Freeman Patterson resides near his childhood home at Shamper’s Bluff. He attended one-room, multi-grade schools in Grey’s Mills and Long Reach before studying at Macdonald Consolidated School on the Kingston Peninsula. He graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy (Honours) from Acadia University, Wolfville in 1959, where he wrote an honors thesis on The Form of the Good in Plato’s Republic. In 1962, he earned a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary at Columbia University, New York, with his master’s thesis focusing on Still Photography as a Medium of Religious Expression. While in New York, he studied photography and visual design privately under Dr. Helen Manzer.
Between 1962 and 1965, Freeman served as the dean of religious studies at Alberta College in Edmonton, where he began actively working in photography. In 1966, he relocated to Toronto to work at Berkeley Studio, the United Church of Canada’s still photography and film production house, for a year. During this period and until the late 1970s, he completed numerous assignments for the National Film Board of Canada‘s Still Photography Division and developed a large client base in the editorial and advertising industries. As a life member and former president of The Toronto Guild for Colour Photography, Freeman has always supported the amateur photography community.
In 1973, Freeman returned to New Brunswick to pursue his artistic interests and establish a photography and visual design workshop. Since then, he has taught numerous week-long classes each year, including courses in southern Africa beginning in 1984, where he co-founded the Namaqualand Photographic Workshops. He has also conducted workshops in the United States, Israel, New Zealand, and Australia.
Freeman Patterson does much of his photography work at home but travels extensively to photograph and teach. He has frequently presented half-day and full-day seminars to large groups (50 to 4,000 participants) in visual arts, music, education, and ecology across Canada, the United States, and other countries since 1973.
He has written and illustrated four instructional books on photography and visual design since 1977, co-authored a fifth, published four large cloth-edition books, and co-authored and illustrated two more. In 1996, he completed a CD-ROM titled Creating Pictures: A Visual Design Workshop and a major retrospective book of text and photographs called ShadowLight: A Photographer’s Life for Harper Collins of Canada. This was followed by Odysseys: Meditations and Thoughts for a Life’s Journey in 1998 and The Garden in 2003. Freeman has written for various magazines, CBC radio, and has been featured on CBC television’s “Man Alive,” “Sunday Arts and Entertainment,” and “Adrienne Clarkson Presents.”
Between 1973 and 1989, Freeman held the position of an elected trustee for New Brunswick School District #19. Additionally, he served as vice-president and director of Masterfile, a prominent stock photography agency, for eight years, spent two years on the board of Aids Saint John, and dedicated six years as a trustee for the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
Freeman Patterson generously donated his property at Shamper’s Bluff to the conservancy, establishing an ecological reserve and education area. A passionate motorcyclist, he is also a member of the Saint John Harley Owners’ Group.
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