A Bit About John Barclay-Morton

John, then and nowStill smiling, decades later!

I was born in a small Canadian city, across the St. Lawrence River from Upstate New York. In my first year of high school, I started developing and printing balck and white film — an interest which quickly became a passion that has lasted throughout my life.

After high school, I decided to travel a bit before university. I ended up landing my first job at a magazine, as a photograper, in 1979; and by the summer of 1980, I was living in the Yukon Territory, earning the tuition for my first year at university. In the 1980s, I worked as a photographer in Canada's North; studied philosophy at university; helped start up the Green Party of Canada; and started studying taijiquan.

1989 saw me moving back to Vancouver in British Columbia, where I began to to study taijiquan in earnest. I soon connected with a small newspaper (called "NOISE"), where I was given the position of Photo Editor. I also took on the role of Environmental Columnist, and became involved in the campaign to save the Carmanah Valley from logging. I began to immerse myself in desktop publishing and digital photo editing. By mid-decade, I had an article published by Semiotext[e] in their "Canadas" edition; and was well into a research project detailing the form of image writing traditionally used by the First Nations of North America.

Employment and Education (by decade)

All of the interests I began to cultivate during this decade, I have sustained to this day. I have been truly fortunate in maintaining such continuity throughout my life.

Places I Worked

  • Briarpatch Magazine; Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.
    Darkroom Technician; Photographer; Reporter.
  • The Metis Newsletter; Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada.
    Assistant to the Editor.
  • Arthur: Trent University's student newspaper. Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.
    Staff Photographer; Writer.
  • ACME Decalcomania; Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
    Graphic Design and Layout Artist; Darkroom Technician.
  • ACE Management Company. Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
    Darkroom Technician; Photographer.

Places I Studied

  • Trent University; Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.
  • The Taoist Tai Chi Society of Canada; Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.
    Taoist Tai Chi (Yang Family Long Form, modified).
  • Barry Leeder; Brockville, Ontario, Canada.
    Yang Family Short Form (double-sided).
  • St. Lawrence College; Brockville, Ontario, Canada.
    An Introduction to Desktop Computing.
  • University of Ottawa; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
    Advanced Workshop in Creative Writing.
  • Mantak Chia. Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
    Taoist Meditation Techniques.

While in Vancouver, I was truly fortunate to find myself becoming deeply involved in those interests that would define the rest of my life. In particular, I began a research project (the start of which was documented through an article in Semiotext[e] Canadas) that brought together all of my major interests and skill sets.

Places I Worked

  • NOISE Magazine; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
    Photo Editor; Environmental Columnist; Photographer; Reporter.
  • Freelance; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
    Photographer and Desktop Publisher.
  • Freelance; Brockville, Ontario, Canada.
    Photographer and Desktop Publisher.

Places I Studied

  • University of British Columbia; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
    The History of Taoism.
  • John Funk; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
    Praying Mantis Kung Fu.
  • Bill Wong; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
    Yang Family Short Form.
  • Jasper Lau; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
    Dayan Qigong.
  • Raymond Y. M. Chung; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
    Yang Family Long Form.
  • Simon Fraser University; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
    Visual Arts Intensive: Art and the Public Sphere.
  • Burnaby College; Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.
    Desktop Publishing and Graphic Design.

The new millenium saw me returning to my home town, where my elderly parents were living out their final years (and in need of my assistance). There, I started working in a pharmaceuticals factory. I also invested in the equipment I needed to pursuit a career in desktop publishing, graphic design, and photography: a pre-press, tabloid-size color laser printer; computer equipment, and Adobe's newly released Creative Suite; an Olympus OM-4 T 35mm camera, with a full compliment of lenses; and a high end digital film scanner.

By the end of the decade, I was ready to leave the factory floor and try something more in keeping with my core skill sets. I finished a first draft of my research project, and switched over to using a digital camera. At this point, I once again began to work on a freelance basis; in photography, graphic design, writing, and desktop publishing.

Places I Worked

  • Trillium Health Care Products Manufacturing; Brockville, Ontario, Canada.
    Production Operator; Control Checker.
  • Freelance; Brockville, Ontario, Canada.
    Photographer; Writer; Graphic Designer; Desktop Publisher.

Places I Studied

  • St. Lawrence College; Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
    An Introduction to Photoshop 7.
  • Mantak Chia; Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
    Taoist Meditation Techniques.
  • Dr. John Painter; Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
    Jiulong Baguazhang.

John and JuliaHappily Married

In early December of 2012, the love of my life and I found each other; and very quickly, we both realized that we had been given the chance to be happy in our lives. Within a few days, we were spending hours talking with each other; and we continued to do so every day after. I made my first trip to New York City in January of 2013. Thereafter, we both travelled back and forth between Canada and the United States, spending as much time in each other's company possible. Julia spent a month living in my home town of Brockville, Ontario, Canada. We both rather quickly decided that New York was the place for us!

On July 1st in 2013, we were married at City Hall in Manhattan. Eleven months later, I was granted a Visa and could finally move to New York City permanantly. This happened just a month after the six months I was allowed (as a Canadian citizen) to spend in the United States had passed; so I returned to Canada at that time and prepared for my interview at the American Consulate in Montreal. On June 14th of 2014, I crossed into the United States and activated my visa, thereby establishing my status as a Permanent Resident of the United States of America.

Happily married, Julia and I now call New York City our home.

A Few Points of Interest

Yukon Territory1980

So began my long enrapture with mountains, and my many trips up into the high alpine fields of flowers and snow where I would practice taijiquan amidst the glaciers as often as I might. I am still not sure if I used photography as an excuse for pulling myself up into the mountains, or the mountains as an excuse for yet more photography (not that I ever needed one). I would first wander back to university, over into the Northwest Territories, and as far south as Mexico and Belize; but eventually, I returned to the mountains!

Carmanah Valley, B.C.1990

A rare, untouched valley of temperate coastal old growth rainforest, home to the tallest trees in Canada. Logging had already started on the outer fringes of this forest when I arrived in British Columbia. Within a few months, some of my environmentalist friends had me deep in the valley, helping to build boardwalks and forest canopy research platforms in an effort to save the trees. Angry loggers came and tried to destroy anything we had built; so we rebuilt, and eventually we won: by the decade's end, that valley and one adjacent became a Provincial Park.

The Thousand Islands2000

I had always regretted not having managed to do as much photography in the area that I grew up in as I might have liked; and I set about rectifying that through the start of the new millenium. I also dedicated extended periods of time toward my practice of taijiquan and other intrnal arts, such as qigong and baguazhang. Eventually, I began freelancing in graphic design, writing, desktop publishing, and photography. This period of time afforded me the opportunity to experiment extensively with digital design, editing, and typography.

What Do The Philosophers Think?