Afterimage: Tod Ainslie's Vision of the War of 1812

Afterimage: Tod Ainslie's Vision of the War of 1812
  • Closed
September 13, 2012 to April 28, 2013
  • Level 1, Sigmund Samuel Gallery of Canada
Photographs documenting historically significant sites of the War of 1812 also commemorate much more


“As I worked with these primitive cameras and saw the images they produced, I felt a strong sense of the period's aura, a sense of the places themselves, and an empathy for the people whose energies created them.”
-- Tod Ainslie, Photographer

Burlington-based Tod Ainslie is a practicing documentary pinhole photographer of historical sites and architecture. He uses cameras that he designs and builds himself. Starting in 2001, over nine years he traversed eastern North America and took approximately 2,000 photographs. Twenty-two of them have been selected for this exhibition, which takes place on the conflict’s bicentennial.

These haunting photographs, documenting many of the War's historically significant sites, strive to evoke the experiences of those who lived through the War of 1812. They create a 21st-century showcase of war sites - restorations included - as they exist today. The absence of figures and the images’ aesthetic qualities transform the scenes into resonant spaces of reflection, commemorating lives lived or lost during the War.

Each image is augmented by information on the location and technical details, which allow you to understand some of the aesthetic choices Ainslie has made in order to create his evocative images.

About the War of 1812

Frustrated by imposed trade sanctions, the United States of America declared war on Britain on June 18, 1812. For the next two-and-a-half years, army regulars, a militia of locals of various racial and cultural origins, and First Nations warriors engaged in battle throughout eastern North America. Peace was proclaimed on February 18, 1815, and the geopolitical landscape restored to its pre-war state.

Authored by: Cheryl Fraser