A celebration of South Cariboo photographers and the natural world is taking place at Parkside Gallery this month with the Shades of Nature exhibit.
The exhibit, featuring the photography of Melonie Eva, Donna Marshall, Katherine Stocks, Monika Paterson and Sonja Olsen, contains over 100 pictures of animals, the natural landscape and more. The show came about in 2019 when Eva wanted to showcase the works of her fellow Cariboo photographers.
She invited 36 photographers from around the area. “It was well-received, but unfortunately COVID-19 hit so we had to delay everything by a year and with that delay, we went from eight people participating to five,” she said.
Despite fewer photographers, Eva’s vision remains unchanged. Shades of Nature is meant to show various aspects of nature from people’s impact on nature, to the textures and colours of nature and its inhabitants. The exhibit was inspired by the COVID-19 lockdowns last year that led to less pollution and the return of animals to cities and waterways.
Each photograph includes details such as camera settings, the endangered status of the animal and the price. Unlike most shows, Eva said gallery attendees can buy art right off the wall and take them home as they will be rotating in more than 154 different photographs throughout the month.
Many of the photos are from workshops Eva hosted for her fellow photographers and include pictures from Africa, India, Madagascar, Alaska and Canada-wide. The photographers used various creative techniques, including the use of black and white, one of Eva’s personal favourites.
“Colour is the makeup and if we take away the makeup, the clothes and the exterior we get to see the soul,” she said.
Marshal and Paterson, meanwhile, offer a bit of abstract photography and enjoy trying to bring different elements into their work, Eva said. Olsen, new to fine art photography, has already demonstrated a wonderful eye, Eva added, while much of Stock’s work, meanwhile, comes from the local area including some “remarkable aerials” of the Wells Gray waterfalls she took from a helicopter.
“All the photographers, their work has come so far, and they should really get their work out there and start selling it because they’re that good,” Eva said.
Eva said the show not only showcases her students’ and colleagues’ work, but pushed them out of their comfort zone to try new things. She’s watched their artistic style develop over the last few years and seen many of them take their photography to the next level, so she wanted that to shine through.
Over Zoom meetings, Eva walked her fellow photographers through the basics of putting on a show, from budgeting to marketing and how to best print photographs. Part of her passion for helping other photographers grow stems from her own mentorship by landscape photographer Carol Polich, who helped her break into the world of professional photography.
Shades of Nature runs from April 9 to May 8 at Parkside Art Gallery.