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William Notman Life & Work by Sarah Parsons
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I’ve long been fascinated by the tactility and immediacy of William Notman’s photographs. Despite the formality demanded of Victorian portraits, he often managed to capture intimate moments between families and highlight the personalities of his sitters. Notman’s photographs still resonate as vivid works of art beyond simply documentation, and they serve as a rich starting point for exploring the complexity of nineteenth-century life in Canada.
Sarah Parsons

Sarah Parsons

Sarah Parsons is Associate Professor in the Department of Visual Arts and Art History at York University, where she teaches the history and theory of photography and Canadian art. Her recent publications include “Public/Private Tensions in the Photography of Sally Mann,” in History of Photography (2008); “Sontag’s Lament: Emotion, Ethics, and Photography,” in Photography & Culture (2009); and “Privacy, Photography, and the Art Defense,” in Revealing Privacy: Debating the Understandings of Privacy, edited by Margherita Carucci (Peter Lang, 2012). She also edited Emergence: Contemporary Photography in Canada (2009), co-published by Gallery 44 and Ryerson University.
          Parsons is a founding member of the Toronto Photography Seminar. She is editing a volume of essays by the photo historian and theorist Abigail Solomon-Godeau for Duke University Press (2014). Her current research focuses on the historical relationship between privacy and photography, and she continues her work on William Notman.