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McMaster looks beyond the lens

by Archives January 15, 2003

Like a light at the end of a long tunnel of media coverage and reputation debate at our university, shines the story of an accomplished Concordia graduate making a difference in the world. Philip McMaster is settling down from a life of globe-trotting and adventure to mold impressionable young minds.

“I’m passionate about passionate people,” says the self proclaimed adventurer. “Every program I’m involved in all have to do with passionately pursuing dreams to ultimately to help other people.”

His current ventures include two innovative specialized photography courses he has developed at the Dawson College Centre for Imaging Arts and Information Technologies. At a continuing educational level, McMaster emphasizes the development of backstage access skills and understanding human behaviour around cameras in real-life situations.

“You plan to be flexible, for what you don’t know is going to happen,” says McMaster. “I’ve been in situations where getting the shot is getting out alive.”

Event, sports and adventure photography (ESA), photography and public relations (PR) are the bi-products of his world travels and business experiences.

ESA has historically lead him to brazen out difficult situations such as the dangerous environments of Chiapas, Mexico to Stanley Cup riots in Montreal and from jungle expeditions in Central America to free-fall parachute jumping over the Caribbean islands. PR is the ultimate recognition and preparation for winning shot opportunities.

“What I’ve learned is if you want to get the shot, you must negotiate and learn people skills,” says McMaster, employing his experiences from his freelance photojournalist days at La Presse. He hopes the success of the courses will develop a university level program for students missing higher learning from their field.

The psychology behind photographic methods has been overshadowed in the classroom where the focus is placed on the technical and artistic aspects. However, Concordia structures its courses around conceptual, theoretical and historical understanding and practices.

The photography department at Concordia focuses on the artistic aspect of the medium,” says Jean Pierre Duchesne, the enrolment and student affairs manager for the department of fine arts at Concordia . “What [McMaster] is offering at Dawson sounds commercially and media oriented.”

Duchesne verifies that every year departments offer a number of special topic courses which exists currently on the curriculum. “The department of studio arts is looking at their curriculum to revise it,” he says. “However, it is a slow process that will remain the same for another two years.”

Born in Val-Morin, McMaster has lived in cities across the globe but nothing beats home. “I’m the type of person who requires a civilized environment with the right amount of ‘joi de vivre.’ Montreal is the best place to live in the world.”

He has recently completed his MBA at the

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