It used to be said that nobody lived in Gananoque who hadn’t had their photograph taken by Lorne Prosser. For 62 years, beginning in the 1920s, Prosser worked as the town photographer, making a life for himself while inadvertently recording the daily life of small town Ontario.
Prosser is the subject of a short documentary film, Prosser: A Portrait of a Small Town, produced by four recent Carleton University graduates, André Bourbeau, Carly Pickett, Christine Smith and Heather Keary.
What began as a class project in a Carleton history course has become a walk down memory lane for the town of Gananoque, Ontario. The short documentary film explores Prosser’s work and, through anecdotes and stories of former friends and residents of Gananoque, creates an impression of the man behind the camera who was responsible for preserving so many memories of the people and the town.
The film establishes Prosser as an example of the many photographers who documented small towns across Canada during the 20th century. Unknowingly, suggests Prof. Carol Payne of Carleton’s Art History Department, Prosser and the others contributed to the collective memory of the nation. Readings of Stephen Leacock’s Sunshine Sketches of A Little Town, voiced by Bruce Spinney, contribute to the whimsical tone of the documentary.
Prosser: A Portrait of a Small Town is a product of History 4302 Making Documentary History –– one of the longest lasting instances in Carleton’s History Department of experiential learning. The basis of the course are “a good story, well told” through interacting and engaging people in history, writing in a creative manner, experimenting with the limits of creative licence and the power of strong effective visuals to tell a story, the power of editing, collaborating with colleagues and working with actors and composers.
Prosser: A Portrait of a Small Town will be broadcast on CBC Ottawa, Ottawa Reel Shorts 2018 Saturday August 4 at 7 p.m.
Additional information can be found at: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/events/absolutely-ottawa-2018-1.4749045
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