Reid Schaffer is one of the five photographers participating in the Exposure Festival through Motion Gallery this month. The selected collection for this showcase says a great deal about the beauty of rural Alberta. It shows the rustic nature of country life, feeling nostalgic about the idea that the past is frozen in time.
The structures are kept as a part of artistic history that people don’t want to get rid of. You can find beauty in the harsh landscape that Canada is known for. The fields, winter climate, and desolate wasteland may seem unappealing to someone who simply hears about it, but these images capture the serene, untouched land that is home to many strong, resilient Albertans.
I find cultural displays in the simplest forms the most inspiring. When I see something that I want to share with the world, I feel a compulsive need to capture it. Travelling and nature, landscapes, the beauty of the human experience, these things capture emotion and I feel the need to display it in a way that says, “this is beautiful.”
I was very creative as a child. I was always drawing and painting. I needed to express myself in multiple ways. I began taking photos at an early age and everything just scaffolded from there. I have always had an eye for things and I think exploring many avenues helped me find what I liked best.
He purchased his first camera with my own hard-earned money. This was satisfying because it gave him the freedom that independent wealth could give for his desire of creative expression. That first camera was a Canon Rebel T3I. “I chose this one because of its affordability for beginners, as I did not want to spend much while in the learning stage. I would save the expensive ones for when I was more experienced. It had the necessary settings for me to explore and gain a technical knowledge of the craft. It wasn’t until I felt more comfortable that I bought another one.”
“I shoot with a Canon 80D. I use a DSLR camera, I love using all of the different settings and getting lost in the many different angles and aspects you can take with it. The creativity is endless when you have so many options to explore.”
At the age of 10, Reid starting taking his first photos, with his mom’s camera during vacations. He recalls comments that he had a great eye for photography from people around him. “I never really focused on it until I started travelling and exploring the vast emotional and insightful cultures around me. I felt the need to capture them as best as I could, though nothing will capture the true feelings I experienced in those moments. I only started to expand my creative expression in a more driven way when I was financially able to acquire the appropriate equipment, which helped me to make the desires attainable.”
Reid shoots mostly digital now that he’s well equipped with today’s technology. His creative process has more freedom with the options technology gives him. However, he enjoys collecting vintage film cameras from around the world. “I believe that exploring both sides gives me more photographic literacy. I am also currently teaching myself how to develop film with antique equipment.”
I have collected a number of antique window frames over the past year for a project I am working on developing. After some rehabilitation of the frames, I plan to print pairing photos of our beautiful Albertan landscape to put into them.
Although Reid likes the expressiveness Photoshop gives him in his creative process, he tries to leave his images as raw and natural as possible. He believes this captures the reality that inspired him to take the photo in the first place, and although Photoshop can be beneficial in some circumstances, he will try not to use it often, especially with Alberta scenery.
As a self-taught photographer and new to the art scene, Reid has had the privilege of exhibiting one of his images in New York during the communities’ exhibition week a few years ago. He admits this was a defining moment for him, setting the stage for what he hopes will lead to many more successful exhibits.
Take a look at Reids Instagram account @rdsfoto where he enjoys sharing most of his images.