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Between Trail & Sky by Richard Soltice

posted Jan 3, 2017, 1:21 PM by Executive Director
We warmly invite you to visit the amazing all new exhibit:
 
Between Trail & Sky by Richard Philip Soltice

This solo exhibit presents large scale black & white photos featuring the local Greater Trail area and its beauty both grand and fine. Get lost in the majesty and awe of your very own homelands captured by a visionary local Photographer, Richard Philip Soltice.

"My father, Frank, gave me my first camera when I was about 14 and enrolled in a high school photography course. It was of course a film camera, a Zeiss Ikon Contaflex, an excellent, single lens reflex 35 mm camera of German design and manufacture. My new (old) camera was the envy of classmates and even the instructor, the local town professional, looked at it with admiration and approval. At that point in my life I had traveled the American southwest and Mexico extensively with my family, with my father in the background recording our adventures with that superb camera and Kodachrome film. The world no longer has Kodachrome but I still have that camera…sort of.

I lost the original camera in a move more than 25 years ago, but as fate would have it, a few years ago a friend handed me an exact replacement, right down to the brown leather case that it was wrapped in. She said simply, “I thought you might know what this is and appreciate it”. I was stunned, and explained the significance to her.


I tell that story to illustrate how life can be full of loss and gain, and unexpected twists and turns and how it is best lived by flowing with whatever comes our way. Not long after losing the camera, I gave up photography and pursued opportunities in my paying career. Inexplicably, however, while I moved around B.C. I dragged with me all of my really good darkroom equipment and boxes of negatives from my previous life as a photographer.  Perhaps it was because I felt deep down inside that something was missing from my life, and coming home at the end of every day unfulfilled but exhausted brought that feeling into focus. I had nothing tangible in my hands that attested to the effort that I put forth at work every day, and perhaps I had stopped interpreting the world around me on my own terms.  I think we all share some of that feeling, where in this modern busy world we do much but create so little.

Art is interpretive and creative and it is our touchstone to how we feel but cannot adequately express in words or deeds. It is also the link that can connect others to what we feel, what we see with our own vision, and what we think.

In my mid-20s I developed a keen appreciation of the natural world and I became a committed environmentalist – at least to the extent allowed by a life in mainstream, modern North America, which can mean much believing but too little doing. As my awareness of all the environmental ills grew so too did my sense that I could express how I felt about the natural world with more than just lofty words. So I picked up my camera again and began interpreting this glorious worl , translating my respect and understanding through the language of black and white images. Black and white photography is, by its very nature, interpretive, and it relies on the most fundamental visual aspects of light, form, tone, and contrast to convey a message. It is both simple and incredibly complex and it forces the viewer to abandon the paradigm of a world of colours, and embrace instead its simple structures, its basic components and its most fundamental elements.

This is my first exhibit of prints taken on a digital camera and represents a bold and frightening departure for me. Never before have I had the degree of control over an image that I enjoy in the world of digital processing. While I strive to confine what I do with an image on a computer to what I could do in the darkroom, I am fascinated and excited by the precision with which I can exercise control to bring forth the image that I have pre-visualized at the moment the shutter was tripped. But I always printed my own images in my own darkroom, keeping that journey from vision to reality uninterrupted and in my own hands. For this exhibit I had to trust someone else to print for me, and that was a frightening prospect. I am, however, both very pleased and relieved to have found someone who was up to the task, willing to consult, listen and then bring to life someone else’s vision. For that I would like to thank Derrick Bruce of Nelson Fine Art Printing, without whom this exhibit would not have been possible.   

 

As I am grateful that I found Derrick, I am grateful that I found photography again. It serves a purpose and fills a void. Art is evocative – it is supposed to make us think and feel – and with the enormous environmental problems bearing down on our world, and us, we need as much thinking and feeling as we can muster. At the moment that I choose to record an image, I feel something for the subject matter -  some connection, some understanding – and I am moved. More importantly, however, I continue to think and feel and I am reminded every time I look at my work of where we are and how much further we need to go to understand our place in this precious, fragile world."

 Richard Philip Soltice

November, 2016

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