Nancii Bernard and Sean Sherstone at the Ladysmith Waterfront Gallery’s Fine Arts Show gala earlier in February. Bernard won Best in Show for her photograph M.L. #3, while Sherstone, also a local photographer, was a judge for the show along with Luke Marston and Pamela Speight.

Ladysmith photographer finds inspiration through unique artistic ‘lens’

Waterfront Gallery’s Fine Arts Show smashes attendance record

Nancii Bernard’s face showed the shock and surprise each time her name was announced at the Ladysmith Fine Arts Show gala earlier this month as the photographer took home not only two category prizes but also the prestigious Best in Show.

“You’ve seen my work. It’s so out of the range of how people see photographs,” she told the Chronicle when asked to but into words how it felt to be honoured.

Bernard moved to Ladysmith with her partner a little over a year ago from Vancouver and together the couple found their dream home, complete with a studio space.

A member of the Ladysmith Waterfront Gallery, this year’s 8th biennial juried show was the first time any of Bernard’s work has been displayed publicly.

She was rewarded by winning Best in Show, Best Photo Digital and Best in Sub Category – Photo/Digital Manipulated for her work M.L. #3 – one of two submissions of hers that were hung for the show.

Bernard picked up a camera about seven years ago and describes her biggest influences as coming from artists such as English printmaker Prunella Clough and Canadian abstract painter Agnes Martin.

“Just something about the quality of it, the lines…it’s so far out there for her generation,” Bernard said of Martin who hailed from Macklin, Sask, and was born in 1912 – the same year as Jackson Pollock.

“I’ve spent my life looking at photographs but also just at pictures and art. I think that’s why I gravitate more towards that kind of work.”

In terms of her own work, Bernard wasn’t content with simply learning the ins and outs of digital photography.

“A lot of people were taking photos of the world outside and I thought there’s got to be something more, and so I just started working in the studio with light and shadow and seeing what happened and what I can create.”

She also believes in not having the entire surface of the paper covered in ink.

“I wanted there to be paper, more like with how printmakers print and the paper interacts with the whole thing,” she said, adding that in her early years “if I could stick it through the printer, I stuck it through. I tried printing on everything.”

The Fine Arts Show broke attendance records at the gallery with an estimated 1,800 people viewing the show over the three weeks in February.

Approximately 300 pieces were submitted to be judged by Luke Marston, Pamela Speight and Sean Sherstone before 180 were selected as part of the show displayed Feb. 3-24.

Sherstone described the emotion of viewing Bernard’s work for the first time.

“My initial impression was just ‘wow’…it absolutely just spoke to me,” he said. “I literally almost cried, I just welled up with tears. The way it’s presented, the fine graduations of tone in it, the way the framing brings you right into the black line, everything about it is just beautiful.”

Bernard doesn’t have an immediate plans on whether she’ll show more of her work in the future but at least for now is still finding joy the the process.

“I want us to start seeing photography, it’s the same as using a brush or a pen – it’s just a tool,” she said. “It doesn’t mean it has to look like what we think a photograph is supposed to look like. It can look like anything.”

editor@ladysmithchronicle.com

Just Posted

Get ready for the 16th annual Ladysmith Show ‘n’ Shine

The show will feature cars from the past, as well as modern day marvels

Excavators help cute kid who copied their dig with his toys stay “safe at work”

Carson Carnegie wakes up at 7:00 am every morning to watch construction work on his street

Ladysmith charitable foundation targeting $60K for students in need

Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation’s Stock the Lockers campaign goes until Sept. 3

Update on Machine Shop renovations presented to council

Prelimiary work has commenced as the Town awaits building permit approval

Stone sculpture on the move in Chemainus

Cline’s massive piece donated to the community 20 years ago relocating to Heritage Square

VIDEO: Langley Ribfest met with protesters

Groups that oppose the event for various reasons plan to be on site each of the three days.

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Ferries employees participating in Denman Island cleanup for plastic-shedding ferry

The cleanup comes a few weeks after one organized by residents of the Island

Discussion on grief and loss between Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper goes viral

The exchange includes emotional question from Cooper, and outlook on grief as a child

Most Read