Hannah Thomson celebrates a star Nova Scotian photographer

click to enlarge HANNAH THOMSON
Hannah Thomson
Hannah Thomson shot her first Coast cover in 1995. She was fresh out of art school at Mount Allison University, back in her Halifax hometown and wondering what to do, exactly, with her photography education. But it was The Coast’s lucky break. Thomson brought a rare combination of talent, work ethic, artist’s eye and captivating personality to every assignment, through dozens of Coast covers to working with some of the biggest names in the world after she made the inevitable move to New York City.

In the part of her practice that involved photographing famous people (Beyoncé, Robert De Niro) in famous places (the Met Gala, the Oscars) for famous publications (Vogue, Vanity Fair) over 20 years, Hannah remained resolutely down to earth, treating her assistants with the same respect she showed the one percent. Blame her Nova Scotian roots for that capacity to not be star-struck.

Those same roots provided support when she was diagnosed with cancer nearly a decade ago, and she fought it while moving strongly forward with her career. It was a shock when she passed away this year in Nova Scotia at the end of August, just a couple weeks after BuzzFeed News published her photo essay about twins. She was only 48, and left behind beloved family, loyal friends and a photographic archive of at least a million images. Hannah Thomson brings a compelling sample of that work to the Anna Leonowens Gallery, a tribute to one of the finest photographers to ever come from here.

Hannah Thomson, Anna Leonowens Gallery, November 13-16

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