Michelle is an award-winning photographic artist Michelle Valberg is a study of instinct in motion. After studying Fine Art at the University of Ottawa and moving through the dark rooms of Algonquin College, Michelle emerged, armed with the technical skills to compliment her intuitive approach to photography. She is a member of the Professional Photographers of Canada and Ontario, accredited in seven stylistic categories and shares her experience as a guest speaker at photography organization events across Canada. Nestled in the heart of Ottawa’s eclectic Westboro Village, Valberg Imaging remains on the cutting edge, creatively merging art and science with breathtaking results!
While Michelle’s family and business roots are firmly planted in Ottawa, her artistic spectrum reaches nationally and internationally. Her work has been featured in many local and national daily newspapers as well as US Weekly, In Style, National Geographic, Reader’s Digest, Above & Beyond and Chatelaine magazines. She has also taken on the role of publisher, releasing two books on her own: Look Beyond… The Faces and Stories of People with HIV/AIDS and the national best seller chronicling the lives of 100 inspiring Canadian women, Dare to Dream… A Celebration of Canadian Women. A third book is in the works entitled: Arctic Kaleidoscope… The People, Wildlife and Ever-Changing Landscape that will showcase the splendour of the Canadian north and its people. Portions of all of her book proceeds go to charities relevant to their subject matter. The Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa hosted a 3 month solo-exhibition on Michelle’s Arctic work from March to May 2011.
Michelle has spent her career at home and abroad, filling her passport and her gallery with images found in nature and in the faces of people she’s met along the way. Her wanderlust has taken her to across Canada, the Arctic, the UK, Ireland, the Caribbean, France, Italy, Belarus, and post 9-11 New York. She has scoured the arid plains of Africa to steal glimpses of majestic lions, bathing hippos, colourfully dressed tribesmen and stunning sunsets. She has staked out a spot on the edge of an ice floe to capture a whale’s breech from the frigid waters before spotting a polar bear moving its heavy frame deftly across the snow in search of food. She is fearless, creative and tenacious. These qualities enable her to achieve amazing photographs, and the people who see them to feel a part of the adventure.
In addition to seizing moments in nature, Michelle Valberg also possesses an uncanny ability to translate the very essence of the people she photographs. It’s no surprise she’s sought after to immortalize some of Canada’s most famous faces. Her portraits are powerful and provocative. Whether it’s the lined face of a peasant woman in Belarus or the smile of a dying AIDS patient, Michelle’s images never evoke a feeling of pity, but certainly draw one of raw human connection.
In addition to artist and entrepreneur, Michelle is also a teacher, mentor and philanthropist. She helps cultivate new artists through her involvement with her alma mater Algonquin College where she holds the inaugural “Hall of Fame” induction for photography in the School of Media & Design, was named “Alumna of the Year” in 2005 and now sits on the Algonquin College Foundation board. She has also given her time and talents freely to raise countless dollars for more than twenty charities including St. Joe’s Women’s Shelter, The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, The Ottawa Food Bank, YMCA/YWCA, The Ottawa Regional Cancer Centre, The Ottawa Heart Institute, St. Vincent Hospital and the Elisabeth Bruyere Health Centre. She also sits as a board member of the United Way, CHEO and the Youth Services Bureau Charitable Foundation.
Michelle’s entrepreneurial achievements and community involvement have garnered her recognition with the YMCA/YWCA Women of Distinction Award, as Ottawa’s Businesswoman of the Year and in 2004 a spot on the list of The Ottawa Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40. The most recent acknowledgement for Michelle is the United Way Ottawa Community Builder award.