GANDER, N.L. – Opening night for the Gander Photography Group’s 9th annual exhibit proved to be quite the successful evening for Jessica Nolan, the group's youngest member.
In less than 24 hours of the May 1 opening, which had 14 presenters at the Joseph R. Smallwood Arts and Culture Centre, the 17-year-old had sold out her six-photo exhibition.
The Grade 12 Gander Collegiate student has only been involved with the group for the past few months and it was her first time presenting.
“Going into the exhibit with nearly professional photographers and getting such a nice response was a great feeling,” Jessica said.
She’s only been developing her eye for photography for the past three years.
“I used to work at Menchie's when I was 14 and I started saving up all the money I earned to buy my first camera.
“It started as a hobby, but I’ve recently started printing and selling them,” she said.
Jessica’s work, at the exhibit, focused on nature macro – extreme close-up – photography.
She plans to continue her photography, and staying on as a member of the group.
“I was contemplating going for so long, not knowing anybody and being so young, but it was so welcoming,” she said. “Everyone was so positive and there was such nice feedback on the shots you were doing.”
Fellow member and one of the exhibit organizers, Wade Janes, had high praise for the young photographer.
“Jessica has an excellent eye and she has a bright future,” said Janes. “The work she has done so far has been great, and as she keeps going, I’m sure she’ll be able to accomplish anything she wants to with photography.”
He called it refreshing to see young blood coming into the group, adding other high school students have since reached out about joining.
“It’s exciting, because it’s a chance to see things from their perspective and some of their creative viewpoints,” he said. “Whereas some of us get a little staid in our ways and we don’t push the boundaries as much, it kind of stimulates all of us to try and think outside of the box a little bit.”
The exhibit runs until May 31. The work focuses on what the 14 presenters have captured through their work with the group or shooting individually.
A wide range of photography styles are incorporated into the exhibit, including, macro, landscape, wildlife and abstract styles.
“It’s a great cross section of work,” Janes said.