Our Pastime, by photographer Detlaf Klahm, attempts to capture what it means to be Canadian. The image is one of dozens submitted to the Langley Camera Club’s annual invitational exhibit and contest. The event, which is open to the public, happens on Saturday, May 11 at Chief Sepass Theatre in Fort Langley.

National treasures

Langley Camera Club challenges photographers to capture the true spirit of Canada

It’s all about ‘our home and native land’, but there may not be many photographs of maple leaves, Mounties or moose on display when the Langley Camera Club hosts its annual Fraser Valley Invitational competition at Chief Sepass Theatre on Saturday, May 11.

Following last year’s “Street” themed contest, the club presents: Culture — The Canadian Edition, with amateur photographers from West Vancouver to Chilliwack entering shots that speak to national identity.

It’s actually a pretty difficult theme, said Langley club member, Dennis Ducklow.

The goal isn’t to shoot an iconic image, such as a flag or a maple tree, but to capture people doing distinctly Canadian things, he explained.

“It’s people doing what people do, that is uniquely Canadian — which is where the challenge lies.”

Last year’s theme presented a bit of a test for participants, too, Ducklow said.

“Of all the various aspects of photography, street photography might be the most poorly understood.”

Street photographers either walk up to strangers and say, ‘can I take your picture?’ or they hold their camera out of sight as they shoot their unknowing subjects — which leads to ethical concerns, Ducklow said.

“Because of that, most people are uncomfortable with it.

“The response to the challenge of street photos could have been better. But it was a great event — a thoroughly entertaining night.”

This year’s competition will once again be adjudicated by area photographers who are highly respected leaders in their field, Ducklow said.

There will also be another 100 prints on display and guests will be invited to vote for their favourites.

“There are so many darn prizes — all photography related. It’s a real party atmosphere,” said Ducklow.

Each year the Fraser Valley Invitational (FVI) exhibits the work of top amateur photographers from across the Lower Mainland. This year, about 200 are expected to participate from the 15 invited clubs.

The Langley Camera Club’s contest is unique in that it is the only one that requires entrants to work within a specific theme, whereas most hold open competitions, Ducklow said.

Work is already underway to choose a theme for next spring’s invitational. It will be announced at the end of competition, which happens on Saturday, May 11, 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Chief Sepass Theatre. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Tickets are $16 in advance or $20 at the door. Visit the FVI link at langleycameraclub.com.

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