CIRCA 1983 - A Sense Of Reflection
Landscape photography evokes a sense of reflection in us; A reminder that the beauty we live in is to be adored and admired, never taken for granted. Whistler-based photographer, Owen Perry, has done just this. Both his photos and his words have left us nothing short of inspired.
Q. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Not to be too frank; Why do you take photos?
Taking photos is fun. If you’re not taking photos, you should try it sometime.
Seriously though, using a real camera and editing software is a creative challenge, and the more you practice the better you become at expressing yourself with it. We all have an innate human desire to express and communicate with the world around us, whether that be through words, music, or art. Photography is my own personal way of feeding that desire for expression and communication with others.
Q. What does it mean to you to pursue capturing the world on film? Do you take photos more for yourself—or for others?
Both for myself and others. A good photograph has a unique ability to trigger the imagination and transport your mind to another place. It can tell your story but also inspire others to make-up their own. It’s a privilege to do that for people.
More personally, I’ve found that popular digital photography (500px, Flickr) aims at technical perfection. People toil in the pursuit of taking the sharpest, most colour-accurate or greatest dynamic range (HDR) photograph possible. It’s like the American Idol of photography, and if I’m being honest I find it a little uninspired.
I’m trying to create the style of photography I love to see, which is something closer to film than digital. It’s sometimes - but not always - grainy, discoloured, and under/over exposed. It’s never ‘perfect’ in the technical sense of the word. There’s no hard or fast rules to this style, but there is a fine line. Too much impurity, grain or discolouration and your photos can look messy, possibly never letting them fully connect with people. If you get it just right, though, it paints a unique interpretation of the world we live in. Those types of photos can strike a powerful chord with people.
Q. What do you hope your viewers take away from your work?
My work involves a lot of nature, so there’s certainly an altruistic hope that people get outside to explore more and learn to love and respect our planet. Until we discover some sort of interstellar or cross-dimensional form of travel, Earth is all we really have. Cities, technology and popular culture have left us ignorant that - myself included. We continue to allow huge multinational corporations to exploit it to their liking without considering the future generations or what we need to survive as a species.
Rachel Carson said “The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.” I want to draw peoples' attention to the wonder and reality of our universe, so that we have less desire to destroy it.
Q. Being very biased, your BC Wilderness collection speaks to us. Has living in the heart of the Pacific Northwest molded you as a photographer?
Unquestionable. The west coast is where I first started taking photography seriously, which was itself brought-on by my fascination with the beauty of this place. The mountains, trees and rivers have such a raw and untouched quality to them. Honestly, it makes it pretty difficult to take a bad photograph.
Q. Each shot seems to lay itself out perfectly; When you are out shooting—how much of it is instinctual versus planned?
I suppose a bit of both. I like to plan trips to places or put myself in situations where I know I’ll have opportunities to take photos, but once I’m there it’s more instinctual. Being flexible with your surroundings and the moment is key. While a portfolio-worthy landscape shot will usually involve a great deal of time observing the lighting, dialing in settings, and then positioning yourself and the tripod correctly before taking the photo, other shots happen out of a reaction to a feeling. A few seconds here or there and you can lose that moment forever. But if you nail it, you often capture something truly unique and authentic.
Q. The most memorable collection/photograph you've taken? What made it so?
The Great Bear Rainforest sets are my personal favourites. There’s a shot in the forest on Goose Island that I really love. That place was like nothing I’ve ever experienced - like a scene out of avatar. I hope to get that one printed soon.
Q. Some projects or ideas for the future? Travel destinations?
I have a few trips in the planning, including one back to The Great Bear Rainforest one day, but you’ll have to follow along to find out what they are ;-)