Craftsperson of the Week: Noel Chenier

Photographer Noel Chenier has been a fixture on the Uptown scene for several years both in his role as photographer at the Telegraph Journal and through sharing his craft by instructing various photography courses to numerous aspiring photographers throughout the city. Noel's work has captured many notable uptown events & moments that helps tell the stories that make up the character of the Uptown area.

A few questions with Noel:

Where were you born?

Saint John, but I grew up in Quispamsis.

Can you give us some background on your current position with the Telegraph Journal?

Ive been a staff photographer with the Telegraph-Journal for over ten years, mainly working out of Fredericton until four years ago when I was moved to Saint John.

Also tell us a bit about your photography courses. How often are they offered?

I run a variety of courses and workshops for both beginner and advanced photographers. They are run during the daytime in the week and I also do weekend classes. I am currently working on online versions of my courses that I hope to launch soon!

Ive also launched, my free online photography community. It has a discussion forum, weblinks, links to my student galleries and more, plus its free to sign up!

How did you get interested in photography?

My dad bought my mother a Pentax SLR camera that she never used. One day I fished it out of the closet and starting taking photographs of my friends snowboarding and playing hockey.

Do you have any formal training?

I received my photography training at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design in Fredericton. Its a great school and provided me with a very broad education in the various fields of photography that has really helped me be as creative as possible with my work. Id highly recommend it to anyone thinking of a career in the arts or fine craft.

What do you like best about uptown Saint John?

The uptown is full of photographic possibilities. The architecture, the various churches, the gardens in the summer, even the not so nice buildings can provide excellent photographs! Any chance I get to take my students out around the uptown, its a great experience!

Have you photographed any famous faces over the years? Any stand out in particular?

Ive photographed a variety of celebrities, athletes, and politicians over the years. I was able to get an interesting portrait of Freeman Patterson, where I photographing him using techniques HE uses on plants and nature. But its normal, everyday people that Ive found to be the most fascinating to photograph and learn their stories.

Where is the most interesting place youve ever been in the world?

In 1999 I traveled to the war torn country of Bosnia-Herzegovina to cover Canadian peacekeepers. Its a beautiful country that has been ruined by civil war. I spent twelve days there, and I really came back with the realization how lucky I am to live in Canada. You can see shots from that trip on my website

Whom are you photography role models?

James Nachtwey is an amazing photojournalist who has covered some of the most horrific conflicts around the world. The late W Eugene Smiths work is also very inspiring.

What do you like to eat for breakfast?

Im pretty boring that way, toast with margarine or cereal usually.

Who is your favorite musician?

Ive always been a huge fan of Neil Young, who continually redefines himself and isnt afraid to try something new.

Can you play a musical instrument?

I can play a bit of guitar. Too busy to do it at the moment with three kids and teaching!

Do you have a favorite restaurant uptown?

Im very partial to Vitos and their Caesar Chicken.

Do you have a favorite place for photos in the Uptown?

I love taking my students to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Waterloo Street. Its a beautiful church to photograph no matter what weather is happening that day. It has amazing stained glass windows, great architecture, interesting lines and patterns. Its perfect.

Describe yourself in three words.

Creative, teacher, visual.

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