Alumni Spotlight with Noga Cadan

My recent work mostly revolves around my move to Vancouver—lots of images relating to transportation and the ocean that kind of feel like depictions of transition and independence.

Q + A

Tell us a bit about your most recent work.

My recent work mostly revolves around my move to Vancouver—lots of images relating to transportation and the ocean that kind of feel like depictions of transition and independence.

How does this project differ from your past works?

I think I approach work differently now. During school I thought a lot about the end product, and now I mostly just create the images I want to and end up seeing connections after the fact. I also think my current work revolves less around unpacking my ancestry, and is more focused on exploring my current feelings and relationship to the world.

What do you hope to communicate through your work?

There’s less pressure right now for me to communicate something than there was before (during school). I think I’ve become less intentional about how I make images, and more spontaneous. I do think that there has always been a connection in what I do to the natural world and the important role it plays in our health and “soul.” I feel like there is an underlying theme of sustainability in the images I take.

What inspires you? Why do you create?

I think seeing other people create is a big driving force for my own work. I’m lucky to have a lot of close friends who are also very talented individuals, and I think seeing them continuing to make work while we all navigate post-graduation is what allows me to also keep creating.

How has the pandemic affected your practice and post-graduation plan?

The biggest change was moving to Vancouver, for sure. I wouldn’t have moved if the pandemic had not happened and had the opportunity not presented itself. Trying to find your footing in a new city as an adult has many challenges.

Where did you picture yourself post-graduation, and does it align with where you are now?

I graduated right before COVID took over, so there’s almost no alignment between what I pictured and where I currently am. I expected to take some time to travel and maybe work at a gallery in Toronto, but neither of those things happened. I had been wanting to move back West (Vancouver) since moving to Toronto though, so I guess where I am now aligns more with life-long goals rather than post-grad goals.

Do you think your recent work assisting commercial photography has influenced your personal artistic practice?

I think it has in some ways. I’m around a lot of commercial work that has very artistic qualities, and sometimes it’s hard to differentiate between fine art and editorial or commercial work. I think it has pushed me to try to photograph people and objects more.

Do you have any advice for recent graduates entering the workforce? How did you navigate your post-graduation expectations for yourself?

I think it’s important to remember that you have time to figure things out. Most people I work with now are much older than me, and that took me by surprise at first. It’s easy to think that you’re running out of time in your mid-twenties, but you’re not. I had to manage a lot of personal expectations navigating post-grad during a pandemic, and in a new city. It’s important to get excited over small steps forward and to value the things that make you happy outside of work, like spending time outside and being around people you care about.

What do you envision for the future of your practice?

I hope to be able to go see, and photograph more places. I’ve seen so little of British Columbia at this point, and feel like I could spend years seeing everything. I also hope to do some more work in Israel—it is still important for me to explore how my work can contribute to conversations about Palestinian sovereignity.

Career-wise, where do you see yourself in the future?

The answer to this changes day to day, but I think the most important thing is that I continue working with people I look up to and admire. I’ve met a lot of creative people over the past two years who are inspirational to be around and who I think have the potential for really exciting careers. If I can continue to work and create alongside them, I would be happy.

What are some of your favourite places in British Columbia?

I don’t think I’ve seen enough to truly answer this question, but I have lots of love for the Gulf Islands! I think that Saturna Island and Denman Island have been my favourites thus far. Taking ferries and seeing porpoises and seals always makes me happy. The mountains are unique though—the views I’ve seen in Golden Ears Provincial Park are like none other, and driving down the Sea to Sky Highway towards Squamish is always hypnotic.

Noga Cadan is an artist currently based in Vancouver, British Columbia. She holds a BFA from X University  where she studied Photography. Her work examines themes of culture, identity and nature and how these relate to introspection and our interpersonal relationships. Although her practice is mainly photographic, she is also interested in creating motion/video work.

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