Christopher Byrd, Peachland, BC Member Since January 2008 Artist Statement About the Photographic Artist
Christopher Byrd has been involved in photography for many years. As a secondary school teacher of English in Montreal for 30 years he also taught students in photography, cinematography, and graphic design.
It was during these formative years he first experimented with solarization, high contrast, and other dark room techniques of silver bromide photography. His sense of design and experimentation was further stimulated during his research for a Masters degree in Communications at McGill University. Part of his thesis was an experimental poetic film entitled Primal Path an allegory of life’s initial steps from darkness into light, winter into spring, which included the birth of his youngest daughter.
The advent of digital photography has enabled Christopher to free himself from some of the constraints of standard photography. He is less concerned with the technical aspects than with capturing the image at the right moment often manipulating the results on the computer to express themes of a poetic nature. Though some may view this as photographically unethical he thinks of it in terms of artistic creativity. Textures, patterns, rhythms, moods, and the play of light and colour fascinate him.
Rather than spend time setting up for a single shot he is more likely to shoot a lot of shots rapidly in an attempt to capture the perfect moment. He is not a technical perfectionist – he allows the camera to do the work for him while he searches out the subject. An important role in this has been his use of the optical zoom which allows him to select subjects at a distance and bring them under closer scrutiny. His earlier work was deliberately confined to the use of a mid-range point and shoot camera with a high optical zoom (10X or 18X) ratio. Always the subject matter transcended the technical.
For the past two years, however, his main camera has been a Nikon D300 DSLR with 16-85 mm and 70-300 mm Nikkor VR lenses. He has given into the DSLR simply because of the better quality lenses and the ability to shoot multiple exposures at a very fast speed. The latter is useful for action shots and for HDR (High Dynamic Range) work in which he’s becoming increasingly involved. He tries to keep his HDR images as natural as possible to avoid the artificiality of extreme HDR. He’s mainly interested in capturing the wide range of tonalities impossible with a single exposure.
Christopher’s retirement years enable him to travel, walk the woods, and search out those unique and sometimes very simple moments that give him, and hopefully others, a lot of pleasure. He relocated from Montreal to Peachland, BC, in 1999.
Christopher has had exhibitions at the Peachland Little Schoolhouse, Ogopogo Arts Festival, the Westside Art “A” Fair, Peachland Gallery, and the Lake Country ArtWalk in Winfield.
All images that he prints and mounts himself are printed with archival pigment ink on premium lustre paper mounted on museum quality mat board in an acid free environment. Lately he has taken to printing on canvas (giclee) particularly his abstracts wrapping them around on frames.
The entire collection of Christopher's world wide adventures can also be found at www.flickr.com/christopherbyrd