Poetic Project by Dale M Reid - a visual journey into abstraction, capturing the essence of mushrooms and societal rights.

Focus and Frames: Dale M Reid’s Photographic Tapestry

In the realm of contemporary fine art photography, one name resonates with creativity and bold expression—Dale M Reid. Recently honored at the C2A Awards, Dale shares insights into her artistic journey, triumphs, and the unique project that earned her accolades.

Fun Facts about Dale M Reid

– Dale’s artistic journey is as diverse as her portfolio. From classical to sensual to erotic, her artwork pushes boundaries and challenges perceptions.
– As a transgender woman, Dale embraces her identity and infuses her experiences into her art, creating a powerful and personal narrative.
– Living on Toronto’s waterfront, Dale finds inspiration in nature, taking regular walks to de-stress and flush out creative ideas.

The Poetic Project: Pursuit of Equality in Photography

Prize: Best of Best in Other / Photography
Company: Dale M Reid Photography
Lead: Dale M Reid

Dale’s award-winning project, “Pursuit of Equality (Women and Societal Rights),” delves into the intersection of art, identity, and societal issues. Using a series of captivating mushroom images, Dale combines abstraction, composition, and lighting to create a visual experience open to diverse interpretations.

Mushroom Abstraction by Dale M Reid - a mesmerizing composition highlighting the unique shapes and textures of wild varieties.

Exclusive Interview with Dale M Reid

1. Fresh from your recent win at the C2A Awards, can you share how the recognition has already influenced your perspective on your creative journey or business endeavors?

Dale M Reid: I have been invited by the European Cultural Centre to participate in their 2024 biennale in Venice, Italy. This is a seven-month exhibition and I need to find sponsors to participate. This award will provide major support to seek sponsors. I self-curated the presentation titled “Pursuit of Equality (Women and Societal Rights)”.

This award and my strong record of awards and work being published in books and magazines (print and/or online) can be used by my existing galleries and for seeking gallery representation in new market areas.

2. Let’s rewind to your journey through the submission and evaluation process for the C2A Awards. What were the standout moments, challenges, or surprises you encountered?

Dale M Reid: I selected a series of eight mushroom images. Because the mushroom images contain a dose of abstraction. Abstraction makes them unique and opens them to multiple interpretations depending on the viewer’s imagination to use their personal memories and life experiences to build content. The challenge was to ensure the series was cohesive and the entry description (600 characters) reflective that story.

3. Creativity is a mystic force. What fuels your imagination, and how do you approach the creative process?

Dale M Reid: I approach creation with a blank canvas and select my subjects based on what speaks to me emotionally.

I developed my artistic style with a strong focus on creating landscape images ranging from maritime to urban to industrial views. Today, I prefer to create my artwork in the studio which allows me to experiment with composition and lighting. Here is how I approach my three main studies.

For my pear studies, I know the story. This requires sourcing props and constructing the set. My innovative pear images are playful, mischievous, fanciful, and sensual.

For my floral studies, I focus on stems or portions of the flower. In some cases, I can envision the resulting image. However, in most cases, the image is created through experimentation. The resulting images range from classical to sensual to erotic.

For my mushroom studies, the images are created through experimentation. In some cases, I can create more than one image from the same mushroom cluster. Because of the abstraction, the unique images are open to multiple interpretations depending on the viewer’s imagination to use their personal memories and life experiences to build content.

My life experiences are very unique as I have gone through two major transitions. In 2004, I took early retirement from the corporate world to become a full-time professional artist. Around the same time, I transitioned to living full-time as a woman. Since 1985, I have also been caring for my partner and managing her healthcare needs. She had chronic MS.

4.Navigating the twists and turns of a creative career often involves overcoming obstacles. What are some challenges you’ve faced, and how have you tackled them?

Dale M Reid: As a solo proprietorship, I am responsible for all aspects of the business – creating artwork (capture on film and printing in the darkroom), marketing, and administration.

To better manage my time:
– I outsource the update and maintenance of my website. I still need to provide the content.
– I outsource framing to a professional framer.
– Printing in the darkroom requires a dedicated window without interruption. I schedule a 10 to 12-hour window starting in the evening or overnight.

The other aspect is to plan for physical and mental health. I am fortunate that I live on Toronto’s waterfront with a large waterfront park. Regular walks in nature not only provide time to de-stress but also provide the opportunity to flush out ideas.

Dale M Reid passionately creating art

5. The ink on your C2A victory is still fresh. In what ways do you anticipate the award impacting your credibility and reputation in the creative industry, and how do you envision leveraging this recognition as you move forward?

Dale M Reid: During the past year in addition to several honorable mentions, I have metaled in several competitions with the Creative Communication Award being the most significant award. As well, several images have been published in books and magazines (print and online). This information can be used by the representative galleries as well I will include it within my promotional material.

As discussed earlier, I can use this information for gaining funding sources, the biennale in Venice, Italy. Also, this information will be important in gaining further gallery representation.

6. Networking and collaboration are integral to growth. Have you already seen opportunities or partnerships emerge as a result of your C2A win, and how do you foresee these connections shaping your future in the industry?

Dale M Reid: If I can obtain funding, I will be collaborating with the European Cultural Centre for participation in their 2024 biennale in Venice, Italy. The title of the presentation is “Pursuit of Equality (Women and Societal Rights)”. I believe that this is an important subject today because of right wing extremism. It will use a selection of my mushroom and floral images as either a metaphor or symbolism of society today. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, this subject is personal and it is important to use my artistic voice to include society in general.

7. Immediate effects aside, do you foresee winning the C2A Award influencing the demand for your services or products in the near future?

Dale M Reid: My Miami gallery, K-Art Projects USA, a subsidiary of Contemporary Art Projects USA, will be representing me at the Red Dot Art Fair during 2023 Art Basel Week. Art Basel Week features several art fairs making the market very competitive. Winning the C2A Award will help to highlight my artwork in the competitive market.

8. As a recent C2A Award winner, what aspects of the experience have you found most valuable, and would you encourage others in the creative industry to consider participating?

Dale M Reid: The biggest challenge of any competition, the Creative Communication Award is no exception, is to select a cohesive series of images and be able to articulate your story with a limited number of words or characters. When you win, it is very rewarding.

When you submit to an open theme competition, it is difficult to anticipate what the jury is searching for in the submission. Just let your personal feelings be revealed in your selection of images and the description of your story. You put yourself a step forward to winning.

9. Looking ahead, do you see yourself applying for the next edition of the C2A Awards, and what aspects of the competition would motivate you to participate again?

Dale M Reid: Yes, I look forward to submitting a project to the 2024 competition. At this time, I am not sure what project I will present. An important aspect of this competition is the quality of the jury.

10. Staying current is an ongoing challenge. How do you currently keep abreast of new industry trends, and are there any emerging trends you’re excited to incorporate into your work?

Dale M Reid: I am a traditional fine art photographer capturing images on film and printing in a darkroom using traditional black and white chemistry. In this digitalized world, I believe that creating my unique artwork using traditional photography methods effectively communicates my story. Through the depth and warmth of silver gelatin prints, my story will capture and engage the art collector or enthusiast.

I am not looking to incorporate new industry trends, i.e., digital prints or A.I. into my artwork. I am looking at highlighting why my artwork is as important and unique as new technology.

I have introduced a new branding statement “art with a human touch”. I am currently working on an e-newsletter that will discuss my new branding statement. I will also be incorporating the theme in future social media posts.

"Pursuit of Equality" Exhibition by Dale M Reid - a glimpse into a powerful narrative depicted through captivating fine art photography.

11. Future gazing: what plans and aspirations are on the horizon for you, and how do you anticipate your creative journey evolving over time?

Dale M Reid: In addition to continuing to add new work to my floral and mushroom studies, I will explore other subject material.

More importantly, I am interested in exploring the subject “women in the arts”, not just photography but all mediums, and how I as a woman fit into this spectrum. I already have done a couple of social media posts on the “female gaze”. This is a longer-term project and I hope to release a book at some point. I already started the project by gathering and exploring research material.

I already had an initial discussion with a female photographer friend about curating a group exhibition for International Women’s Day.

12. Zooming in on your recent triumph, what inspired the winning project you submitted to the C2A Awards?

Dale M Reid: Initially, the oyster mushroom captured my imagination and I have since added other wild varieties as subject material. My creative vision uses their bizarre and varied shape, alien textures, and intricate detail combined with composition and lighting to present crisp images with a dose of abstraction. Abstraction makes them unique and opens them to multiple interpretations depending on the viewer’s imagination to use their personal memories and life experiences to build content.

It is the abstraction nature of my artwork that has inspired the winning project.

Dale M Reid: Shaping Narratives and Redefining Fine Art Boundaries

As we conclude this exclusive interview with Dale M Reid, it’s evident that her journey is not merely about capturing images but about crafting stories that resonate with the core of societal issues. Dale’s commitment to equality, her unique perspective as a transgender woman, and her unwavering dedication to traditional photography make her a trailblazer in the creative industry. Keep an eye on Dale M Reid Photography as she continues to shape narratives and redefine the boundaries of contemporary fine art.


More about Dale M Reid and the Project:

C2A – Dale M Reid – Best of Best in Other / Photography

Dale M Reid Photography – More:

Dale M Reid’s Website

Other C2A Winners:

2023 C2A Winners