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 and began his apprenticeship training in the graphics industry as a camera technician and imaging specialist in 1979. 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 to devote time with family. In the interim, he built a new darkroom, dusted off his film archives and persevered with art projects. He resurfaced on the commercial beat with a Toronto-based agent in 2008.
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.