Castlegar welcomes Saltspring artist

Conversations With Nature – photographer Janet Dwyer

Janet Dwyer poses with 'Revelation

By Barb Sinclair

The June 7 opening of Kootenay Gallery’s current exhibition was well attended by art lovers and camera buffs alike. Janet Dwyer, of Saltspring Island, BC, is an artist with a fairly new concept of reproducing nature in art with her specialized imaging technique called scanography. We all wondered during the installation of this wonderfully, colourful show how she got these huge, crisp images.

After a warm and informative greeting to visitors from Executive Director Val Field, the floor was given over to Janet. Rather than execute a speech, or talk about her bio or education, she chose to field a question-and-answer time. We all wanted to know, ‘Just how on earth did you did this?’

Janet was very thankful for the opportunity to have her artwork exhibited here, and also quite emotional as the talk got underway – your show is your baby, and you are hanging all your insides out there to be viewed, scrutinized, and being made to explain just where you’re coming from.

“It’s not such a new technique,” said Janet, “maybe 15 years. It’s sort of like Xerox copying, in a way. You know, you just put things on your copier and use it as a tool to make images.”

It’s all digital work these days, and the scanner is just one of the items needed.

Continued Dwyer, “You just get your pieces and lay them down on the scanner (the lid is off completely) in the order you think you want your composition to look like… you can’t really see how it will look, so you have to lower the resolution. At this point I just want to see what my composition looks like,” she explained. “Some people say ‘why don’t you just have a big plate of glass suspended over your head, lay out your picture, then put the glass on the scanner and go?’ Something that most people don’t know is that there is a big dust problem with glass, and all that dust would be detailed in your scan.” In effect, you would be magnifying things you didn’t want in there, and at a higher resolution it really wouldn’t look the way you wanted it to look – especially if you had a thumbprint in there.

So, after you’ve got everything on the scanner the way you want, then you get help from photoshop to fine-tune the colour. Finally, you ‘up’ the resolution to get the clarity you’re going after, look again at the results and keep doing this until you’re satisfied.

You don’t need a big scanner for this, but you do need a big printer, like maybe 40” wide. Because of the size of the desired end result of the picture, it can take 12-15 minutes to produce, and sometime even longer.

Be sure to come and see this exhibit which runs until July 20, and enjoy its clarity, colour and content. The gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10 – 5 p.m.

You may also want to visit the website HYPERLINK “http://www.scannography.org” www.scannography.org to read more in-depth info on this method of imaging.

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