Kip Wiley next to his image of the atrium at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Kip Wiley – Local photographer looks for what’s different



Out cycling on the Dusty Beaver trail on Mt. Macpherson one day last summer, I came across Kip Wiley crouched in the forest, his bicycle laying to the side of the trail and his camera in hand.

He wouldn’t tell me what he was taking a picture of at the time but recently he came forward with what he was doing – taking photos for a possible future show on the remnants of old cedar trees.

“It’s an upcoming project on relationships and it’s going to be photographed in 3D and infrared,” he said coyly during an interview at the Modern Bakeshop & Cafe.

That exhibit is still a way in the future. When we sat down together, he was getting ready to open up a new exhibit of architecture photos at the Modern.

“These are not broad shots of buildings. Generally they can be isolated elements or thing that wouldn’t make you think right away about architecture,” he said. “I hope, when you get done looking at them, will change the way you look at architecture.”

One of the most recognizable aspects of Wiley’s photography is his use of post-production techniques. One of the first pictures I saw of his had an infrared version of an image of a tree merged with a black and white version of the same picture to create a bleak photograph.

“I have been compositing more and more,” he said, pausing briefly. “Because it works. It accomplishes the goal I’m after with the image.”

That goal, he said, is to create photos that are more than just beautiful pictures, but to try to create a dialogue with the viewer.

“I realized the images that I really like were ones that drew you and started a dialogue in your head, got you thinking and got you engaged,” he said.

His other goal is to compose images that are “different” than normal, pointing to a haunting photo showing a skier with a raven flying overhead.

“You don’t see ski photography like that. The raven adds a total dimension and the fog in the background adds something very different than just your guy airing off a cliff in a ski magazine shot. That’s what I’m looking for in my images – something different.”

Wiley takes a lot of photos in infrared. His latest discovery is 3D photography, which works by creating left-eye and right-eye versions of a photo and having people look at it through a special viewfinder.

This is a busy time for Wiley. In addition to his exhibit at the Modern that runs throughout the Spring, he also has a picture in April’s Doorway exhibit  and May’s The Human Face of Revelstoke show, both at the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre. On top of that, one of his pictures is part of an exhibit being displayed at Canadian embassies across Europe. He also won a scholarship to the Toni Onley Artists Project for professional and emerging artists. He’ll be one of the only photographers in the eight day course.

To view more of Wiley’s work, visit kipwiley.com.

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