By Paul McElroy
Almost everyone has a camera these days, usually on their phone and at the end of a selfie stick. And why not? Salt Spring is a perfect place to take photographs.
From June 13 to June 26 it will also become the perfect place to see photographs, the work of the finest photographers on the island who have come together to demonstrate just how exquisite the photographer’s art can be.
Forget your snaps of the kids on the beach or the cat being cute, and be inspired by Salt Spring’s first Photofest, a collaboration of the island’s two main photographic organizations, Salt Spring Photography Club and the Photosynthesis group, along with many other photographers on island.
The photo club has more than 100 members and is open to all levels from complete novice to internationally recognized professionals, while Photosynthesis is a smaller group of 20 well established photographers who show their work once a year.
But now the two groups have come together for a two-week photography extravaganza. They have invited all other island photographers to help them turn the island into one massive photo gallery and fill the empty wall spaces of more than 34 island cafés and exhibition spaces. The two largest collections will be in Ganges – at ArtSpring where Photosynthesis takes over much of the wall space and at Gallery 8 where some of the Salt Spring Photo Club’s 100 members will showcase their own superb photos.
Photofest has been neatly timed to coincide with the annual Tour des Îles festival, anticipating that the event will attract locals as well as visitors coming in from the other islands and beyond. There will also be a detailed brochure and map which marks all participating venues available from ArtSpring, Gallery 8 and the tourist info centre.
The festival officially begins on Thursday, June 13 with staggered opening receptions the following evening. Visitors are invited to start at ArtSpring (4:30 to 7 p.m.) and end up at Gallery 8 (5 to 8 p.m.) on June 14.
“We see this as an annual event, not a one-off,” said Salt Spring Photography Club and Photofest chair Pierre Mineau. “Eventually we’d love to extend it to all the southern Gulf Islands so people taking the Tour des Îles could see great photography on all the islands.”
Photosynthesis chair Alane Lalonde added, “We’re trying to get everyone involved in this. And if it encourages people or inspires them to get out there with their phones or whatever they have, that would be great.”