Camosun alumni shine at Gallery 49 contemporary film photography show
Release Date: March 15, 2018
Looking out the windows a few minutes before opening time, Gallery 49 co-manager and Camosun alumna Katia Lubchenko was thrilled to see a long line up of people eager to attend the opening night of their new film photography exhibit.
“The response to the show has been outstanding,” she says. “There were so many people that were consistently getting squished together during the opening that they all had to come back during our gallery hours to actually look around at the photographs.”
The exhibit, “Does anyone shoot film anymore?” is a visually exciting celebration of film photography featuring the unique works of over 40 local artists.
The show’s success reflects the resurgence of film-based photography in the era of digital dominance. “Film is a special medium because of its physicality and intimacy,” says Lubchenko. “It captures a moment that will never be able to be altered or change. It makes the photography that much more special.”
Camosun alumnus and film show exhibitor Earle Thompson believes we’re experiencing a cultural moment that is best described as the revenge of the analogue. “It’s come full circle. Digital is now passe so to speak, and film is the new exciting thing,” he says. “With film, each shot is a unique expression and a snippet of perception. Each negative is an original—there’s only one.”
The spirit of originality underlines the passion of Victoria’s film shooting community. “I love photography more than anything and I find the spark of film really fascinating,” says Lubchenko, noting that she began shooting film as a teenager using her grandfather’s old Pentax Spotmatic. ”For me, it’s extremely cool to be able to share my passion with so many others who are just as excited and interested in the whole process as I am.”
Thompson credits Camosun’s educational focus on applied learning with helping to spur on Victoria’s creative communities. “The gallery is one example that what is being taught at the college is relevant and effective,” he says. “Victoria is a hub for the arts and Camosun is where people go to learn about the arts.” Four Camosun alumni and two current students have their work featured in the show, representing a very strong showing from the college community.
With over a hundred photographers submitting their work and over 1000 photographs to choose from, the selection process was daunting. “I never would’ve imagined the response that we got,” says Lubchenko. “The selection process was based on what we thought was visually appealing or interesting. There is a large range of types of photography in our show, and I think that’s what makes it so interesting.”
The show required that each image originated on film, emphasising the skills required for ‘in camera’ or ‘in darkroom’ photo alterations using optical techniques. This meant that photographers had to carefully consider their creative vision before they released the shutter. Photo collages or photograms created digitally from film-based images were permitted. Exhibitors used a wide range of film cameras, from vintage 35mm DLSRs to Polaroids to medium format devices and even the fun but technically limited ‘toy cameras’ of yesteryear.
Thompson believes that it’s the artist, not the tool that makes the image. “If you grow your ideas, and grow your artistic vision, then any tool will get the job done.” For his two successful entries he used both a restored 1950s medium format camera and a toy plastic camera inspired by the Lomography movement.
Thompson believes that there is a bright future for film photography. “We have right now the first generation of young people who haven’t grown up with their snapshots in family album and that makes them really curious about what film is all about.”
Camosun College is currently seeking nominations for their upcoming alumni awards. For more information, please visit the “Call for Nominations” online.
Does anyone shoot film anymore? runs until March 16. Gallery Fourty Nine (#49 – 560 Johnson Street in Market Square) is open on Friday, March 16, from 12-8pm for those who haven’t yet seen the show. The gallery is co-managed by Katia Lubchenko, Betsy Frost and Anthony Frattaroli.
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Last updated: March 15, 2018 4:44 pm