Two Hay River photographers have made a move to the territorial capital – at least their work has for the next two weeks.
Jared Monkman, who specializes in portraits, and Adam Hill, who prefers landscape photography, are having their work showcased at Chasing Light Studio and Gallery in Yellowknife, in an exhibit fittingly called ‘Faces & Places’.
An open house was held on May 18 and drew over 50 people.
“We’ve both put on shows here in town, but this will be the first time where there is potential to reach a lot of people. So for me, it’s a novel experience,” said Monkman, “I’m pretty excited about the show. I’ve been a lot more nervous about photography-related jobs in the past, but this ranks up there.”
According to Monkman, the two photographers have such different styles that they never felt they were in competition in the relatively small market of Hay River.
“Adam and I both focus on completely different kinds of photography; he landscapes and nature, myself portraits,” Monkman said, adding they had been considering joining forces to do a show for some time.
“I got into photography a couple years ago after I bought my first DSLR (camera),” he said. “I didn’t know anything about it, but was determined to learn. After a couple months or so of shooting bad photographs, it was Adam that pointed out that I was strongest as a portrait photographer. This pointed me in my current direction, and I haven’t looked back.”
Although Hill has more experience under his belt, having gotten into photography about a decade ago, he certainly isn’t blasé about the Yellowknife event.
“I’ve had a number of exhibitions in art galleries now over the past 10 years, but each one is fun and can lead to so much more,” he said. “It’s all about exposure, sorry about the pun.”
Hill said the show in Yellowknife is a good opportunity for photographers from Hay River and the capital to come together.
“We all have a pretty tight group online and this could be a great way to see everyone,” he said. “Maybe this could be a gallery for more photographers (in the territory).”
Tara Marchiori, co-owner of Chasing Light Studio and Gallery, said she has been keen to offer Hill and Monkman a chance to showcase their work in Yellowknife for some time. The gallery opened last September and the Hay River photographers are the first two artists to be featured there, apart from the gallery’s other owner, photographer Dave Brosha.
“I think they’ll be an interesting combination,” she said. “They shoot such different things in different styles. It’ll be great to see their work together in one place like this.”
As to why the gallery picked photographers from outside Yellowknife for the first out-of-house event, Marchiori said that, while Hill and Monkman are certainly active in the arts scene in the territory as a whole, people in the city don’t really get to see much of their work.
“There was something to the fact that they were from Hay River,” she said. “But mostly we just really love their work.”
Chasing Light’s mission is to raise the profile of photography as an art form in the NWT. Although Marchiori believes it would be an excellent destination for NWT Arts Council funding, she is proud the gallery is making its own way.
“Hopefully in the future we can showcase other photographers from around the North,” she said. “There’s a lot of talent here and we opened because there really wasn’t a gallery only for photography of the North in the North.”
— Sarah Ladik