Coast photographer’s work celebrated at home and abroad

Halfmoon Bay photographic artist Elaine Hunter is attracting both international attention and renewed recognition here at home, with a show at Gibsons Public Art Gallery next year and at the Earth Art exhibit at the Sechelt Arts Festival next month. 

Her work will be on display as a finalist at the Pollux Awards, showing in Barcelona in October, following displays at Manhattan galleries earlier this year, and currently at the Art 4 Life exhibition at the Port Moody Arts Centre. 

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Meanwhile, Hunter’s Sunset Mystery has been chosen as one of the original local artworks offered in the Sechelt Hospital Foundation’s Art of Healing fundraiser – if you’re among the lucky few who buy a $500 Collector Ticket, of which only 36 are available. 

Not a bad run for a former dance school operator whose serious interest in photography began just 15 years ago. 

“I’m self taught, after thousands and thousands of hours,” said Hunter, who moved from the U.K. to Canada in 1968, and then to the Sunshine Coast in 2006. 

For nature-lover Hunter, the photographic opportunities abound here. 

“I’ve always been very observant in nature,” she said in an interview. “I might stop because I see something in a ditch that nobody would ever notice and take a picture of it and create something beautiful.” 

For Hunter, capturing the photo is only the first step. The excitement of the artistic task for her is then to digitally transfigure that raw photographic image. 

“I have maybe 13 or 14 different kinds of software that I use. It’s hit and miss. You just see what it does to your work. I’ve got certain recipes that I now know really work for what I’m doing,” she said. “Lately, my work is more on track with what people are looking for. And I’m getting higher results in competitions, out of thousands of photographers.” 

Much of her recent success has come with processed images of one of her favourite subjects: a craggy old tree in Sechelt. “There’s one tree down there in Snickett Park that I just love,” Hunter said. “It’s so gnarly and out there. There’s energy to it, even though we think of it as dead.” 

Hunter is not resting on her growing laurels. 

“The secret is just working hard, never thinking, ‘Oh, now I’m good, now I can do it.’ I’m always looking for the next thing. Every time I find some new software that can do something different, then I’ll even go back to old images and create something amazing.”

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