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Capturing the night

Night Lights exhibit to feature images from after sundown

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Mountain photography is nice and all, but Arne Gutmann was itching to curate a show with the kind of images Whistlerites don't typically see here.

For Night Lights, running at Scotia Creek gallery in Millennium Place from April 1 – 26, the local artist and alt-photographer narrowed down myriad possibilities to the style of photography he likes best: night shots.

"I love night photography, nighttime street photography," he says. "I love the grittiness. It's kind of what black and white (photography) does: strips it down to the basic essence of what the photo is."

Part of the major appeal is also what a "super huge" challenge it is to shoot without natural light. "If you're not using a tripod you're at the whims of nature to get one that's composed," Gutmann adds. "If there's any movement and it's not tripod-mounted you're throwing caution to the wind. I always find it really challenging."

For this show, he set out looking for photographers who had mastered the style and found six of them in Vancouver. By focusing on talent from beyond the Sea to Sky, he hoped to avoid mountain sports shots and, instead, focus on new subjects. The resulting images, which have been trickling into his inbox, vary from transportation themed to candid street shots and architecture images.

"With all the different artists everybody specializes in a different aspect of night," he says. "Me, I'm just everything because I love everything."

Some pictures in the exhibit: a couple groping outside a barred-up storefront, a tiny smart car driving down a rain-slicked street and Gutmann's own more abstract offering. "Mine is the boring one in comparison when you see the picture of the guy grabbing the girl's butt," he says with a laugh. "There are some really, really striking images."

Each photographer — including Emily Luxford, Yuri Demenok, Dindo Morimoto, Alfons Saurez, Derik Roberts, Desmond Barrow and Gutmann — will have three or four pieces featured in the show with work printed on vinyl sticker paper and available for purchase at an affordable price, between $50 and $100, Gutmann says.

"That's another thing that hinders people in Whistler from buying art," he says. "Everyone wants to buy a piece of art, but when you see it's $650..."

The opening reception for the exhibit falls on Gutmann's birthday, so to add to the fun he's asking everyone to wear black (to fit with the night theme) to the celebration. "It's my third show in Whistler I've curated on my birthday," he says. "It's fun. Show openings are fun and birthday parties are supposed to be fun."

Curating this show has also been a bit of a gift, especially compared to his last exhibit, which featured bulky wine boxes shipped from around North America. "I said, 'Just send me your files, that way I can print them on the same material with the same borders,'" he says. "Photographers are always so challenged with hanging. If someone wants to take care of it, it doesn't get much easier than that."

Check out the results April 1 at Scotia Creek starting at 7:30 p.m.

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