Celebrating and featuring North West talent

The festival features the photographic talent in the British Columbia northwest. We live among some of the most spectacular scenery in the world that features wildlife from humpback whales and orcas, grizzly and black bears to tiny songbirds. The region is more and more in the news, so photojournalism is a vital field to explain the north-west of Canada to the world.

Photographers in this region also explore all aspects of the image, with portraiture and projects that push the limits of the comfort zone.

The long-term aim of North West Photo Fest is to involve more photographers from the north-west region. As the festival expands in coming years, we will attract more photographers from across British Columbia, from the rest of Canada and the United States who wish to use their talents to photograph the beauty of the northwest.

Small town

Kitimat has about 8,000 residents and many of the towns across the northwest are a similar size or smaller.

The second aim of North West Photo Fest is to acknowledge the special challenges of photography in a small town where, as Kitimat photographer, Dwight Magee noted in his 2016 talk, “everyone knows your name.”

This mandate is explored through both the annual exhibition at the Kitimat Museum and Archives and in the talks and workshops at the festival.

The long-term aim of this part of our mandate is to put the North West Photo Fest on the world photography stage by emphasizing the richness of small-town photography at a time when more and more work seems to be concentrated in major metropolitan cities.

Talks, seminars, and workshops

In 2016, North West Photo Fest held a day of talks and seminars at the Riverlodge Recreation Centre, featuring both guest speakers and local photographers. In 2017,  we expanded to include practical seminars, hands-on workshops and photo walks.  In 2018, our theme is “The Wilderness Around Us.”   The people of northwestern BC have a unique advantage, the wilderness is all around us.  Everyone in this region has a chance to photograph wildlife, landscapes, and seascapes every day if they wish.   Our aim in 2018 is to give the opportunity to enhance their skills from the casual user with a mobile phone camera to the region’s professionals.

History of the North West Photo Fest

In 2015, the Kitimat Museum & Archives held the successful “Local Lens” exhibit of works by Kitimat photographers.

Based on that success, Kitimat and area photographers and their supporters began planning to expand to a friendly regional photo festival for August 2016, a festival that is now in its fourth year.