John Reeve - bio
I was an 11 year old boy growing up in suburban Toronto when I bought my first camera. It was a Kodak Instamatic. I got it in anticipation of a family vacation to Expo 67 in Montreal. I remember paying $20 at Woolco, a princely sum in those days, at least for a kid whose weekly allowance was 25 cents. I quickly discovered I had an affinity for picture making and, right from the start, I was inclined to try to produce aesthetically pleasing images rather than just take documentary snapshots.
Much as I enjoyed photography, it wasn’t until my university years that I upgraded to more serious equipment. The Instamatic just didn’t cut it during a summer spent working on the Keewatin tundra with the Geological Survey of Canada and I coveted the Canon SLR of a fellow crew member. So before my next season with the GSC on Baffin Island I bought my first 35mm SLR, a used Pentax Spotmatic II. Fully featured for its day but devoid of any of the automation of today’s cameras … it even required stop-down metering ... it proved a superb tool for honing the craft of photography and served me well for many years, carrying me into the realm of an advanced amateur.
My career as an analytical geochemist took me to various other parts of the country, initially basing me in Ottawa and seasonally in the Campbellton area of northern New Brunswick before I transferred to Whitehorse in 1982. I immediately fell in love with the Yukon and I have made it my home ever since, fortunately being able to remain even when my career opportunities here dwindled and eventually evaporated.
Joining the Whitehorse Photography Club shortly after my arrival in town was a great boon to my photographic skills and artistry. It was a dynamic organization in those days with rich cross-fertilization of knowledge, ideas and techniques amongst the many members and it provided inspiration, encouragement and critical guidance. We organized numerous workshops, bringing in pre-eminent photographers including Courtney Milne, Freeman Patterson, Darwin Wiggett and Maria Zorn. (I apologize to the many others I have left out, but these are a few who particularly influenced and inspired my own work.) My photography blossomed to a creative climax in the 1980’s with all this stimulation and education. Declining participation and volunteer burnout in the 1990's reduced the club's activity level to that of a small social group but a push to revitalize in 2008 has returned it to a semblance of its former dynamism. We have full meeting agendas including guest presenters/instructors and we have resurrected the annual major workshops, starting with Daryl Benson followed by Andre Gallant. The return of Darwin Wiggett along with Samantha Chrysanthou is scheduled for September 2012. My photography again is benefiting from this avenue of stimulation and I remain a dedicated executive member of the club.
Since the mid-1990's I have made my home in a remote location just outside Whitehorse where the Yukon wilderness literally stretches from my doorstep, yet I am serviced with the “necessities” of modern life including high speed internet to help keep me in sync with the (un?)real world. My life is a mix of back-to-basics simplicity and electronic complexity, including such activities as gardening, woodcutting, hiking, snowshoeing, camping, motorcycling and, of course, photography as well as exploration of this huge digital universe accessed through the computer.
Upon the arrival of the new millennium I started dabbling in digital image editing, using a film scanner to digitize my 35mm slides, and I gradually advanced my skills in Photoshop and associated software (along with my general computer knowledge) without any real formal training. But my photography had fallen into somewhat of a prolonged slump, overshadowed by other life priorities, suffering from a shortage of motivational influences and outlets to show my work, and discouraged by recurrent film processing issues. I had accumulated a collection of Pentax 35mm equipment over the years and my overstuffed camera bag and complex equipment operation had become a burden.
In 2004 I bought my first digital camera, an advanced compact Konica Minolta Dimage A2. I didn’t intend this to replace my 35mm SLR’s but the simplicity of a flexible all-in-one solution was freeing and I started to really enjoy taking pictures again. The instant feedback of digital, the ease of transferring photos to the computer and the malleability of RAW image files were addictive and I haven't shot a roll of film since. Burgeoning online resources provide a deep pool of photographic inspiration and information, this website gives me an outlet for which I am motivated to keep striving to produce great images, and now the rejuvenated Whitehorse Photography Club reinforces those inputs and motivations. Having upgraded to DSLR equipment with multiple lenses and accessories, I am physically weighed down again and complexity has returned. But rather than feeling burdened by it, I am excited by the creative possibilities. Photography still is able to tickle my senses and stir my soul.
Bringing in Firewood
Departing “Gill Hotel”, Aug 2006
Preparing to depart from my cousins’ get-away property at Mara Lake in the North Okanagan.
Photo Taken by Victor Gill
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