, she was invited to be an artist in residence at The Sussex Contemporary Gallery, Ottawa. In 2019, Hossack was welcomed as a researching artist in the National Gallery of Canada, Library and Archives.
In 2016, her books Testament: Leslie Hossack in Kosovo (2015) and Registered: The Japanese Canadian Experience During World War II (2015) were finalists in the SPAO A+ Photo Book competition. First prize was awarded to Registered. Her other books include Cities of Stone, People of Dust (2011); Berlin Studien (2011); Charting Churchill: An Architectural Biography of Sir Winston Churchill (2016); H-Hour, Normandy 1944 (2017); Freud Through the Looking-Glass (2018); Traced: The Arcane Legacy of Scotland’s Freemasons (2019) and At Home: Hammershøi (2021).
The photographs featured in these books are part of Hossack’s larger body of work that explores: Hitler’s Berlin, Stalin’s Moscow, Mussolini’s Rome, Churchill’s London, contested sites in Jerusalem, the NATO Headquarter Camp in Kosovo, buildings linked to the Japanese Canadian internment during WW II, the D-Day landing beaches of Normandy, the Nazi occupied Channel Islands, Sigmund Freud’s pre-war Vienna, the Freemasons of Scotland, and Danish painter Vilhelm Hammershøi.
Focusing on the built environment and related archival documents, Hossack has completed major studies of iconic architecture in: Vancouver 2008-2011 and 2013-2014, Paris 2009, Berlin 2010, Jerusalem 2011, Moscow 2012, Kosovo 2013, London 2014, Normandy 2015, Vienna 2016, The Channel Islands 2017, Rome 2017, Scotland 2018, and Copenhagen 2019. Closer to home, her Ottawa work includes the Diefenbunker and the now vanished Canadian Forces Base Rockcliffe.
Public spaces, changing communities, and familiar items from previous generations fascinate me. I do not live in the past, but I do feel a strong sense of time running through my photographs; I hear a narrative in every series and I see a story in every image.
I am drawn to iconic locations associated with major events of the last century. In fact, my entire body of work is held together by my interest in the monumental structures and powerful personalities who shaped the 20th century. I take great interest in researching the history of the locations and events that I explore, and the written descriptions that I compose form an integral part of my artistic practice.
My photographs are interpretive, not documentary. I am fascinated by what an architect creates when putting pencil to paper. My intention is to fashion an image that reveals what I imagine the architect originally designed, minus the chaos and clutter of contemporary life. I feel compelled to deconstruct the buildings – to take them back to the drawing board and set the stage for the protagonist to enter.
Whether I am photographing an iconic landmark, a massive construction site, a vanishing community, or a secret society, my work continues to revolve around three major themes: inclusion/exclusion, change/continuity, longing/loss. Often this involves an exploration of the architecture of memory and commemoration. But underlying all of this is my insatiable search for meaning and insistent examination of the singular question of simple human survival.
Self-Reflection, Number 13, Vienna 2016, from the series The Freud Photographs by Leslie Hossack