Looking at Jasper through the lens
Jasperite Luuk Wijk didn’t plan on becoming a photographer. It just sort of happened.
Hungry for adventure, Wijk left his childhood home in Holland several years ago. Before rushing out the door and hopping on a plane, Wijk’s parents handed him a simple point and shoot camera and asked him to send them pictures of his travels.
Like any good son, Wijk agreed, but didn’t think much of it.
“I was never into photography and at first I didn’t really bring the camera out, but then it started growing on me more and I wanted to learn more about how the camera worked and more about photography,” Wijk said.
Using sites across Australia and the Rocky Mountains as his inspiration, Wijk honed his skills, taking dozens of photos wherever he went.
Now he’s displaying some of his favourite shots of Jasper National Park at the Jasper-Yellowhead Museum and Archives until Feb. 20. This is Wijk’s first exhibit.
“To see a room filled with my stuff is pretty cool. It turned out a lot better than I thought it would. I really surprised myself,” he said. “Going into this I set a limit that I would only display photos I’ve taken during my two years in Jasper and it would only be photos I’ve taken in the park boundaries.”
The result was 17 photos capturing some of Jasper’s classic scenery including calm photos of Patricia Lake and Lake Annette to mountain peaks along the Icefields Parkway.
“It was difficult to pick. I went through a lot of my photos with friends and I chose to go with photos that aren’t simple landscapes,” Wijk said. “The element of weather is important to me so I’ll look for cloud formations or foggy conditions. I’ve included shots from all seasons, morning and night.”
The museum reached out to Wijk last summer after some of its staff saw a few of Wijk’s photographs on display at the Jasper Artists Guild (JAG) gallery at the Jasper Library and Cultural Centre.
“I joined the guild last year and it’s been really eye-opening for me. Taking a photo is one thing, but then I learned how to translate that into a print and then sell it as a product,” Wijk said. “I’ve learned a lot so an exhibit just seemed like the next step for me.”
Like any photographer, Wijk hopes his first exhibit is well received, but for him photography is about a lot more than selling a few prints.
“If I sell something, that’s nice, but I’m not going to make a living through this. For me this is just a great way of showing my appreciation for the park in a way that I never thought I’d be able to do,” he said. “The photography itself is not the motivating factor of going to these places. I like being adventurous and being out in nature.
“Photography is just a great way to share my experiences.”
Wijk will be hosting an artist’s reception at the museum on Jan. 29 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. A cash bar and homemade snacks will also be on hand.