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Posted: March 27, 2015

In Focus brings five photographers to Centre 64

Opening in the Gallery at Centre 64 in Kimberley is an exhibition of photographs by five leading Kootenay-based photographers.

In Focus opens Tuesday, March 31, and runs to Saturday, April 25. It will feature the works of Paul Smith and Maurice Frits of Kimberley, Neal Panton and Janice Strong of Cranbrook, and Jim Lawrence of Kaslo.

Landscape, nature, and wildlife photographer Paul Smith started his photographic life in the Canmore region of Alberta, photographing mountains. His mountain poster series captures some of the most dramatic scenery in the Rockies. Until last year he had a gallery in the Platzl where prints of nature and landscapes around Kimberley were available. Smith’s pictures have graced the covers of Avenue West, Mountain Life, and Canadian Geographic magazines and been featured in Explore magazine and McLeans. His photographs have won first prize in the Banff Mountain Film Festival, in Canadian Geographic magazine, and in Canadian Parks & Wilderness Society competitions.

Maurice Frits is the publisher, design and layout artist, and main photographer for GO Kimberley magazine. His work in that magazine features people, places, and activities around Kimberley.

EPSON scanner imageFine art photographer Neal Panton of Cranbrook has a long and heady pedigree. His photography career started in the early ’80s in Hamilton, Ontario, and progressed through Peru and Bolivia to Ecuador where he lived for six years and taught photography at the Universidad de Quito. He has since worked as a Reuters photojournalist and his pictures have been published in 25 countries. He has had 12 solo shows in Peru, Ecuador, Philadelphia, Hamilton, Vancouver and elsewhere and his works have featured in 25 group shows around Europe and North & South America. His pictures, usually black & white, often depict small details of life, patterns and shapes that his camera explores.

For the In Focus exhibition Panton will display his latest series of images, Lifelines, a collection of images of hands (pictured here), about which he says, “In a world preoccupied with identification through passwords, pins, codes, number & letter series, we continue to be marginalized, reduced & dehumanized. Should we not be identified as individuals with friendships, family, work, play, creation, joy, wonder & loss? Our life arcs recorded so beautifully by our life lines.”

Popular local landscape and nature photographer Janice Strong is probably best known for her hiking guidebook, Mountain Footsteps, now in its third edition, featuring hikes in the Purcell and Rocky Mountains and the East Kootenay, all illustrated by her photographs and maps. Her photographs have appeared on several book covers, in corporate brochures, trade fair booths, and business cards and her landscape cards can be purchased in stores in the area. Fine Art enlargements of her landscapes are in private collections around the world.

Prints of Jim Lawrence’s wildlife photographs can be found in many homes around Kimberley since his work has been featured in several exhibitions in the Gallery at Centre 64. Lawrence lives in the Kootenay Lake area north of Kaslo and owns Kootenay Reflections Photography where his wildlife, birds, scenery and flower photographs are displayed online. Lawrence fell in love with nature when, at age 13, he spent two weeks on a trapline with a fur trapper. He started his photographic career with his mother’s Kodak box camera, printing in his elementary school darkroom. Since then he has travelled through Africa, working at a Kodak processing plant and studying the principles and practice of photography at the Institute of Technology in Durban, South Africa.

Lawrence tries to convey his feelings of wonder while he patiently composes images of wild animals, insects, birds, or flowers. Rather than lament the loss of wildlife habitat he strives to capture the mystery and magic of nature. “A humble field mouse can engender affection and admiration, a grizzly can instill awe and respect, a heron can evoke reverence for the inestimable beauty and mystery of nature,” he states on his website.

In 2012 a short documentary film, Eyes in the Forest; the Portraiture of Jim Lawrence, was made by Miriam Needoba. It has been screened in dozens of film festivals around the USA, Canada, and in India and Korea as well as around the Kootenays.

In Focus promises to be an exhibition of exceptional quality. The Opening Reception will be held in the Gallery at Centre 64 on Saturday afternoon, April 4, from 2 to 4 p.m. The gallery is open from 1 to 5 p.m. every Tuesday through Saturday and admission is free.

Centre 64


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