If you can’t visit the Shuswap, John Berger has a way for you to piece together a Shuswap experience from the comfort of home.
Capturing images of the region is a passion for Berger, the photographer/digital artist who runs the Westgate Art Gallery at the Westgate Public Market. There, prints of his colourful landscape work are available to purchase in a variety of options, including wood window frames, calendars and clocks.
One of his more recent offerings requires a bit of work by the buyer/recipient before it might be suitable to hang on a wall.
“One of our customers that came into our gallery had commented, ‘Wow, that would make a great puzzle,’ and I said, ‘Well yeah, why didn’t we think of that a couple of years ago!'” explained Berger. “Anyway, they do make great puzzles.”
Berger had several of his images of iconic Shuswap landscapes transformed into 1,000 piece puzzles.
“The last order I got online was a young lady that lives here who is sending it to her grandmother in Saskatchewan because she won’t be with them for Christmas this year,” said Berger.
“We’re promoting it as a good way for people that don’t live here but want to be here, to spend some time in the Shuswap.”
While Berger typically uses Shuswap businesses whenever possible, puzzles, he explained, are a very specialized industry.
“Especially at the volume level we do, so we use a company in Slovakia, believe it or not,” said Berger. “So they’re made in Europe, very good quality though…, the pieces are all very precise.”
Berger said he got into photography about 14 years ago, inspired by the Northern Lights and sunsets and sunrises he saw while working in the Northwest Territories.
“The environment here is absolutely beautiful and it really just evolved from there,” said Berger, who is also a woodworker and makes what he calls “Shuswap cabin furniture” to sell at the gallery.