Canadian photographer, Stephen (Stef) McNeill, grew up in a small town near Toronto. At the age of 16, he enrolled in a photography course and was required to shoot a roll of black and white film for his first assignment. He borrowed a 35mm camera and fired off the film in his backyard. Weeks later, the students were given a lesson on the solarisation technique. He was hooked.
To help fuel his passion for photographic art, McNeill moved to Toronto in 1979 and began his apprenticeship training in the graphics industry as a camera technician and an imaging specialist. During this time, he branched out to the art’s scene and voluntarily took on photography assignments to gain experience.
In 1983, he produced The Grand Illusion – a presentation that combined photography, mime and live music – resulting in the first public exhibition of his art. Commissioned work for agents, artists, theatre companies and advertising soon followed. After years on the circuit, he turned his sights to photojournalism documenting street people, places and events.
McNeill phased out his graphics career in 2003. In the interim, he built a new darkroom, dusted off his archives and persevered with art projects. Throughout his career, he’s had a deep affinity for black and white imagery and print-making. McNeill is one of the few accomplished printers still working today.
To date, his image-making journey has spanned over thirty five years. Despite dwindling resources, McNeill’s dedication to analogue processes continues. He contributes his work to private collections, galleries, performance artists, publications and educational/charitable institutions.