Burns Lake resident Carla Lewis is helping showcase the best of the Lakes District to visitors through her photography, which is displayed at the Burns Lake Band’s Key-oh Lodge.
Lewis was hired to produce 50 three-by-four feet pictures of the Burns Lake area for the new 42-room lodge, which was recently inaugurated in Burns Lake.
Her photos can now be seen in every room of the hotel, instigating the curiosity of visitors to go out and explore what the town has to offer.
“So many people just pass through our town and don’t see the countryside that’s out there,” said Lewis. “I hope that people will look at my photos and think, ‘Oh, so this is Burns Lake,’ and not think that Burns Lake is just the highway that goes through town.”
“Maybe it will encourage people to stick around, check out the town and explore.”
Since the Burns Lake Band wanted to hire someone local to do this job, Lewis decided to pay it forward and also hire local businesses to do the printing and framing of her pictures. She chose Lakes District Printing and Stationery to print her photos and Process 4 circle arts Gallery for the framing.
Wayne Brown, owner of Process 4 circle arts Gallery, described her photographs as “brilliant.”
“I am really impressed with her composition, and her ability to capture light,” said Brown. “I was more than delighted to frame her work.”
“She’s got a very good eye and she’s willing to go out in all kinds of weather and time to capture the pictures,” he continued. “Capturing the Northern Lights in Burns Lake is not an easy chore.”
Being a member of Wet’suwet’en First Nation, Lewis feels it’s important not only to promote the Lakes District, but also her aboriginal culture. Her artwork reflects her unique perspective of the territory where she was born and raised.
“Photography for me has become about promoting the local area and trying to be a positive influence in the community, but also promoting my indigenous culture… promoting positive images of First Nations because a lot of times people just see the stereotypes, people just see the bad side of indigenous culture and they don’t see all the amazing things that are happening, so I try to capture that and get those images into the world.”
All of her pictures at Key-oh Lodge have plaques with the pictures’ names written in both English and Carrier (Wet’suwet’en dialect).
The talented photographer said she started taking photos when she was a teenager.
“When I was 16 and had a summer job, I saved up and bought my first camera… I have been shooting ever since.”
Gradually over the years, photography became more than a passion. Lewis started making money by shooting weddings and portraits. Later on she was hired to work on larger projects such as taking photographs for the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako to help promote the region. She’s also been shooting for the ‘Love Burns Lake’ website, which promotes local businesses.
“Since I’ve been doing it for so long, when I’m even just looking out into the world, I see things kind of through a frame and picture what that photograph might look like,” she said.
“Photography has always been about creating something that is artistic,” she added. “It’s just looking at things differently, and trying to find different angles and different perspectives.”
Her artwork also can be found at the Lakes Artisan Centre and on her website – www.yintah.com.