Contemporary photographer Elaine Hunter of Halfmoon Bay is not precisely sure why her career has rocketed lately. Critics are calling her a leader in her art, but she shrugs modestly and is delighted, not so much for the money or fame, but because taking photographs of nature is her bliss.
"A lot of my work comes from my own garden," she said.
Using her Nikon and its software she plays with and creates an art piece from the original photo by using various techniques. Sometimes the images are close to the original; others reveal a new dimension. They are otherworldly, as her work has been described.
Her images are being sought after by such corporate clients as American Airlines, which has placed her prints in the first-class Admiral lounge at JFK Airport in New York. Visitors to the lounge will see a digitally enhanced view of Vancouver's North Shore mountains, a forest in winter and drops of dew sliding from a twig.
At the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto this year, 300 renovated rooms have been decorated with Hunter's images, titled Rain Pine and Pinedrop.
"I'm excited by nature. I step into it - always have done, even as a child," she said.
She recalls as a girl seeing a wild flower on the other side of a barbed wire fence and climbing that fence in her eagerness. She's still doing dangerous things to get just the right shot, for example, standing on slippery rocks in the ocean to capture the peaceful feeling of a sunset.
One such photo taken at Rockwater Resort will be on display in Victoria during the August long weekend for Celebrate B.C. week. Another image going to the Victoria exhibition is one of Bargain Bay under exquisite natural light, another Sunshine Coast scene.
"I want to uplift people," Hunter said. "You need to see nature; some people ignore it."
Hunter's New York agent has arranged for her to be part of a group exhibition, Elements of Expression, in that city in September, but the real coup is being one of the invited artists to an international contemporary show in Lisbon, Portugal, in October.
This prestigious show takes place every second year and has chosen only three artists for their special feature. Hunter is one of them.
At the Firehall Arts Centre Gallery in Vancouver last April, Hunter was also one of three emerging artists to be featured in a group show - she is considered emerging since her photographic career began later in her life, in 2003, and has grown with the advancement of digital photography.
In the past year, she has held shows in Powell River's Malaspina Arts Society gallery and at the Gibsons Public Art Gallery.
Not bad for someone whose early career was all about dance. She has not abandoned dance - Hunter operates and teaches at the Halfmoon Bay Performing Arts School. Her only regret is that her father is no longer alive to share in her success.
"He was always a supporter of my new work," she remembers.
Hunter writes a blog and shows her photos at www.elainehunterphotography.com.
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