Life Lived Large
Professor Robideau was only 17 when he received his Pasmona High Diploma, his PHD.
Here are two different guys – one is the famous virtual Professor Robideau, the other is the ordinary Henri Robideau. Even though he is the same guy in both instances, the two are presented here for the sake of clearly distinguishing one man's fact from the same man's fiction.
The real Henri Robideau invented Professor Robideau as a persona for Gianthropology in the digital age. At the turn of the millennium, amidst the confusing hysteria of the Y2K bug, the real Henri Robideau began developing a Gianthropology web site in order to share his earliest work with the world.
The new web site would exist in cyberspace and it would be a kind of university campus with virtual departmental edifices – an observatory, an institute. Professor Robideau would be its founder, sole faculty member and fearless leader. This would be a big job, but isn't that what Gianthropology is all about?
Since the Gianthropology web site contains mostly regurgitated early work, the real Henri Robideau appropriated his old Pasmona High Diploma (P.H.D.) and conferred it upon the invented Professor Robideau as the substantiation and sole credential for his credibility as a scientist.
Henri Robideau 2018
Learn more about Henri Robideau at
Henri Robideau is a photographer and cultural narrator whose practice is grounded in history and animated by the events of our times. His lifelong involvement in photography incorporates more than fifty years of teaching, professional production for many of Canada’s leading artists and personal art creation incorporating photographic imagery and handwritten narrative text.
Born 1946 in Bristol, Connecticut, he grew up in New England, North Carolina and California. His teen years were spent in the booming post WWII suburbs of San Diego county. In university he studied chemistry at San Diego State College for two years but dropped out and moved in 1966 to the San Francisco Bay Area, pursuing a life in the arts. He trained as a commercial photographer at Laney College in Oakland, before emigrating to Vancouver in 1970 as a refugee from the violence of America and as the fulfillment of a promise to his grandfather to someday return to the land of his ancestors.
His first Canadian job as photo-technician for the Vancouver Public Library Historical Photograph Section, provided an immersion into Vancouver’s and Canada's visual history and introduced him to the work of photographer Mattie Gunterman. In 1976 he left the world of archives and researched Mattie Gunterman’s life, producing an exhibition of her work that toured 26 venues and led to the 1995 publication of her historical biography, Flapjacks & Photographs.
In 1980 he launched a decade-long project The Pancanadienne Gianthropological Survey, crisscrossing Canada in search of monumental human activity and the true meaning of Canada. After producing a series of sixty large scale black and white panoramic photographs he moved to Montreal in 1987 to work on the eastern side of the Survey. On July 14, his second day in Montreal, his panoramas were destroyed in a flood. His lost work was later celebrated in the publication Canada’s Gigantic! Four years in Montreal came to an end with attending the events at Oka, followed by a trip to Japan he’d been putting off since he was 9. The Pancanadienne Gianthropological Survey went largely unfinished after amassing more than 1500 panoramas, but out of it came 500 Fun Years a narrative on colonialism done for the 1992 500th anniversary of Indigenous resistance.
In 1991 he moved back to Vancouver, working for Green Peace photographer Robert Keziere providing photographic services and productions for Canada’s leading artists, galleries and publications. He also taught photography at Emily Carr College of Art as a sessional for the next 25 years. For the past thirty years his practice has been in the form of multi panel photographic montages with hand written text. Sometimes this work is an introspective reflection on the ironic tragedy of human existence, as is the case with the two series The Crossroads Of Life and Acts Of God. Other times history and politics provide the narrative as in the millennial snapshot, Four Directions of the Okanagan, and most recently the anecdotal account of 40 years of Vancouver urban development, Eraser Street.
Henri Robideau’s photography has been exhibited and collected both in Canada and internationally. He lives and works in Vancouver respectfully on the unceded ancestral territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Peoples.
© 2021 Henri Robideau