100 Mile House artist Leah Henderson will show her first body of work since returning home just over two years ago.
Her show, called Into the Light Body, features photographs of local women in nature and under natural lighting. Henderson spoke with the Free Press about her upcoming display at the Parkside Art Gallery, running from Sept. 14 to Oct. 13.
Question: Tell me about the pieces you’ve chosen to show.
Answer: I did photograph a whole new body of work over the past five-six months so just women that I’ve met in the area. And, I did photo shoots of them in the area, so anywhere from Bridge Lake to Lac la Hache and went out to Farwell Canyon for one, so just all throughout the area did photo shoots of them on the land.
Q: What do these women have in common, what drew you to them?
A: They’re women that I’ve met that I’ve connected with and that I thought would kind of fit into this idea like they have a connection to the land or I just connected with them. Usually, I get an idea in my head and I can picture what I want to create and then I may meet someone that could fit into that idea that I have in my head. So it was kind of organic. It was just people that I knew and I could see them fitting in with the vision that I had.
Q: What was your vision?
A: Well each one was different and it evolves over time when you have an art project … I mean that’s basically it, I just wanted to photograph women. I love doing portraits and then I also love photographing nature so I wanted to combine the two. Each one was different … I often try and go out in the evening light to get that nice golden light.
Q: Do you have a favourite piece?
A: I think I probably have a favourite from every photo shoot. They were each so unique, yeah, and it was really neat to see how people responded. I feel really strongly connected to this area so it was really neat to see how other women felt as well about the area.
Q: Why did you choose to focus on women?
A: Originally I hadn’t thought just women, but it just kind of worked out that way. And I kind of view the Earth as female, you know Mother Earth, so it kind of played into that a bit I guess.
Q: What do you hope people experience when they see your art?
A: Just inspiration and just a sense of feeling connected to the area we live in. It’s dependent on each photo shoot, but inspiration for sure. I know I feel inspired just by living here and by feeling connected so I think sometimes we don’t realize how beautiful it is. It took me leaving and coming back to appreciate the beauty of the area.
Q: How long were you gone for?
A: 16 years.
Q: What made you want to come back?
A: Well, I was going through a time of transition and in between things and I actually never thought I would move back here. I lived in Montreal for years and I thought I would always end up there but I just felt drawn to come back here and I wanted to live a simpler life again. I felt called back to my roots I guess, I don’t know.
Q: How might this show be different than other work you’ve done?
A: I think mainly in that it’s very special because it’s done here, where I grew up. Like anything you create it takes on the tone of where you are and then, for me, it takes on that whole tone of my childhood here and how I feel that connection, I guess. It’s a little scary to come back to a small town and be like, ‘Hello,’ but you know I really believe very strongly in creativity and so I think I just want to inspire people to do whatever they want to do too, creatively speaking.