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Alumni Profile: Charles Bishop

Charles Bishop is a film and television producer, artist, photographer, and content creator who attended NSCAD from 1975-1977. He has won several international awards for his films including an Oscar and a Palme d’Or from Cannes.


What have you done since leaving NSCAD? 

Before leaving NSCAD I started my film and TV producing career as a summer replacement employee at CBC Halifax. Since then, I have made hundreds of hours of TV programs, dramas, comedies, children’s shows and documentaries. I produced a feature documentary that won a Palm D’Or and an Oscar, and created several film/TV companies. 


What are you currently working on or have you most recently worked on? What is this work about?

In addition to my content creation for all media, I continued my interest in photography and never stopped taking photographs. Recently, my interests have gone back to Polaroids and Instant film, which I first started using when I was 17 years old. My work is an exploration of the various characteristics of shooting expired Polaroid film, with old cameras and some image manipulation. The individual Polaroids are re-photographed, blown up and printed on high quality fiber paper and displayed with the original (small) Polaroid alongside. 


What continues to inspire your work?

I am inspired to create content daily. I don’t differentiate between my photos and my TV content – it all has a purpose and reason to be. One just pays a bit better.


How did your time at NSCAD contribute to your career path?

While I was at NSCAD I worked part time evenings in the AV department. At that time there was an old one-inch videotape reel with two movie clips. One was the shower scene from Hitchcock’s 1960 film Psycho and the other was the chase scene from the film Bullitt starring Steve McQueen. Bored of studying art history I watched those reels over and over, studying every frame and imagining the construction of the scene in camera, art direction, logistics, music, sound effects and editorial. It really was my first self-taught ‘film school,’ before there was one at NSCAD.

What was your favourite part of NSCAD?

I suppose my favourite part of NSCAD, or at least the thing I’m most grateful for is the opportunity to attend. I always loved photography but because of a ‘troubled’ childhood and some difficult teenage angst, I wasn’t certain I’d have the chance to attend. Without meaning to sound overly dramatic, in some ways attending NSCAD saved my life. 


What was your biggest takeaway from your time at NSCAD?

My biggest takeaway from being at NSCAD is that there are no rules in art, and scant in life. Success and happiness come in many forms. 


What is the proudest moment of your art/design career?

I’ve had many wonderful experiences in my career – I think the most recent was opening a show of my Polaroid works in my hometown at Studio 21 in Halifax.

What do you wish you had of known when you were a student?

What I wished I knew when I was at NSCAD is a simple little phrase I often use throughout my career: “Always remember Charles, nobody knows anything.”  Believing those words can free us from the tyranny of judgment, critiques, and self-doubt. There is no right and wrong. There is just art. 

Looking back, I also wish I could have just relaxed a bit more and enjoyed being in the moment at NSCAD and—most importantly—not taken it all so very seriously. 


What is something you can’t wait to do next in your career?

I can’t wait for my next Polaroid show! 

Follow Charles on Instagram.

Charles Bishop at 17 with his first Polaroid camera


A Square Between Two Rounds, Charles Bishop