Arnaud Maggs

"…what I really wanted to do was to use the camera as a documentary tool – just as Atget had. And I realized you didn’t have to resort to any visual tricks to do it. I wasn’t after a style. I just wanted to act as a recorder. I realized that all I wanted to do with the human head was simply to let people see it."

Arnaud Maggs, 2004

Toronto artist Arnaud Maggs is known for his multiple-grid, serial photographs of faces and collections of miscellany. With a fascination for systems of classification and historical documents, Maggs reveals the profound distance between symbols and what they represent.

Maggs worked as a graphic designer and fashion photographer before deciding, at age 47, to devote himself to his art. His first major works were serial portraits. In 1988, he created a series of images of Paris hotel signs, and in the 1990s, concentrated on collections of flea market finds.

A retrospective exhibition of Maggs’s work was mounted at Toronto’s Power Plant in 1999. His works include 64 Portrait Studies, the Ledoyen Series and Notification. Maggs is the recipient of the Canada Council’s Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award and the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts or Lifetime Achievement. He is the winner of 2012 Scotiabank Photography Award. 

© David P. Miller, Arnaud Maggs, Montreal, 1981