Discovering ourselves

Pukaskwa National Park

By Klaus Rossler

Could there be a better opportunity for an artist to spend quality time at a beautiful place than in a national park, talking to people about his/her work and getting inspired by the scenery and atmosphere to create new work?

For the last three years I’ve been privileged to volunteer as an artist-in-residence with Pukaskwa National Park on the wild shore of Lake Superior for their Art in the Park summer program. As a photographer, amongst a handful of other artists of many genres, I enjoy this visual experience and challenge. The park management provides a beautiful setting at the visitor center and the surrounding beaches and trails, to interact with visitors in workshops, talks, walks, performances and presentations.

I find sharing my experiences and visions about photography enhances my personal development. On the other hand, many visitors – and people in general – find themselves sometimes trapped in their photographic abilities – when snapping away becomes a thoughtless, automatic function, as with the ‘Auto’ setting on our cameras.

A self-photograph of Klaus Rossler A self-photograph of Klaus Rossler
© Klaus Rossler

My goal is to convey the ‘art of seeing’—to look at things in a different way—from the grand vista over this lake of all lakes long after sunset or before sunrise, to the often overlooked and minute beneath our feet, like the decaying leaf floating in a puddle, or the reflection of reeds in the shallow waters at the protected Hattie Cove–to develop new eyes, experiment and gain confidence, rather than explaining mere functions of the tool.

I see photography as a creative art form and personal expression similar to painting or sculpture, and want to point out concepts of composition, such as the role of the elements of design like line, texture, and shape, as well as the difference between vision and perception, and about reality and its role in photography.

Almost everybody now owns a digital camera. But by realizing the distinction between ‘taking pictures’ and ‘making photographs’ we can be rewarded with artistic and personal expression – a great hobby and more.

Pukaskwa National Park and this wild shoreline provide the opportunity, scenery, and facilities for quality time spent – for artists and participants. We can explore our creative potential, take home from a majestic place a new enthusiasm for discovery, and with new eyes on the world around us, perhaps…discover ourselves.

Klaus Rossler is an exhibited photographer, published in Canadian Geographic, Photo Life Magazine, recipient of Ontario Art Council project grants, worked with the Smithsonian Institute, Washington/DC, the Canadian Museum of Nature, and has collectors in Canada, the US and Europe.

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