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Old 03-29-2013, 09:05 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 15,602
Default BRUCE COLE - Photographer for Lightfoot - article
Iconic rock ‘n’ roll images resurrected from Richmond Hill garage

Photo : Staff photo/ Steve Somerville

Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Stompin' Tom, Bette Miller, Bruce Springsteen, Gordon Lightfoot — Photographer Bruce Cole has recorded music history.

Richmond Hill Liberal by Simone Joseph

Name a Canadian music legend from the ’70s or ’80s and chances are Bruce Cole has photographed him.

His start was modest, shooting photos of musicians as an amateur and submitting them to Toronto newspapers.

During his ensuing career, he hobnobbed with and photographed some of the top names in the music business.

The 63-year-old Richmond Hill resident remembers running across a field with Bob Dylan and Gordon Lightfoot at the Toronto Islands during the Mariposa Folk Festival 1972.

He ran with them to the safety of a police boat, so they could avoid being mobbed.

Mr. Cole was Gordon Lightfoot’s official photographer for two years.

Mr. Lightfoot did not like having his picture taken back in the mid-1970s. So, Mr. Cole took Mr. Lightfoot and his guitar to Toronto’s Edwards Gardens. Mr. Lightfoot sang songs for two hours to relax himself during his photo shoot.

“That was a very exciting moment for me personally,” Mr. Cole said.

He was also Randy Bachman’s photographer of choice.

The Canadian music icon had asked that Mr. Cole photograph his Bachman-Turner Overdrive group recording the 1977 album Freeways. Mr. Cole spent both a day and a night photographing them in their recording studio.

Mr. Cole lived in Thornhill for 30 years before moving to Richmond Hill a year ago and was one of the first official Juno Awards photographers from 1971 until 1990.

“A lot of photographers got into it because they were groupies. I got into it because I wanted to make a living,” he said. “I loved music, so I combined my love of music with photographic craft to create a business.”

Mr. Cole has a quarter of a million negatives containing rock ’n’ roll images sitting in 50 bankers’ boxes in his garage. None are in digital format.

From 1971 to 1984, 100 per cent of his income came from rock ’n’ roll photography.

Mr. Cole began thinking of getting out of the photography business in 1984 when he began to see the industry going digital and the increasing popularity of the program Photoshop, used to change and manipulate photos.

He worked with one art director at the time who instructed him not to worry about the background, telling him it could be dropped in later, presumably with Photoshop.

“I quickly saw where photography was going and I didn’t like it,” he said.

So he started up a photography trade show which launched in 1984 and later turned into a multimedia show.

Now Mr. Cole’s music photographs have been resurrected by two Thornhill artists — Jonathan Hiltz and Brooke Opatowski.

Mr. Hiltz, Mr. Cole’s son-in-law, was inspired to use Mr. Cole’s photos in his own art when he first saw the Juno Awards images.

Mr. Hiltz and Ms Opatowski created an exhibit called the RocknRollArtShow which pairs Mr. Cole’s photographs with Mr. Hiltz’ and Ms Opatowski’s paintings.

Mr. Cole embraced the idea.

“It gave me an opportunity to get my pictures out of these boxes,” he said. “It is two mediums coming together,” he said.

The exhibit includes Mr. Cole’s photographs of Bob Dylan, Gordon Lightfoot, Billy Joel, Stompin’ Tom Connors, Tina Turner, Bryan Adams, Bruce Springsteen, Bette Midler and Rush.

Four paintings from the exhibit are displayed in the window of the Lululemon store at Thornhill’s Promenade Shopping Centre and many others are available at Marquis Galleries on Centre Street in Thornhill.

The exhibit incorporates photographs into the artists’ abstract designs.

Ms Opatowski, 23, used wood, plastic and metal to create her paintings while Mr. Hiltz, 38, used paint and pastel for his.

The Lululemon display will run until April 1.

For Ms Opatowski and Mr. Hiltz, the next goal is to get the paintings into retail stores.

Mr. Hiltz is talking to galleries about putting together a Stompin’ Tom Tribute Sh since Mr. Cole photographed the recently deceased Canadian music legend on 10 different occasions.

On May 3, Mr. Hiltz and Ms Opatowski will participate in Vaughan’s Youth Arts Week (May 1 to 8).

The duo will lead a creative workshop called: Rock ’n’ Roll Art at City Hall.

The artists will share photographs of musicians from Mr. Cole’s collection as well as architectural photos of Vaughan City Hall.

The workshop will include the creation of contemporary images using paint and collage. It will be held at Vaughan City Hall at 2141 Major Mackenzie Dr. from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more information on the workshop, contact Mirella Tersigni, Vaughan’s culture and community development co-ordinator, at or 905-832-8500, ext. 8459.
Go to for more on the art show.
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charlene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2013, 11:52 PM   #2
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Dellroy, Ohio
Posts: 99
Default Re: Photographer for Lightfoot - article

Holy Cats, Batman! Is that a young Gord???

DellroyGM is offline   Reply With Quote

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