avuhomes SPOTLIGHT on Chris Harris, Canadian Photographer
Chris Harris is a renowned Canadian photographer who left his urban Montreal home at an early age to follow his two passions of adventure and photography. Drawn to the rugged Coast Mountains of British Columbia, Chris soon learned the craft of mountaineering and started the first adventure eco-tourism business in Canada. For 35 years, Chris guided hiking, climbing, canoeing, back-country ski tours, and photography base-camps and workshops. By 1985, Harris had become a stock photographer and independent publisher of his own work. In 2006, Chris published his 13th book on the Cariboo Chilcotin region of central British Columbia. Chris’ books uniquely combine art and science; and are designed to generate a sense of place, visual identity, and value for the land's beauty, biodiversity, and recreational potential. Chris now travels the country as a tourism ambassador for the region, doing book tours, keynote speeches, and workshops titled Artistic Expression; Photography as Art. Along with his wife Rita, Chris lives in a gorgeous strawbale constructed home where his studio and gallery welcome visitors from around the world. At 81 years of age, Chris is more excited about photography now than ever before. Inspired by painting masters and the great art movements they initiated, Chris has pushed his medium past the entrenched convention of traditional image making.
“It’s about feeling, instead of the outward nature of things,” he says of Expressionism and Abstraction, two painting movements to which he credits much inspiration. By re-imagining reality and going beyond the outward appearance of things, Chris provides his viewers with the opportunity to enter their own imaginary inscapes. Chris believes that art is the highest expression of the human spirit, and says, "for the first time in my life, I feel like I’m an artist." "I'm fond of the Impressionists," he says, of the movement where artists used the interplay of light and dappling brush techniques to pioneer new ideas around form and medium in painting. "It started when courageous artists who believed strongly in their own aesthetics, began using the tools of their craft slightly differently. I thought to myself, if they can do it, why can't I?" Chris has since taught himself to use his camera each day anew, reenvisioning the possibilities of his photographic expression with every new dawn. Visitors to his Gallery often think his photographic prints are paintings, and they are amazed that they are all made ‘in-camera’ rather than with software. Seeking the unseen, and entering the mystery of things, is what really interests me now”, says Harris. “The possibilities for expression are endless. I'm looking forward to doing art this way for the next twenty years!"