A&E » Arts

Hanging with Blake Jorgenson

Emerging and professional photographers exhibit B.C. backcountry side by side



By Nicole Fitzgerald

What: Out of Bounds photo reception

When: Friday, Feb. 2, 6 p.m.

Where: MY Millennium Place

Admission: Free

It’s every amateur ski photographer’s dream; to share the same wall space at a photography exhibition with shutterbug legend Blake Jorgenson of Powder, Skier and Freeskier magazine fame.

Dream became reality when amateur photographer Andre Munck learned he as well as Jorgenson would be two of 14 photographers showcased at the Out of Bounds: Tales From the Backcountry exhibit and competition Feb. 1 to 28 at MY Millennium Place as part of Celebration 2010. The opening reception takes place Friday, Feb. 2 from 6 to 9 p.m. at MY Place.

“When I got the acceptance e-mail, I was like, ‘I got in?’” Munck recounts. “I am super excited about it.”

His shock was not false modesty, but rather disbelief that pictures taken on a two mega-pixel, point-and-shoot camera — bought secondhand for $50 at a swap meet — could be envisioned in the exhibition’s 11X16 sizing.

“I definitely don’t call myself a pro that is for sure,” he laughs. “It’s nice to record the places I’ve been and use the photos to rub it into friends who live in the cities and sit in offices all day.”

What Munck lacked in lens sensibilities, he has made up for in passion for Whistler’s mountains that have surrounded the Aussie native for four years now.

Like most, Munck began his skiing ambitions on hills with chairlifts and, inevitably, the crowds that follow. But a quieter lifestyle called him out to the backcountry, where the focus moved from competitive challenge to enjoying B.C. mountains and people’s company.

“It’s very social taking friends out and putting your life in the hands (of each other) and such,” he said. “At the same time, it’s very solitary. There are no lifts, no people screaming past you, so it can be very relaxing at the same time… When you’ve got the time, let’s go for a walk and get away from the crowds. That’s why we live here and not the city. It’s worth the extra couple bucks in rent.”

Munck now devotes himself to the backcountry full time as both an outdoorsman and manager of Whistler’s Escape Route.

“I live, eat, breathe and talk about what I love all day long,” he said.

The Out of Bounds exhibit showcases images devoted solely to the backcountry, with no lift-access photographs allowed. Photographers have skied, trekked, climbed, snowshoed, dog-sledded or snowmobiled into B.C.’s majestic backcountry to capture the wilderness spirit.

The Whistler Arts Council’s Out of Bounds show is both an exhibit and competition, with the public voting for the Best in Show, awarding one photographer with a heli-skiing trip from Coast Range Heli-skiing.

Casting a vote also enters the voter into a public draw for a second heli-skiing trip.

Out of Bounds photographers selected for the third annual showing include Munck, Alex Wigley, Andrew Bradley, Bonny Makarewicz, Chris Christie, Dagan Beach, Dave Humphreys, Don Cole Harvey, Duncan MacKenzie, Gregory Eymundson, Rich Duncan, Toshi Kawano, Tyler Deer and of course Blake Jorgenson, who won last year’s Best of Show competition.

Photographers will be in attendance at the exhibit’s opening reception, which will also include talent from DJ Mister Fister, Michele Bush’s Cougar Snow Bunny theatrics and fire spinners, as well as hors d’oeuvres from Whistler Cooks and a cash bar for drinks.

Admission is free.