Artist Headshot: Eamon Mac Mahon

Eamon Mac Mahon

Toronto, ON

Work by Toronto-based photographer/videographer Eamon Mac Mahon has appeared in various publications including the Walrus, National Geographic, W and New York Magazine, as well as exhibition spaces such as The Power Plant in Toronto, The Detroit Institute of the Arts, the Griffin Museum of Photography in Boston and Higher Pictures New York. A recent large-scale exhibition of his ‘Landlocked’ series at the Toronto International Airport was described as ‘magnificent and mysterious’ by the Globe and Mail. Mac Mahon also spends much of his time creating video projections for stage productions, short films and documentaries. He has been named one of PDN's 30 and was nominated for the 2008 Prix Pictet.


This series of photographs is part of a larger project that began in the autumn of 2004 with a series of extended journeys by bush plane into the Canadian wilderness. Since that first journey, I typically spend three months each year in the north with a bush pilot in a two-seat airplane built in 1946. We set off in the autumn, at the end of the pilot's season, when we have the skies to ourselves.

In the beginning I was drawn to the boom and bust resource towns scattered throughout northern Canada. I wanted to know what happened in these places: what the people were like and what it felt like to be in a place that is surrounded by so much uninhabited, wild land. And I wanted to photograph them. It would sometimes take weeks to make our way to these remote villages. Along the way we camped in wilderness, took shelter in fire towers, and were often taken in by strangers. To fund these journeys I did whatever photographic work I could find in the small towns and cities that we passed through, whether it be aerial photographs of golf courses, hotels or private properties. When we finally arrived in an isolated community we would often get stuck waiting for weather, or a shipment of fuel, or parts for the plane. Most of these communities had no access roads and had generally experienced reckless growth or stagnation, and then decline.

The surrounding wilderness has a deep effect on the inhabitants of these towns and, in turn, the towns have a great impact on the wilderness. And in these small isolated communities, it is possible to see clearly how individuals have made each community vastly different.

I have become increasingly captivated by the wilderness between lonely settlements. Vast areas of land not yet exploited, or briefly plundered and left uninhabited. Growing up in western Canada on the edge of the boreal forest, I had vague impressions of mysterious and wild, yet monotonous places. I thought of the north as an endless expanse of homogeneous forests, lakes and tundra. I was wrong. I have been astonished by the variety and complexity of these landscapes. These photographs show a wilderness of increasing importance to the world, on the cusp of great change.


Kalapana is a town and region in the Puna District on the Island of Hawai'i in the Hawaiian Islands. The area gained notoriety when the 1990 Kīlauea lava flow from the Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent destroyed and partly buried much of the Kalapana Gardens and nearby Royal Gardens subdivision. The lava flow that destroyed Kalapana erupted from the southeast rift zone of Kīlauea. Along with the destruction of Kalapana were those of the nearby town of Kaimū and Kaimū Bay, both of which now lie buried beneath more than 50 feet of lava. The lava flow also created a new coastline.

Eamon is currently at work on this new series of images based on the Kalapana lava flow and the formation of new land masses. He is en route back to Hawaii now.

Selected Solo Exhibitions

Landlocked and Aerials, Toronto International Airport, May 2008 - May 2009
Ice Fields, Pikto Gallery, Toronto, July-August 2008
The Last 20 Days, The Drake Hotel, Toronto, May 2006

Selected Group Exhibitions

Directed North, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, November 2009
Art with Heart, The Carlu, Toronto, November 2009
Here and Now, Art Gallery of Ontario (R & S), Toronto, May 2009
Flash Forward, The Griffin Museum of Photography, Boston, April 2009
TOAE Best of 2008, First Canadian Place, Toronto, January 2009
Flash Forward, Gallery Art Mur, Montreal, January 2009
PDN's 30, Helen Mills Theatre, New York City, October 2008
Embedded Cosmology or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Higher Pictures Gallery, New York City, May-July 2008
Welcome, Maison de la Culture Frontenac , Montreal, April 2008
Carte Blanche, The Gladstone, Toronto, May 2006

Selected Corporate Collections

Bank of Montreal, Corporate Collection, Toronto
Concord City Place (Block 25), Corporate Collection, Toronto

Selected Video Performances

Twist of Fate, (video projections for stage production), Gibson Jessop Gallery, Toronto, January 2009
Big Bang, (video projections), Detroit Institute of the Arts, Detroit, January 2008
Process>Product, (video projections), Group Exhibition, The Power Plant, Toronto, October 2007
Kuten, (video projections for stage production), Grassroots, New York, July 2007
Black Water, (video projections), Group Exhibition, Friendship Cove, Montreal,  February 2007

Selected Published Work

Water, Alphabet City Anthology No. 14, 2009
"Fly At Your Own Risk", The Walrus Magazine, 2009
"When Girls Want to Be Boys and Boys Want to Be Girls", Toronto Life Magazine, 2009
"Sarah Palin's Heaven", New York Magazine, 2008
"Tea and Wallaby", The New Yorker, 2008
"The Son Also Rises", W Magazine, 2008
"Flying Fast", Vision Magazine (China), 2008
"The Incinerator Incident", The Walrus Magazine, 2008
"Where in the World", National Geographic Magazine, 2007
"Aeroscape", enRoute Magazine, 2006
"The Last 20 Days", various Canwest publications, 2006
"Steep Space", Report On Business Magazine (Globe & Mail), 2006‘Afterglow’, The Walrus Magazine, 2005
‘The Other Muskoka’, Toronto Life Magazine, 2005
Drift by Kevin Connolly,  (book cover), House of  Anansi Press
Here is Where We Meet by John Berger, (dust jacket), Random House USA

Awards and Honors

Prix Pictet 2008 Nomination
PDN's 30, 2008
Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition Award, 2008
Canada Council for the Arts, Visual Arts Grant, 2008
Flash Forward Book of Emerging Photographers (selected participant), 2007, 2008 and 2009
2 Design Club of Canada Awards, 2007
CONTACT International Photography Festival HP Prize for Photography, Grande Prize, 2007
Coupe International Design and Image Award, 2004, 2005 + 2006
Ontario Arts Council Exhibition Grant, 2004 + 2007


Sheridan College of Applied Arts, Applied Photography, graduated 1998

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