Photographers can submit their pictures for the first North West Photo Festival in Kitimat.

Photographers can submit their pictures for the first North West Photo Festival in Kitimat.

Photo festival attracting Northwest shutterbugs

Send your pictures to the first North West Photo Festival in Kitimat.

Why do you live here?

Save 1,000 words and send just one picture to the first North West Photo Festival in Kitimat.

Organizer Robin Roland says the theme is simple—one image that shows why you live in your part of northwest B.C.

“We’re starting small,” Rowland said, who retired to Kitimat after working as a photo editor for the CBC.

“But if it succeeds this year, we’d like to turn it into a major regional festival.”

All types of photography are welcome—portraits to abstracts, street to wildlife—and the entries will be shown Aug. 5 to 7 at the gallery above the Kitimat Museum and Archives.

On Saturday, Aug. 6, the festival will also host a day of workshops at the gallery.

Special guests include Andy Clark, a well-known photojournalist, and Paul Calangelo, an environment and wildlife photographer. Northwest photographers Doug Keech, Talon Gillis and Dwight Magee will give talks on shooting street photography, portraits, and avant-garde photos in a small town.

Kelly Marsh and Mike Stekelenbur from Kitimat Search and Rescue will join in with a Facing Your Fears in the Back Country workshop, and a wildlife observation expert from LNG Canada will give a talk on birds of the northwest.

Rowland said the festival has two big goals: promote local photographers and boost tourism.

“There’s a great amount of photography being done in the area, from Haida Gwaii to the Skeena and Bulkley Valleys, and Douglas Channel,” he said.

“But people don’t know about it.”

Rowland said he’s been surprised to see pro photographers who’ve flown here from New York, Chicago, or New Mexico—they’re talented, but so are many local people.

As an added bonus, Rowland said it would be great to give northwest photographers a chance to get to know each other.

“When I was in Toronto, most of my photographer friends could get together in a pub every couple of months,” he said.

“You can’t really do that in this area—we’re so spread out. The idea is to get people to know each other, and raise the skills.”

More information is available on the North West Photo Fest Facebook page, but anyone who enters can sell their prints at the exhibit, and the Kitimat Museum has 20 x 24 and 16 x 20 frames to lend. The deadline for entires is July 15, and the prints must arrive in Kitimat by Aug. 2.

All entrants are asked to donate 20 per cent of any sales to the museum as a thank-you.

“I know it’s difficult for people from Haida Gwaii to come over,” said Rowland. “But if they can make it I’m sure they’ll have a good time.”