Philip Jarmain grew up near London, Ontario, with part of his childhood spent in Switzerland and Ireland. There were also many family trips to Mexico. His mother is a textile artist and fathers an entrepreneur. A childhood love of storytelling led to early fascination with film, photography and cameras. Short dramas shot with an 8 mm wind-up camera were a passion. Later, his training was in film (Vancouver Film School), and for some years he worked in lighting for feature films and episodic television, and after that as stills photographer for film.
While establishing himself as a full time artist in photography, Jarmain supports himself as a commercial photographer specializing in conceptual advertising, based in Vancouver, where he lives, and Toronto. In this area he is a recipient of multiple Lürzers Archive and Communication Arts awards as well as other international honors.
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American Beauty is the result of a dozen trips to Detroit over a period of five years to research and photograph this city’s once-important, now abandoned and disappearing architectures. Even as a child, Jarmain has been drawn to dark stories and fascinated by tragedies and dark comedies – tinged with the bitterness of adult experience. With photography as his chosen medium, the abandoned and disappearing buildings of early twentieth-century Detroit offered a story with many layers of complexity and irony. By shooting elevations and avoiding complex camera angles, the artist attempts to remove the camera from the viewer’s experience creating a composition that provides a sense of being within the grand structural spaces as he saw them. It is, however, the fine details within the mages, such as the handcrafted equipment made of brass, steel, and polished glass, that tell the story of craftsmanship long gone. Jarmain attempts to portray the passion that he feels existing in this once great city; his photographs offering a chance for a narrative he felt needed to be told and to perhaps provide the potential to effect change.
Born: London, Ontario, January 27, 1972
Resides: Vancouver, BC, Canada
2014 Jennifer Kostuik Gallery, Vancouver, BC, Solo Exhibit, American Beauty; The Opulent Pre-Depression Architecture of Detroit
2013 Meridian Gallery, San Francisco, Solo Exhibit, American Beauty; The Opulent Pre-Depression Architecture of Detroit
INTERNATIONAL ART FAIRS
2014 Art Toronto, Toronto, Ontario
2014 Papier 14, Montreal, Quebec.
2014 Luerzers Archive, Top 200 Photographers World Wide Winner –
Series – Architecture – American Beauty
2014 Applied Arts Winner Series – Work for Sale – American Beauty
2013 Communication Arts, Winner – Series – Work for Sale – American Beauty
San Francisco Chronicle | Philip Jarmain
extracts beauty from grains of decay | Kenneth Baker
American Beauty Review | Paul Karlstrom
Art Historian, Author, and former West Coast Regional Director, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institute.
Bay Area Reporter | Sura Wood.Writer for Arts Monthly
Best Gallery show in the Bay Area for 2013: American Beauty.
Photography: San Francisco – American Beauty: The Opulent Pre-Depression Architecture of Detroit
Press Release title – View
Wired | Jakob Schiller
Can Detroit’s Architectural Past Inspire It to Claw Back to Greatness?
Daily Mail UK | Michael Ip The decline of Detroit: How the architectural jewels in motor city’s crown have fallen into disrepair and are now being demolished
Huffington Post | Kate Abbey-Lambertz
Detroit’s Stunning Architectural Ruins, And Why Documenting Its Faded Glory Matters
The Coolist | Mike Payne The Ruins of Detroit by Philip Jarmain
Elemente | Angus Mackenzie
American Beauty; The Opulent Pre-Depression Architecture of Detroit –
The Photographic Works of Philip Jarmain
Casa Vogue | Conde Naste
A ruína de Detroit, em fotos impressionantes
Design Boom | Nina Azzarello
Philip Jarmain documents Detroit’s architectural past
The Culture Trip
Philip Jarmain’s American Beauty: Photographing Detroit’s Decadent Decay
The Atlantic Cities | John Metcalfe
Hunting Detroit’s Masterworks of Architecture Before They Go Extinct
Stupid Dope | Tamika Frye
American Beauty; Philip Jarmain’s Images of Detroit’s Ruins
Applied Arts | Peter Giffen
Record of a decaying American beauty
Black Rainbow Magazine | Julien Gosset
American Beauty; The Photographic Works of Philip Jarmain