Chris Harris’ new works are not paintings, but, man, do they look like it.
The locally renowned photographer’s new collection will be displayed at the Parkside Art Gallery in 100 Mile House from June 22 to July 21, and will show the public “something totally new.”
“My photography is changing dramatically,” said Harris, who has spent the past 30 years capturing documentary-style photos of his adventures in the Cariboo-Chilcotin region.
His previous collections, he said, were geared towards educating and generating a sense of place within the community. Through his work, he wanted people to understand this climate and value its beauty.
He published 13 books highlighting the area.
But he said his 13th book, British Columbia’s Cariboo Chilcotin Coast, A Photographer’s Journey, was his final book.
“Now, I’m photographing for myself.”
Harris described his new style as “highly expressionistic” and “abstract.”
When people experience the new works displayed in his home gallery, he said they often say, “I thought you were a photographer,” assuming what they are seeing are paintings.
Harris comes from an artistic family - his sister is a full-time professional painter - and said he secretly wanted to be a painter, but he couldn’t paint. “I could hardly draw a stick man.”
Instead, he said he is using his camera to create images that look like paintings.
He said he is evolving as an artist and is following his heart to see where art takes him. The new journey, he said, is the most exciting part.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited about photography,” he said. “It’s getting better as I get older.”
Parkside’s gallery coordinator Barb Brown said she sought out Harris for the display because she’s long been following his works.
“It’s about honouring a man’s life-long commitment to art,” she said.
Brown, who has been organizing and curating shows at the gallery for ten years, called Harris “a very, very fine photographer” and said his photos have taken her on a personal journey of appreciating artistic expression.
“It’s an honour for the gallery that Chris is willing to show here.”
Brown said she will be purchasing her first of his works from his new display.
Harris’ long-time partner, Rita Giesbrecht, was at the gallery on Tuesday, preparing his photos for display.
She said she and Harris have “an amazing life.”
“It’s an exciting life that we have as a working partnership,” she said. “We live our dream every day.”
Harris mirrored his partner’s comments, saying photography drives him to live “a very rich and rewarding life.”
He said he hopes people who see his Parkside display will see it for what it is and accept it.
“As an artist, we create our art in the hope that someone out there will resonate with it and appreciate it.”
On top of his Parkside display, Harris’ work can also be experienced “by appointment or by chance” at his home gallery in 105 Mile Ranch.
To arrange for a viewing call 250-791-6631 or email email@example.com.