Whyte Museum: Exposure Photography Festival - Where Canadian Rockies

Whyte Museum: Exposure Photography Festival
By Derrick Szuszkiel

The first weekend of February the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies unveiled this year’s Exposure Photography Festival exhibits. This was a great opportunity to check out some really amazing pieces of Canadian photography and take advantage of the many indoor activities in the Rockies.

On a spur of the moment I decided to bring a friend of mine along for the trip. She’s local, but like myself, she said she hadn’t been to the Whyte Museum before, or at least if she did go, she wasn’t really old enough to appreciate it.

Admission was $10, but because we were both from the area, we got $5 off. If you’re with AMA you can also get discounts at the museum. Not a bad deal for a couple hours of entertainment and a means to get out of the frigid cold.

Laura Millard’s Aspect

Lac Des Arc by Laura Millard, Provided by the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies

Lac Des Arc by Laura Millard, Provided by the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies

Our first stop was Laura Millard’s Aspect in the main gallery. The artist uses a snowmobile to trace patterns onto snowy lakes and then takes pictures from above with the help of a drone. The effect achieved here is quite impressive.

My friend was particularly fascinated with the perfect circles cut into the landscape. It really demonstrates the amount of control the artist must have over the snowmobile. Not to mention her being able to trace beautiful designs without being able to see the full effect until the drone can see it.

Inhospitably Ours  

Clutch by Philip Kanwischer, Provided by the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies

Clutch by Philip Kanwischer, Provided by the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies

The other half of the gallery is occupied by Inhospitably Ours by Philip Kanwischer. These wildlife photos have a very strange effect when you first look at them. Our first impressions where of disbelief. There was one with a man standing right next to two caribou lined up to face the camera. “How is that even possible he could get that close?” we wondered.

As we strolled along looking at more pictures it became abundantly clear that these are not singular photos, but combined images. My favourite image of the collection is called Mobius, which is a picture of foxes that are intertwined in an infinite loop.

Thirst for Wilderness

The last stop on our wander through the Whyte Museum was Thirst for Wilderness. This section features the work of three different photographers. The main subject these artists captured were images that revolve around the landscape in a tourist setting.

I found some to be a little comical, like a very business-like tourist walking the Athabasca glacier in dress shoes. My friend pointed out another amusing image of a man in socks and sandals feeing a mountain goat.

One in particular that stuck out was one on the glacier with a beat up, orange pilon marking a hazard on the ice. This had one of those nebulous impressions on me. I found the image to be very desolate and haunting, but in a way I can’t explain. It’s true that good art has the capacity to unnerve.

The level of talent these photographers displayed at this festival is nothing short of astounding. I myself have no skill for photography, but I certainly enjoyed looking at what these artists have to offer. Come to the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies to get a sample of artistry in the Rockies!

Check out these posts about other museums in the Canadian Rockies like the Canmore Museum and Geoscience Centre and the Buffalo Nations Museum.

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