Gabor Szilasi was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1928. He immigrated to Canada and soon settled in Montreal, in 1959. A self-taught photographer, Szilasi embraced social documentary during the 1960s, thanks to the encouragement of photographer Sam Tata and his introduction to the American documentary tradition during a course at the Thomas More Institute in 1966. In 1969 and 1970 Szilasi worked for the Office du film du Québec, where he developed his technique while on various assignments throughout the province. In 1970, he produced his first major project based on the town of Charlevoix. Mme Louis (Marie) Pednault et Mlle Laura Harvey Saint-Bernard de l’Isle-aux-Coudres, Charlevoix, 1970 (2012) is part of this series, which was shown in Montreal in 2012, and later in Chicago, Vancouver, and London, Ontario. Szilasi uses a social approach to photographing rural and urban Quebec, and his home country of Hungary. While actively exhibiting, Szilasi also taught at the Cégep du Vieux-Montréal from 1971 to 1980 and at Concordia University from 1979 to 1995. His work, which has been widely shown across Canada and internationally, is included in several private and museum collections. In 2009, the Musée d’art de Joliette and the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography (now the Canadian Photography Institute) presented a major retrospective of his work. Szilasi won the Prix Paul-Émile-Borduas in 2009 and the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts in 2010.
Private collection, Montréal