Orléans photographer and filmmaker
makes exclusive list

By Fred Sherwin
March 14, 2002

Lois Siegel is arguably one of Orléans' least known celebrity residents. But all that may soon change
after the photographer and award-winning filmmaker was recently named as one of the Capital City's Top 50 by "Ottawa Life" magazine.

"Oh my goodness, that's too funny. I had no idea. They just called me up and asked for some information about me and a picture. I thought it was for a profile or something," says Siegel during a recent interview at the Ottawa Bagelshop and Deli where she is currently showing a collection of her photographs. "The irony is that up until last January, I was still commuting to Montreal to work."

Siegel first moved to Gloucester in 1992 when her better half got a job at a local high tech company. At the time, she didn't want to give up her teaching job at John Abbott College on the West Island and was in the middle of several movie productions. She was also a contributing writer and photographer for the cinematic trade magazine "Cinema Canada."

Part of her work with "Cinema Canada" involved covering Montreal's World Film Festival every year.

As a correspondent with the magazine she had access to the many press conferences and parties associated with the festival. As a result she was able to photograph a number of celebrities including the likes of Clint Eastwood, Sophia Loren, Liv Ullman and Ben Kingsley, all of which can be seen in her latest exhibit which has been extended until April 14.




The show is a wonderful retrospective of many of Hollywood's biggest stars taken over a period of 25 years before they became famous. There's a shot of a young Nicholas Cage taken with James Woods in 1984 and another of a baby-faced Tom Berenger taken in 1977.

Other highlights include a dramatic shot of Kingsley and a whimsical photo of a beaming Ullman. There is also the first formal portrait Siegel ever took; a photograph of famed portrait photographer Yousuf Karsh taken while she worked at a student newspaper while attending journalism classes at the University of Ohio in 1968.

As a correspondent for "Cinema Canada," Siegel spent a great deal of time turning her lens on the who's who of the Canadian film industry. One of her favourite photographs is a shot of Quebec director Claude Jutras demonstrating a slow dance scene during the filming of "The Street" in 1979.

"It was one of those magical moments that just comes together and you know you have something special," says Siegel. "He just moved in and told the actor, "listen, this is how you do it," and everyone just went quiet and watched."

Besides the exhibit at the Ottawa Bagelshop and Deli, Siegel has a second collection of photographs on display at the University of Ottawa until April 1.

Entitled "Cafe Nostalgica," the exhibit features 35 or so stylized portraits of friends and strangers in white face taken against a black background and then colourized using an air brush.

When she's not taking pictures or teaching video production at the University of Ottawa, Siegel keeps busy playing fiddle for The Lyon Street Celtic Band and violin for the Divertimento Orchestra in Ottawa and A'Chord East in Orléans. And did we mention she's also a member of the City of Ottawa's Arts Advisory Committee and ArtEast in Orléans?



And then there are her many film projects. Past productions include: "Stunt People," about a Quebec family with four generations of stunt actors which received the 1990 Genie Award for Best Short Documentary; "Lip Gloss" about female impersonators which was broadcast on Bravo! and "Baseball Girls" which was selected as one of the best documentaries in Canadian cinema in 1996 in a Toronto film critics' poll published in the film magazine "TAKE ONE."

At present Siegel is putting the finishing touches on the script for a CBC "Life and Times" portrait of Canadian actor Christopher Plummer entitled "A Man of All Stages."

If you can't make it to Westboro or the University of Ottawa to see either of Siegel's current exhibits, a collection of her work will soon be on display at the Gloucester Arts Council office at 4355 Halmont Drive.

"Baseball Girls" is also available at the Ottawa Library.

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