Wendy Kwan

My earliest art making experiences were with my Dad, drawing and painting at our kitchen table. Dad was a serious amateur painter and I tried everything he had in his magic art box. Nothing was off limits. Though I loved to play with the materials, drawing and painting never fascinated me. When I was 10 my parents gave me the gift of a Kodak Instamatic camera filled with black and white film - because it was cheaper than colour! I've never looked back. It's a good thing Dad liked to photograph too.

Since my earliest explorations I have walked a diverse path with photographic materials, from production of vivid colour travel slide shows to creation of video pieces for community television. Re-discovery of the black and white traditional darkroom became my way forward. The boldness, simplicity and elegance of the black and white visual language, coupled with the capacity to shape the precise nature of a print allow both the creative space and control I need to develop my work. Darkroom time is just like Dad's magic art box. The tactile and physical quality of film, water, chemistry and paper and the malleable relationship these materials share with the illusiveness of light continues to inspire me.  The possibilities remain infinite.

Only recently I have noted that my childhood photographs show the people in my life, photographed in their daily places of comfort and with things or others significant to them. It turns out the need to show relationships and create stories, or at least fragments of stories, have always been natural inclinations in my work.

Following many evolutions, I find myself returning to my childhood affinity to create stories. I want to express my stories in the photographic equivalent of the narrative - the collection. For every collection I construct unique and specific relationships between camera, lens, light, form and subject. Beauty is in the final expression of the print. Truth is always illusive. New stories reveal ideas and issues important to me - exploration of culture, of time and place, of people and things important to people.

Prior to my full time commitment to photography I completed a degree in Recreation Education, (BRE UBC 1982) and worked as a recreation therapist at the GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre in Vancouver BC. In 2002 I worked on my last project in therapeutic recreation and turned my complete attention to photography. Experience gained assisting my rehabilitation clients to set and achieve goals has once again become entirely relevant, as Russ and I share our commitment to photography with students in our Micro School, at Langara College, and with many Photo Clubs throughout the Vancouver area.

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"Just for Ian" from "Chasing Light Stranger and Beyond"

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"Sad" from "Hard of Housing"
"ephu" from "Ephemeron"