Biography: Born in Saskatoon, photographer John David Dean has been practicing commercially and artistically for more than four decades. After moving to Calgary in 1968, Dean studied painting at the Alberta College of Art and then the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (1971 – 1975). After graduation, Dean worked commercially as a technician for the Glenbow Museum until 1983, and started his own commercial studio in 1986.
In much of his artistic photography, Dean documents decay, ruin, and the forgotten. Among Dean’s many fascinations are the remnants of the 17,000 hectare Kootenay National Park following its 2003 inferno. He photographed what remained ten years later, writing that “many of the trees still stand. The bark has gone, the branches are still bare, and much of the undergrowth at higher elevations still hasn’t returned. It is this stark, almost monochromatic world that has drawn me to this place.”
Dean has mounted a dozen solo exhibitions, including Night Photographs at the University of Ottawa, France: A Tasting at Calgary’s Embarcadero restaurant, The Spirit of the Motorcycle at Calgary’s Paul Kuhn Gallery, and Sundays in Venice at Calgary’s Masters Gallery. His photographs appear in A Year in the Life of Husky (Husky Oil, Ltd.), The Spirit of the Motorcycle Voyageur Press, Stillwater, Minnesota), and the 210-page photographic collection EastEnd (Dog Ear Press, Calgary).
Dean’s work is featured in numerous public and private collections, including those of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Nickle Arts Museum, Talisman Energy, the National Film Board’s Still Photography Division, and the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography.
The Alberta College of Art and Design granted him an Alumni Award of Excellence in 2002.