6ix Points of View – Photography Exhibition Opening

  By Ryley Smith

 

Six photographers, six points of view, one outstanding exhibit. 6ix Points of View is a series of photographs that represent the unique, artistic vision of six different mid-career photographers. Exhibiting a beautiful assortment of production styles and techniques including cyanotype, carbon ink and conventional printing, 6ix Points of View is an exhibition unlike any other. 

6ix Points of View – Opening Reception 

Date: September 17th, 2022 

Time: 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM MDT

Location: 500 Collective – #500, 321 50th Ave SE Calgary

For more information and to register to attend the opening reception of 6ix Points of View, please click here. 

About The Six Photographers

Richard Collens – Rural Landscapes

Artist Statement – Subconscious emotion

Photography is typically a passion that not only helps me slow down the pace of life, but also allows me to explore a little deeper, not only into the scenery, but a part of myself that is often conveyed into the images I capture.

The work I have selected were largely taken at a point during Covid where the loss of work, difficulty finding more work and the general lockdown of life, prompted the need to get out into outdoor isolation, in an attempt to regain motivation, and the peace of mind that some semblance of normalcy can bring.

Through the ghost towns and backroads, there seemed to be a focus of my emotion on the views I was drawn to, that seemed analogous to the circumstance that much of the world was realizing.  Searching through the decay of stagnant “lockdown” for the light outside, the love outside, some kind of life other than the life we had come to live during Covid.  This work represents that subconscious emotion, that seemed to prevail; a rage against the dying of the light as Dylan Thomas so eloquently put it.

The journey is the destination.

– Richard Collens

Greg Gerla – Urban Landscapes, Lethbridge

Homecoming: Artist Statement

In March of 2020 I returned to my hometown of Lethbridge Alberta.

Originally my plan was only to spend a week to settle my Mom on her return from wintering in Yuma. It was the beginning of the COVID pandemic. That week became a year. My Mom’s health declined, and she passed away in April of 2021.

During that emotionally powerful period, I took time to revisit places from my childhood and photograph them. It provided an opportunity to reconnect with the past, but also give me a brief respite from the present.

Homecoming is a selection of images from that time. The act of making these images reinforced the importance of home, family, and history. It was both a creative process and, perhaps more importantly, a therapeutic one.

This body of work is dedicated to my Mother, Doreen Lillian Taylor: 1930-2021.

Royce Howland – Industrial Landscapes 

Artist Statement – Coal Oriented

For this series to date, I have chosen several of my photographs from these locations:

  • Brazeau Collieries coal mine in Nordegg, Alberta, which ceased production in 1955.
  • Greenhill Mine in Blairmore, Alberta, which closed down in 1957.
  • The Lower Bankhead Mine operations remains near Banff, Alberta, which ended in 1922.

The story of Brazeau Collieries has interested me, in particular, and I have visited and photographed there many times. Founded by Martin Nordegg, the mine operated between 1911 and 1955. At its peak the mine was known for its innovation in mining operations and was one of the largest producers of coal briquettes in Canada. The town itself was an interesting and progressive model of community planning and development, a home to work seekers (many of them immigrants) that was in many ways ahead of its time in social terms.

Once boasting a population of about 3000, Nordegg today is home to some 200 people. Though little of the original town remains, the nationally-listed historic mine site is largely intact from the day it ceased production. The shutdown was a result of a fire that destroyed much of the operation in 1950, requiring an extensive, heavily debt-financed reconstruction. Unfortunately for the mine and the town, that debt load occurred at a time when railway locomotives were rapidly converting from coal-fired steam power to diesel. This triggered the sudden economic collapse of the mine very soon after the re-build was completed.

In my previous career I have worked for various natural resource sector companies, and now as an artist I feel drawn to a visual exploration of past and present industrial locations. I deeply respect and value the natural world, and strongly believe that we need to act far more responsibly to conserve and sustain the environment within which we live. But I also recognize the essential contributions to our history, economy, technology and very way of modern life provided by natural resource-based industries.

As we look at the situation of the current day in Alberta, are there lessons that we could or should be learning from our history? If so, what are they? I have my ideas about this… undoubtedly you have yours as well. Will we be able to chart a different course for our future? Or will I, later in life, begin a new photography series on economic and environmental devastations wrought by our current generation?

By themselves, my photographs hold no solutions to the apparent conflicts between the increasing need for conservation and the continuing appeal of job- and wealth-generation through resource extraction. Indeed, I seek to embody some of this tension in my work. For example, I deliberately contrast decaying equipment and buildings with aesthetically pleasing forms and glowing light. I place the abandoned products of human ingenuity within the context of the disorganized and chaotic life impulses of the natural world. I print my images of heavy industry operations on a soft, warm-toned paper made from rapidly renewable bamboo.

My explorations of the industrial component of cultural landscape, and the visuals that I create, are part of my own personal journey in reconciling these conflicts for myself. If the work resonates with viewers, I can only hope this may contribute in some small way to a sense of curiosity that further opens a door. Through that door may lie some resolutions to the on-going divide between our modern industrialized world and the natural world from which we have become seemingly isolated, but upon which we utterly depend for our survival as surely as we depend upon economics, industry and technology.

Visti Kjar – Horizons, Tuktoyaktuk

Artist Statement

It was the summer of 2018, my dad turned 89 and my jeep was packed for a trip that took both of us on a 9000 km adventure to the Arctic Ocean. With three weeks of time we headed north into the Yukon following our family history that stretched back to the 1940’s. From there we made our way further north to Arctic Ocean and Tuktoyaktuk. Reaching our destination meant this was my first time reaching arctic waters and after decades since his last foray in Tuk I was able to bring my dad back to the arctic.

Tuktoyaktuk is a small welcoming hamlet of Inuvialuit peoples, nestled along the shores of the Arctic Ocean. Bright colored homes are tucked amongst the low rolling hills, where the treeline has faded away and the tundra and brackish waters extend out beyond the horizons of this land. My first experience in the arctic was overwhelming with the sheer size of the land and how small one feels in such places. When travelling to these destinations one never knows what the weather will bring. Fast moving skies and troubled waters are calmed to create a sense of peace and simplicity within this Canadian landscape. Keeping a fixed wide view I wanted to give a sense of openness where the vast horizon is juxtaposed with the simple beauty of this region and our interaction within it.

Andrew Millar – Econoliths, Cyanotype Prints

Artist Statement

I endeavour to show people the world the way they’ve never seen it before by using different perspectives and media. Most of my work is rooted in the abstract but with real connect to the world we live in. I divide my work into series based around a common concept, idea or theme which can cross from one media to another.

Steve Speer – Rural Landscapes From 4×5 Film 

Artist Statement – Photography as a Recollective Device

I photograph as a therapeutic necessity. Growing up in rural northern Ontario, nature was right outside my door so I naturally gravitated to landscape photography. My early work explored dark forest landscapes shooting Kodachrome 25 which was a notoriously slow ISO film. My handheld images were often blurry so I started working with a tripod fairly early on. This served a couple of purposes. Most importantly, my images were no longer blurry but the secondary benefit was that I could really study my images in the viewfinder and I wound up spending more time “in the moment” engaged with my compositions. This process was reinforced when I started shooting large format (4×5 and 8×10) film in the early 1980’s and even though I now have adopted a digital workflow, I still prefer to use a tripod and the slow methodology that is associated with this style of shooting.

In determining the content for this show, I have decided to revisit my 4×5 film negative library which contains images dating back to the early and mid 1980’s. The images on display are important to me in that they focus on a time when I was finding my photographic vision. When working with the individual images I have chosen for this show, I am transported back to the moment the images were captured and I can recall the experience with intimate detail. I can remember clearly the temperature, sounds and smells and the remarkable moment of experiencing the landscape through my lens(s). And this is what I love most about photography; is its service to recollection. When you experience a moment worthy of notice, it sticks with you in mind but over time the memory can begin to fade as it is clouded by more current memories. Photography brings back memories with complete intimacy and detail.

I have been shooting with enthusiasm since purchasing my first camera in the early 1970’s and have integrated photography into my lifestyle over the past 50 years. Although the technical aspects of the craft have changed dramatically in recent years, the process has not and this is something I am grateful for. When out shooting my process is the same as it was in the early 1970’s and I feel fortunate to be on this path of perpetual gratification.

– Steve Speer

Author:

Ryley graduated in 2018 from the U of C, with a bachelor in Sociology. With a strong love for writing, and having dabbled in photography, she wanted to take her curious mind and put it towards a more fun and creative future. In her spare time, Ryley finds herself camping, skiing, and fishing. She also loves craft beer and interesting food, ideally together.