Nelson outdoor photo exhibit reflects physically distanced life

Photographer Thomas Nowaczynski’s with one of his photos that shows an auto parts store with the sign, “We’re in this together. Be Kind.” Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Jake Sherman’s photo of a lone swimmer. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Portraits of a Pandemic will run at Lakeside Park until Oct.15. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Portraits in a Pandemic photo by Jake Sherman. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Louis Bockner’s photo of his neighbour and his neighbour’s daughter fishing on Kootenay Lake. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Portraits of a Pandemic will run at Lakeside Park until Oct.15. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Professional photographer Jake Sherman was shooting up to 2,000 photos a day throughout last winter and he was “getting really burned out on photography.”

Then the pandemic hit, he lost most of his jobs, and, “I ended up in my cabin alone in the woods with very little to do.”

He usually photographs people, but because of social distancing, masks, and lack of public events, his subject matter was limited.

So Sherman decided to slow down, and he restricted himself even further by taking only film (non-digital) photos in black and white.

“The question was, how do we have an art exhibit in the context of what’s going on in the world? How would we even do that, right? And how do we get this work seen?”

Answers can be found in Portraits of a Pandemic, an exhibit of physically distanced photos at Lakeside Park on the grass in front of the Rose Garden Cafe. The exhibit runs until Oct. 15, with photos by Sherman and local photographers Louis Bockner and Thomas Nowaczynski, all shot with film in black and white.

Bockner’s contributions stemmed from being in quarantine at his home in Argenta after travelling abroad. He says he has always wanted to document life in that remote rural community.

“So this spring, I really started documenting it more seriously,” Bockner told the Star, “with a medium format film camera, and developing my own film at home. And I think that process started to feel really right, it started to feel like I was getting images that I was really happy with for that project. And so the eight photos that I chose [for this exhibit], they all came out of that.”

Nowaczynski said that during the pandemic he got interested in signage. Only in a pandemic, he said, would an auto parts store install on its street sign the words, “We are all in this together. Be kind.”

“The word ‘heart’ just keeps coming up for me,” he says. “To me, this exhibit is about really seeing the heart of the community and the way that people have a heart for each other. I think that each of us has documented that in a different way.”

All three photographers remarked on how visitors to the park responded curiously and positively to their work as they installed it on Wednesday.

On Thursday the Star spoke with one such person viewing the finished exhibit in the rain.

“I just think this is amazing,” said Della Fenkner. “It’s beautiful. And what I love about it is that this is happening in the rain, and the raindrops are adding to the ambiance of each of the pictures. It’s wonderful.”

Bockner and Nowaczynski both credit Sherman for the existence of the exhibit.

“He has been the mover and shaker in all of this,” Nowaczynski says. “He came up with the idea. He pitched the idea to get funding, got a permit, co-ordinated with the printer.”

In turn, Sherman says about his two collaborators, “We work in such a competitive industry, particularly in small local markets like this, it can be so cutthroat and so competitive … I am so grateful to have these great peers and colleagues and that we have this great working friendship.”

Portraits of a Pandemic was funded by the Nelson and District Arts Council, Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism, and supported by Speedpro Signs.

Related: Why film photography is less work (and more rewarding) than digital



bill.metcalfe@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

NAV CANDA is considering closing its station at the West Kootenay Regional Airport. Photo: Betsy Kline
Nav Canada considering closing station at West Kootenay Regional Airport

The organization is conducting a service review at Castlegar’s airport

test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
Interior Health records third COVID-19 death

A new community outbreak was reported at Okanagan Men’s Centre in Lake Country

Internet service in the West Kootenay is improving thanks to provincial government grants. File photo
COVID-19 support program brings faster internet to rural communities

The province has provided grants to local internet providers

A daycare in Kaslo says it has been overlooked by a provincial grant to add more child-care spaces in B.C. File photo
Kaslo daycare’s expansion plans fail to meet funder’s test

Periwinkle Children’s Centre had hoped to get a provincial grant

First responders at a crash scene near Rossland on Thursday, Oct. 22. Photo: Trail RCMP
First snow in West Kootenay causes vehicle collisions

The Trail and Greater District RCMP’s weekly brief contains details on collisions

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never before seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

Most Read