March 27, 2023


Five a.m. is an odd hour. It’s quiet, peaceful really. Many people sleep soundly through it, while others are beginning or even finishing their work days.

Brian Douglas captures this early hour in his gallery exhibit entitled 5 a.m., which was shown in the Rotunda Gallery inside Kitchener City Hall throughout October. The exhibit featured photographs of not only scenes taken at five in the morning, but the people who are awake and working at that hour.

Douglas has always been inspired by industry and the working world. He has spent a number of years photographing industrial landscapes, and began looking for something more.

“I wanted to find a way to move from just photographing spaces to having the faces behind the work included,” he said.

It was his wife who gave him the idea to include overnight shift workers. “They are a hard-working yet often unseen part of the workforce and this was a way for me to honour the jobs that they do.”

Douglas was amazed to have his photos shown in city hall. He has been adding to the timeless exhibit, with photos taken from 2013, right up to Oct. 25 of this year.

His photos are personal, each one telling a different story. They include a variety of professions, including firefighters, bakers and pharmacists. He contrasts the photo of the generally quiet work environment with a black and white portrait of the worker to go alongside it, making the piece seem deeper.

The 5 a.m. exhibit will be shown again in September 2016 at the Kitchener Public Library.

The Rotunda gallery plays host to many exhibits each year by various artists throughout the region and is a great way to get a glimpse of the talent Kitchener has to offer. Although the 5 a.m. exhibit has been taken down as of Nov. 1, it will be replaced by another, called Lab Culture, by Kate Carder-Thompson.

Carrie Kozlowski, program assistant of arts and culture and economic development for the City of Kitchener, described the Rotunda Gallery as an unstaffed, public gallery. It is free to roam around, or to sit and relax as you take a peek at what it has to offer.

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