Phil Norton’s artist statement should be: If you live with curiosity and creativity your life will be the story and legacy you give to the world.
Since 1972, when Norton bought his first 35 mm SLR film camera, he has been a photographic artist. This led him to become a writer and, most of all, a listener, observer and storyteller. After getting his degree in environmental science, he embarked on his career as a newspaper and magazine journalist.
Describing it as ‘nerve-wracking or at times an adrenaline rush,’ Norton has covered many police and indigenous standoffs and a nighttime ride-along with the US border patrol on the California Mexico border. Those were the days of manual cameras with low sensitivity film in a low light situation. He ran with the federal law enforcement agents through cactus with only their flashlights and a light beaming from a helicopter hovering overhead.
In the early 2000’s Norton upgraded his skills and moved toward multimedia, studying web and graphic design at Concordia University. He furthered his studies merging still photography with audio and video – his favourite creative process for evoking emotion. Norton performed five times with a symphony orchestra in the United States. Each required months of learning the classical symphony score, producing a series of images with precise timings to accompany the music.
Always independent and learning something new, Norton took an online Masterclass on documentary filmmaking with Ken Burns, a smart phone webinar with a National Geographic photographer, and in March 2023, a news video bootcamp at the University of Oklahoma.
“My thinking times are my creative times. I find my creative mind needs freedom to wander. My many jobs have included farming, teaching, newspaper editor, stock photography sales, lobbying for the minister of environment, writing on deadline, photographing models for tourism promotion, corporate conferences and leading small group photography adventures to every corner of North America. I have no regrets and look forward to new challenges. I will never retire.”