By Breanne Massey, Pioneer Staff


image004Marla Oliver is providing a snapshot of the Columbia Valleys history from a unique lens.

The 57-year-old Invermere resident is hosting a photography exhibition that explores the Lake Windermere area from 1908 to present day with the support of a Windermere District Historical Society sponsorship.

It was under their umbrella that we applied to the Columbia Basin Trust for funding to do this, said Marla, while opening up a flip panel that showcases a historical photo of Fort Point then opens up to an image of the valley in present time. These flip panels are the end result of the project.

The repeat photography exhibit will be displayed at Pynelogs Cultural Centre between Tuesday, April 28th and May 10th; at the Invermere Public Library from May 13th to June 13th; and at the Windermere Valley Museum after June 13th.

Repeat photography is a modern form of art that is rapidly gaining attention worldwide. It is an interdisciplinary approach that requires a photographer to collect archived images from surveyors and then shoot a current photograph in the same place to gain perspective on how an area has changed.

I think it connects people to history, said Marla. Im hoping it will draw people back in time when they look at the flip panels to see how the community has changed around them.

Her project has been titled Then and Now to highlight the differences of the Columbia Valley. It includes images of Windermere, Athalmer, Invermere and Wilmer. There will be 15 flip panels displayed at the exhibition; 30 shots in total along with a PowerPoint presentation.

These are actually mounted on plywood panels, Marla explained, but the idea is that (people) can get up close to the (images), flip them open and see how things have changed.

The interactive exhibition aims to get people talking about the changing horizon of the Columbia Valley.

It gives you an idea of how the landscape has changed and how the community has changed and it does it in a way thats visual. It doesnt make any judgement about whether the changes are good or bad, but (it) allows people to draw their own conclusions, so thats kind of nice.

In order to get the photography exhibition off the ground, Marla spent over a year applying for grants to cover the cost of the project, collecting archives from museums and revisiting every site with a camera in hand. She received a $2,270 Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) grant for community initiatives and a $4,000 Columbia Kootenay Cultural Allowance for heritage innovations a total of $6,270 to fund the project.

I took the first shot in September 2013, said Marla. But I didnt take another one for quite a while, until I got funding. Ive just been picking away at it and its taken me quite a while.

The biggest challenge of repeat photography, she added, has been the steady growth and development in the region.

It was tricky because you could find all of these cool historic shots, but you couldnt always take a repeat of them, Marla said. Id find this great shot, go out there, line it up and then there would be trees or buildings in the way. The whole view was kind of gone so it took a lot of time to traipse around and get the shots.

She is optimistic the community will benefit from looking back in the past and thinking about where it wants to go in the future. For more information, contact Pynelogs at 250-342-4423 or [email protected].