Shel Neufeld

sheliceshot medium res4Shel Neufeld 

I was born in Dawson Creek, BC in 1970, but was quickly relocated to Hamilton, Ontario in 1971.  In my childhood I discovered the camera, taking numerous photos on my family vacation to California and BC in 1978.  Opportunities in nature during family drives across Canada were extremely formative for me.  I loved the mountains especially, as well as the Lake Superior area in Ontario, which I photographed extensively.  I won my first photo contest in 1986, for the Friends of Lake Superior.

 

I earned a Bachelor of Arts from University of Waterloo in Sociology and Peace and Conflict Studies in 1992.  As part of my degree, I traveled to Central America for 6 months.  I purchased my first SLR camera before this trip, and documented my many experiences through 35 mm slides.  I also continued developing my acoustic guitar playing and songwriting abilities, performing at various venues as a solo act.  In 1994, I recorded my first music album, Wooden Reflections.  Following several cross Canada tours, I released 1996’s Call of the Wild, recorded by Don Kerr (Ron Sexsmith, Rheostatics).  I have opened for many acts including the Skydiggers, Jeremy Fisher, David Essig, Don Ross, the Grapes of Wrath, and Sue Medley.

 

I continued to refine my photographic skills for fun during numerous music tours from New Brunswick to Vancouver Island, and settled in Vancouver in 1997.   In the fall of 1997 I discovered the Uts’am Witness Project, a collaboration of artists, the Squamish Nation, and environmentalists.  For a 10 year period I volunteered with this group, helping to bring the public to witness threatened old growth forests North of Squamish, BC, in the context of Squamish Nation ceremony.   My photography and love of nature took off in new directions, as I learned about the beauty and power of the BC Ancient Forest.  After this program successfully protected this area in 2006, I continued, (and continue to this day), to photograph wild areas and share and promote the natural world as my “witness”, in hope that my customers will appreciate and value it as well.

 

Photographer and Emily Carr instructor Nancy Bleck and wilderness explorer and Order of Canada recipient John Clarke both inspired me greatly, and taught me so much about photography and the wilderness.  I had the privilege of going on several trips with John Clarke, or Xwelkselken (traditional Squamish name) including a 20-day expedition exploring and climbing unclimbed peaks near Toba Inlet, BC.  I continued to photograph on many trips of my own, including 32 days climbing near Terrace, BC in 2003.  I attempt to convey my experiences of presence and spirituality on trips like these, and in nature in general, through my images and personal, hand written  “journal entries” on the backs of each of the photographs I sell.

 

My career took a different direction when I began performing songs while projecting my nature photographs behind me on a 12-foot wide screen.  I have hosted numerous benefit shows for various old growth related and political causes, always having openings by local First Nations groups, most recently last April when I facilitated a ceremony with both Squamish and Secehlt Nation members at my performance.

 

I began printing and selling my photos around 2002, and moved to Pender Island in 2004, opening a home based Gallery of my own nature photography.  I took Business Victoria’s Self Employment Program in 2004 as well, one of the most important business decisions I have ever made.  In addition to the gallery, I began presenting at outdoor markets and Christmas Shows, which I continue to this day.  I was a founding member of the Pender Island Artisan Coop in 2006, and have had several art shows at various galleries since then.  I spent 2 years on Salt Spring Island, selling at the Saturday market, and relocated to Roberts Creek in 2009. Since 2005 I have developed and led numerous photography and nature camps for children and youth.  Most recently I have collaborated with Rolling Earth Farm in Roberts Creek to offer week-long photography and farm camps to grade 7-9 students coming from Vancouver based schools.

 

For the last 3 years I have also been working on developing interesting photo cards with personal reflections on the backs, as well as pushing my work to new levels through large canvas photo printing.  My subject matter now includes many oceanscape and sea life pictures, adding to my extensive mountain and forest photograph collections. I have gratitude to many, from the Squamish Nation, to the teachers that I encountered along the way, as well as to my family, for their help and support to bring me where I am today.

 

Selected Recent Artisan Markets 2009-2012

Dec. 2012 Butterdome Christmas Sale, Edmonton, AB

Nov. 2012 A Festival of Crafts, Calgary, AB

Nov. 2012 Signatures Winnipeg Christmas Show

May-Oct 2012 Langdale Ferry Terminal Market

Aug. 2012 Hackett Park SCAC Show, Sechelt, BC

Aug. 2012 Filberg Festival

May 2012 Signatures Butterdome Spring Show, Edmonton, AB

Apr. 2012 A Festival of Crafts Spring, Calgary, AB

Dec. 2011 Signatures Butterdome Sale, Edmonton, AB

Nov. 2011 Make it, the Handmade Revolution, Vancouver, BC

Nov 2011 Circle Craft, Vancouver, BC

May 2010-Oct. 2011, Langdale Ferry Terminal Market

April 2011 CKNL Tradeshow, Ft. St. John, BC

Dec 2010 Signatures Butterdome Sale, Edmonton, AB

Dec. 2010 Sundog Festival, Saskatoon, SK

Nov. 2010 ArtMarket, Calgary, AB

May 2010  Butterdome Spring Sale,  Edmonton, AB

April 2010  CKNL Tradeshow, Ft. St. John, BC

Dec. 2009  Butterdome Christmas Sale,  Edmonton, AB

Nov. 2009 A Festival of Crafts, Calgary, AB

Nov. 2009 Circle Craft, Vancouver, BC

Aug. 2009 Filberg Festival, Comox, BC

May, 2009 Butterdome Spring Sale, Edmonton, AB

April 2009 CKNL Tradeshow, Fort St. John, BC

Mar-Nov 2005-2009 (each Saturday) The Salt Spring Island Farmers Market

 

Selected Galleries and Retail Outlets displaying My Photography

Whole Foods Market, various locations Vancouver, BC

Waterfront Gallery: Salt Spring Island, BC

Natureworks, Salt Spring Island, BC

Lifestyle Markets, Victoria, BC

The Good Planet Co., Victoria, BC

BC Ferries Corporation Gift Shops, Victoria, BC

Marketplace IGA (18 locations), Vancouver, BC

Hazeldean Gallery,  Nelson, BC

Woods Showcase, Gibsons, BC

Fresh From the Coast Gallery, Sechelt, BC

 

Selected Published Works, Performances, and Gallery Shows:

To publish 2013, Images for use in book: Picturing Transformation, Uts’am Witness

April, 2012 Traditional Squamish Nation Ceremony and Slideshow and Acoustic Guitar Performance, Benefit for Mt Elphinstone, Roberts Creek, BC

Fall 2011, Photo Usage for Islands Trust Homepage

Various years, MEC Catalogue

Various years, Western Canada Wilderness Committee calendars

July 2009, Slideshow and Acoustic Guitar Performance

(Opening for Grapes of Wrath and Jeremy Fisher)

2008  Gallery Show, ArtSpring, Salt Spring Island, BC