Capturing small town life through a lens is the focus of VISAC Gallery’s new exhibition by Gary Drouin titled “A Trail of Street Photography.”
Inspired by press and documentary photography, the Castlegar-based shutterbug took his expert eye to the back alleys and streets of Trail and Rossland for his first local showing that features 30 mostly black and white images.
“I love to walk the streets with camera in hand,” said Drouin. “The sights and sounds are very inspiring and I discovered I was able to create art through street photography using the urban environment.”
The Windsor native and wife Heather Hurst are new to the area after packing up and moving west from Toronto last year to be closer to their son.
Since relocating, Drouin’s storytelling through snapshots continues to focus on urban landscapes and the juxtaposition between modern architectural features and general urban decay.
“Even though I’m surrounded with the natural beauty of the mountains I’m still drawn to the urban areas,” he said. “I do appreciate landscape and wildlife photography but it’s not an area that motivates me to capture.”
Street photography is an art form that strives to capture the life and culture of city streets focusing the viewer’s attention on the subject matter by eliminating the distraction of colour.
Likened to holding up a mirror to society, the captured images often concentrate on a single element caught at a decisive or poignant moment and can be a very literal portrayal of sometimes gritty subject matter.
“I’m attracted to light, shadows, lines and architecture,” explained Drouin. “Timing and anticipation provide the precise moment of exposure.
“I love both modern and historical buildings and cityscapes and when incorporated together, they are stunning.”
His earliest inspirations came from photo essays in Life and Look magazines and influenced Drouin’s minimalist approach to photography and preference to work in black and white.
After training in press photography at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York in the early ‘80s, Drouin’s career path evolved into film.
After producing a number of film documentaries, he worked in a motion picture film lab in Toronto for almost 30 years.
“I’ve been taking photographs since my teens but never used photography as a day-to-day job,” said the now retired executive. “But my image making has been pretty consistent through the years focusing on documenting streets and some portraiture,” he added.
“Moving to the Kootenays I’ve still been able to concentrate on street photography in the smaller city environments.
“And of course, if I need a big city fix, Vancouver is not far.”
Drouin’s exhibition opened Thursday and runs until June 18 at the VISAC in downtown Trail from Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and until 6 p.m. on Thursday.
Additionally, he is launching a self published photo book titled “Rossland/Trail Street Photographs” during his show with copies available at the gallery or online at Blurb Canada.
Admission is by donation.
For info call 364.1181 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.