Presentation House Gallery
The Polygon Gallery
333 Chesterfield Avenue
North Vancouver, BC V7M 3G9

Another Happy Day: Found Photographs Collected by Jonah Samson

Opening reception and book launch:
Saturday, September 14, 7 PM

Introduction by Jonah Samson, 7:30 PM


The photographs in this exhibition and book, selected from the collection of Canadian artist and art collector Jonah Samson, reveal the passions that drive personal art collections. It is an idiosyncratic assembly of snapshots, studio portraits and press photographs that reflects a dark sense of humour and attraction to the absurd.

Primarily figurative, Samson’s collection reveals his interest in gesture, voyeurism and situations of conflict. Many of the images are unsettling and evoke a sense of tension or immanent violence. Samson attentively scans eBay in search of such images, sifting through a stream of millions of castoffs. He has developed clairvoyance for finding extraordinary moments buried within the prosaic, and is drawn to oddities captured in casual snapshots and in studio portraits that reveal more than their subjects realize or can control. The physical imperfections of the prints are amplified by camera mistakes, chemical imperfections and lens flares.

Taken singly or together, the photographs in Another Happy Day reflect Samson’s fascination with the uncanny mysteries to be found in the commonplace. In the artist words: “the perfect picture for me is one that combines the magical, the disturbing, and the absurd.”

Jonah Samson has been making art, writing and collecting for over a decade and currently lives on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. His writing on photography has been published across North America. He has exhibited nationally and internationally, including Otherworldy at the Musée Eugène Leroy, Lille, France (2012) and the Museum of Arts and Design, New York (2011), The Archives of Pleasantville Historical Society at G. Gibson Gallery, Seattle (2011) and Aqua Art Fair, Miami (2010). In the same month as Another Happy Day, Samson presented Our Lady of the Flowers of Evil at Wil Aballe Art Projects, Vancouver, an exhibition of photographs created using original crime scene negatives from the 1950s, and released an artist publication titled Dead Man’s Hand, based on early 20th century crime photography and Film Noir. 

  • untitled, photographer unknown, silver gelatin print, 16.5 x 21.5 cm, courtesy Jonah Samson collection

  • Another Happy Day, on display until October 27

  • Jonah Samson's Another Happy Day, 96 page linen bound publication