A photographic exhibition by photographer Mark Unrau at the Banff Public Library from October through November. Join Mark for the official opening on October 26th from 7-9pm. Mark will share his experience working on the award winning film – Shining Spirit, as well as share insights on his photographic process.
Mark Unrau’s photographs capture the stark beauty of daily life amongst a nomadic family living in a remote valley in Amdo, Tibet. These images were taken over the course of a month that Mark spent as part of a film/recording crew for the documentary, “Shining Spirit:The Musical Journey of Jamyang Yeshi,” which was a finalist at the Banff Mountain Film Festival in 2009.
On set for Theatre Encounters – Waiting for Godot. I brought in two 2400ws packs with a 6 foot box, 3 foot box and 4 heads. Enough power to cook a small chicken with and help keep a cast warm in the factory! I could light up a 15 foot area and still shoot at f22!
Every photograph tells a story. Some are strong and obvious and some, subtle. If the Photographer has made the image for commercial purposes or for news, then hopefully the story is obvious for the context in which it refers. If the Photographer is creating the image as fine art, then he has a lot more room to play with in terms of the content. The story may not be so obvious and takes a little investigation on the viewers part. Often with these kinds of images the story can evolve on a personal level and have a wide universal appeal. The viewer often puts the image together like a puzzle where the pieces have many different fits. As long as the image
This is an image of a herd of deer grazing in front of Mount Everest in Tibet on this small patch of grass. The deer seemed to have come from nowhere and it unfolded quite quickly in front of me. Compositionally speaking, I was at a bit of a cross roads. I could get a shot of the deer from the side which would show their faces or from the backside which included Everest in the background. There is always a bit of a compromise when it comes to framing your shot. We must always keep in mind what the important elements are in the photo. For this image, having a plethora of deer bums was worth it to have Everest included. Everest immediately places the shot, without it there wouldn’t be context to reinforce the rare moment that was before me. A herd of deer is not that spectacular in most instances, except for this moment when its near Mount Everest. It would be nice if they were all facing me all in unison with Everest but that was not the reality of the moment. I worked with what I felt was the best compromise.
This image was taken at Mile 7 along Skidegate Lake in Haida Gwaii. My dog Shadow was running around chasing sticks that I had to throw out of the frame in order for me to get this shot. Sometimes Shadow was a pain in the butt but I loved his company. I think often of Shadow when I take pictures. It’s part of the process, being able to work around distractions and distractive elements. Being a Photographer is only about 10% taking the picture and 90% on how to get the picture. Technical considerations will always be secondary and subject to the conditions you are working in. The most important thing to remember is to treat those distracting elements like a loving but careless dog like Shadow. Getting angry with your situation or dog will only impair your chance for success. You must act like a parent of circumstance and handle the situation with authority but grace.
Sometimes a photograph holds more meaning than can be seen at first glance. I took this shot back in 2007 and hadn’t paid much attention to it. Another photograph was chosen as my first pick so this one remained un flagged or colour coded. This morning I was grazing over photos looking for a fresh view on my material and stopped to have a closer look at this one showing above. It wasn’t until I looked a little deeper into the shadows that I realized the story present when I photographed it. I shot this on Punta Espinosa in the Galapagos Islands. As we all know, the Galapagos is the birth place of Charles Darwin’s crazy idea of Evolution. What I didn’t realize till now was that this little lizard looking out to sea has a bird as his shadow. The theory states that birds evolved from reptiles. It didn’t dawn on me until now that this little lizard was a reflection of that theory as he gazes out to sea. Otherwise a simple image, it has evolved into one that has a story. Photography started as a means to record reality. It wasn’t until Photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson propelled the idea of telling a story through the photograph. When we are looking for an scene to capture, we must not forget to look into the shadows as they hold as much visual weight as your subject. Sometimes this happens without us realizing it! And so evolution continues right under our noses.
Here is the latest in my series of forest pans on an epic scale. This image was taken by the Marble Canyon campground in Kootenay National Park in BC, Canada. The forest is regenerating from the 2003 fire which started by lightning. This image measures in at 24,000 pixels on the long side.
A Fall wind blew through Banff Alberta the last couple of days reminding us residents of the Bow Valley that summer is like a windstorm. It comes as fast as it goes, leaves you a bit unexpectedly and you are never quite sure if it really happened. On a similar note, this year we are seeing the new app for the iPhone which makes images look all low-fi appear everywhere on people’s websites and Facebook. This image is my homage to the low-fi windstorm blowing through the photo community. This image was taken on slide film with a Yellow/Blue polariser on a hot summer day in Penticton by the beach where people flock to catch the last efforts of summer here in Western Canada. I’m sweating already!