The School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa is small, but pound for pound it’s among the most successful, unique art schools in North America. Now after 12 years of operation, SPAO is about to embark on its biggest community project ever!

SPAO is extremely excited to announce that after more than a decade in our existing space, we will be constructing a new facility and gallery space in honour of Canada’s 150th anniversary.

The School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa has partnered with one of Ottawa’s most prestigious architectural firms, Barry Hobin and Associates Architects in order to realize the development of a new facility outside of the Byward Market. SPAO’s new location will be larger and will add new exhibition opportunities for Canadian visual artists as its latest contribution to the Ottawa community.
Concept drawings and location details for the new facility with be presented at:

EVOLUTION: SPAO’s Final Open House at its Byward Market Location

When: Nov. 4th 2016, 3 – 9 pm
Where: 168 Dalhousie street, Ottawa

Earlier this year, the first in a series of ambitious and transformative changes were announced for SPAO with the appointment of Jonathan Hobin as Creative / Executive Director; Hobin was founding director Michael Tardioli’s original student. “We’ve assembled a great team in order to usher in the next stage of evolution and growth at SPAO,” Tardioli said. 

SPAO is an independent, not-for-profit photographic visual arts school and registered private career college, and offers some of the best programming of its kind in North America. SPAO offers both full-time and part-time courses.


Attention all PAST AND PRESENT part time students!!

The time has come for The School of The Photographic Arts: Ottawa’s       A+ Exhibition.
This will be the ninth annual contest and exhibition of selected images from SPAO’s continuing education community. If you have taken a part-time course or workshop at SPAO, you are eligible to  enter your work for a chance to have it shown in the Red Wall Gallery, on the SPAO website as well as compete for $2000+ in prizes.

 We will be accepting entries in three categories:
   • Analogue /Historical Print Processes
   • Digital Print
   • Photo Book

 Deadline for submissions: 4 p.m. on Monday June 20th, 2016
 Exhibition Dates:  July 8th to August 13th, 2016
 Opening and Awards Ceremony:  Friday July 8th, 2016, 5:30-9 p.m. 

The 2016 Jury:
Joanne Rycaj Guillemette
Curator and Photography Archivist, Library and Archives Canada

Christian Lalonde
Head of Commercial Photography, PhotoluxStudio

Stephanie Germano
Manager and Exhibitions Programmer, Art Rental and Sales, Ottawa Art Gallery




WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27TH, 2016   6:30PM - 9:00PM

As part of  Exhibition No.11, a thought-provoking Panel Discussion

Private, commercial art galleries became popular in the late eighteenth century. At about the same time, public institutions were being established for the purposes of collecting and exhibiting particular styles of art. While public museums were formed around ideas such as nationhood and academic conventions, the private gallery has tended to focus on contemporary trends and public taste.

This panel focuses on the roles of the contemporary commercial, or private, art gallery in today’s art ecosystem. We will attempt to address a series of topics that lead to a broad understanding of the place of the private gallery in this ecosystem, including some basic business questions. How does a gallery build and maintain a stable of artists? On the other hand, private galleries act within a broader context. How do private galleries interact with public institutions? Or with artist-run centres?

And what challenges do private galleries face in a digital world? Is on-line culture making the material gallery space obsolete? What alternatives exist to the traditional commercial gallery space?


·         Carrie Colton and Danuta Sierhuis, Studio Sixty-Six (Ottawa)
·         Guy Berube, La Petite Mort Projects (Ottawa/at large)
·         Jody Surrette, St. Laurent + Hill Gallery (Ottawa)
·         Charlotte Hale, Charlotte Hale and Associates (Toronto)

The panel moderator is Randy Innes (PhD in Visual and Cultural Studies and past instructor at SPAO).
Please join us for the Vernissage of Exhibition No. 11 on Friday, April 22, 2016, from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.



The SCHOOL OF THE PHOTOGRAPHIC ARTS: OTTAWA (SPAO) is pleased to announce Exhibition No. 11 that will showcase photographic works by SPAO first year, graduating studentsand artists in residence. SPAO's facilities will be transformed into a professional gallery space for the dissemination of photographic pieces that embodies the school’s motto Vision. Content. Craft. This year's exhibition expresses the style of the artists whose works include creative and innovative processes using historic and contemporary photographic processes and tools.  

Exhibit 11 will also be travelling to the international 2016 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival in Toronto thanks to SHOPIFY’s generous support.  The 2016 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival - the biggest photography festival in the world - transforms Toronto during the month of May attracting over 2 million visitors.

Featured Artists Works

Jason Champagne, Joyce Crago, Christine Fitzgerald, Genevieve Labbe, Katy Lopez, Rey Martin, Judy Morris Dupont, Austin Wing, Hannah Evans, Mel Harris, Andrew Macartney, Matthew McIlkenny, Michael Kuby, Danni-Rae Mistaken Chief, Neeko Paluzzi, Adelita Rose, Christian Villemaire, Glenn Bloodworth, Richard Robesco


Exhibition No. 11 will be available for viewing from April 22 (Vernissage) to April 29, 2016 from Monday to Friday, 10-8pm and Saturday 10-4pm at SPAO, 168 Dalhousie Street, Ottawa, ON; and during the 2016 International Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, May 4 (Vernissage @ 4-7pm) to May 18, 2016 at the Arta Gallery, Distillery District, 14 Distillery Lane, Toronto, ON.


print sale: Dec. 12 2015

Great photographic work makes FOR great gifts

Saturday, December 12, 1:00pm to 6:00pm

Prints generously donated by:

  • Christina Riley
  • Remi Thériault
  • John Hewett Hallum
  • Angelina McCormick
  • Stephan Gaydos
  • Jamie Kronick
  • Whitney Lewis-Smith
  • Ernest Wiltshire
  • John Richardson
  • Michael Tardioli

Print Sale will Include:

Matted black and white and colour prints by SPAO students for sale!

All proceeds of Student work go towards their year end exhibition 










Join Sony and photographer Rob Skeoch to learn and try out the latest Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras.  If you’ve wondered about the mirrorless system, how they complement your current system and what the quality is like, this is your chance to check them out.  All you need to bring is an SD card.  Sony will have the latest full-frames on hand including the A7RM2 and A7SM2 with its outstanding low-light capabilities reaching to ISO 400,000.

Rob Skeoch was a career sports photographer working for the NFL and MLB before being hired to manage the Sony digital imaging team. He now shoots documentaries and street photography and presented his thesis for his Master of Fine Art degree earlier in November.




This year marks the 10th anniversary of the School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa (SPAO), an educational centre and creative domain for those with a passion for the photographic image.

Join us at our annual open house on Friday November 6th from 3 to 9 pm at 168 Dalhousie Street. Tour the darkroom, computer lab and studio spaces, take part in live shoot and see the latest work produced by our current full-time students. 

Mix and mingle with our part time teachers as we launch our winter schedule for part time studies!

The next day, Saturday November 7th from 10 am to 5 pm, head over to Vistek at 499 Bank Street to see the work of six SPAO students who received the prestigious Canadian Applied Arts Award from Applied Arts Magazine in 2015.










The exhibition ARRAYS draws together the diverse interests of artist Abigail Gossage, from a typology of Toronto houses to photographs with the common themes of light and lines.

The exhibition explores the artist's concern with architecture and light.  As it travels through doorways from basements to heritage buildings around the world, light creates lines that are juxtaposed with the angles created by buildings.  Abigail’s investigation of the different qualities of light, in abandoned or destroyed buildings as well as in natural settings, focuses on the how light not only creates its own lines but throws into focus unexpected lines in architecture.

The effects of light are again explored in the context of family with the studies of her four daughters' hair, whether the three with their grandmother's curly hair or the straight lines of the fourth.  To complete the family influence, Abigail has included a print from her son, MacDuff Knox’s extensive body of photographic work which has been one of the influences on her work.



A Place Apart

August 7th - September 9th,  2015

"Finding a sanctuary, a place apart from time, is not so different from finding a faith."

                                 Pico Iyer, Falling off the Map: Some Lonely Places of the World


For some lucky souls mountains are a place apart. The great French mountain guide Gaston Rebuffat wrote that for him they "seemed less a part of this planet than an entirely independent kingdom, unique and mysterious, where to venture forth, all that was needed was the will and the love" <On Snow and Rock, 1963>.  At times harsh, stripped of many irrelevancies, ultimately mysterious… they dwarf our civilization's pretensions to power. Given the right heart, they can even evoke that which is ineffable.

The objective of the exhibition is to hint at the kind of love felt by some for the sanctuary of mountains. This is not a comfortable love. It is rather an almost Old Testament sense of awe when beholding the world and an inscrutable God.




The time has come for The School of The Photographic Arts: Ottawa’s A+ Exhibition!

This will be the eighth annual contest and exhibition of selected images from SPAO’s continuing education community. If you have taken a part time course or workshop at SPAO, you are eligible to enter your work for a chance to have it shown in the Red Wall Gallery as well as displayed on the SPAO website. 

  We will be accepting entries for two categories:

    •             Silver Gelatin/Alternative Processes
    •             Digital Imagery

  Deadline for submissions: 5 p.m. on Saturday June 27th, 2015

  Exhibition Dates:  July 10th to July 30th, 2015

  Opening and Awards Ceremony:  Friday July 10th, 2015, 6-9 p.m. 


Exhibition No. 10

SCHOOL OF THE PHOTOGRAPHIC ARTS: OTTAWA (SPAO) is pleased to announce Exhibition No. 10. Photographic works by SPAO Diploma Students and Artists in Residence. SPAO's facilities will be transformed into a professional gallery space for the dissemination of photographic pieces that that embody the school’s motto Vision. Content. Craft. This year's exhibition pays tribute to classic and innovative photographic processes while examining the medium’s ephemerality, materiality, and conceptual preoccupations.

Featured Works

 Xia Li searches for the subtle relationship between humans and their natural surroundings. The final images are of a space that is not just a container filled with objects, but also a spiritual residence of human consciousness. 

Kane Rooney work explores his fascination with humanity’s ability to manipulate and utilize the environment in pursuit of “advancement”

Glenn Bloodworth examines the ephemeral nature of memories as seen through images of Ontario’s Highway 7, once the major route linking Ottawa and Toronto, now bordered by failed businesses and abandoned properties

Richard Robesco visits the Landing Beaches of Normandy and shows an intriguing series of scanographs of charcoal sculptures.

 Stéphanie Godin addresses the formality of wet plate collodion processes and traditional printmaking in her series of work

 Exhibition No. 10 will be available for viewing from April 17th to April 30th from Mon-Fri 10-6pm and Saturday 10-3pm




New works by Caroline Tallmadge

Vernissage: Thursday, January 8, 2015, 6 p.m.
On view until March 4, 2015
1255 Wellington Street West

Artist statement:
In the dim environment of the angiography suite, the most vibrant light often comes from a computer screen. There, I can watch as blood vessels in brain are visually separated, by dye injection, from their usual background of brain tissue. The process results in free-standing, unexpected forms that, to me, were bold, sinuous and compelling. They recalled other strong, natural shapes that I had photographed in the past and their persistence in my mind led me to identify other substantive, meandering forms in the natural world around me.

This work is about the relationship of form and patterns found in the internal and external physical worlds. It is about the purposeful design of our bodies and of our environment. It is the pairing of private, even mysterious images with everyday, visible shapes. It is about the commonplace illuminating the formerly unseen. It illustrates what I formerly saw as two very different aspects of my life that perhaps aren't that different after all.

Strength of design exists in unpredictable places. It takes unpredictable forms. But its principles are recognizable wherever and however one encounters them, whether it is in flat, objective diagnostic images or aspects of the natural world.






Lamont poster.jpg

                                                                                                                                                            PHOTOGRAPH: Valerie Burton (A+7 Best in Show)

                                                                                                                                                            PHOTOGRAPH: Valerie Burton (A+7 Best in Show)

EVENTS 2014 and prior