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The Arts: Ellie Schartner – A Passion For Photography
By Doreen Jung. Unlocking the possibilities each time she presses the shutter on her camera, Ellie Schartner is passionate about photography. [Click On Image For Full Story] She has enjoyed photography since childhood and remembers saving for her first camera. “Growing up as a young teenager in the Fraser Valley in the 1950’s and 1960’s meant picking berries for a summer job,” recalls Schartner. “Each year most of those earnings helped pay for school clothes and supplies, but I was always allowed to purchase something special for myself. My first such purchase was a camera.”She has fond memories of taking candid shots of her family and friends. In grade 8, she spent many noon hours learning how to develop her images in the darkroom.
These lessons were taught by her math teacher, Roy Craven (one of the founders of the Abbotsford Photo Arts Club). Career and family commitments got in the way of photography for a number of years, but when her three sons grew up and left home, Schartner returned to her love of photography. Around 1992, she joined the Abbotsford Photo Arts Club (APAC), making friends and sharing images with others who have the same passion for photography.Creating stunning images of people, places, and things, Schartner loves to photograph “basically whatever catches my eye”.
Her favourite subjects include her grandchildren, birds, wildlife, nature, old buildings, and flowers. Schartner has found many opportunities to capture touching moments in the lives of her family. She described one occasion when having a camera close by really paid off. “With the help of my son and daughter-in-law, we decided to introduce their cat and my granddaughter, Isabella to my fish. Fortunately the fish survived.”Schartner also enjoys working with computer software to enhance her images and to create photographic art. “Tulips are one of my favourite flowers to photograph,” says Schartner. “I wanted to design something more like art with this bouquet.” Using a few layers in Photoshop, including one with a soft glass effect, she created “Designing Tulips” and achieved an image close to one she imagined.
Photography has enriched her travel experiences and connected her with people. For Schartner, this gives her both inspiration and reward. In Brandon, Ontario, she watched a man feeding gulls on the shore. Getting his permission to take photos of him, she decided to thank him by sending him a 12 X 18 print of him taken that morning. He wrote back, thanking her for the best birthday present he had ever received. That made the whole experience her reward.
“Photography helps you to enjoy and appreciate the journey, no matter where you are going” says Schartner. It has opened her eyes to the beauty that is around her and enabled her to feel a greater appreciation for it. “When I am seeking to photograph that special landscape, or early morning sunrise, I can’t help but marvel time after time, the beauty that God surrounds us with, and is really always there for us to enjoy. Photography makes you look, not drive past.”
Finding inspiration, expressing herself, and connecting with others are all part of the rewarding experience of photography for Ellie Schartner. Her photos have been published in Canada Camera magazine. She has displayed prints in the APAC exhibitions at Kariton Art Gallery and The Reach.
Currently her images are on display at the Replay Board Store in Abbotsford. She is exhibiting in the upcoming APAC exhibition at Kariton (Feb. 24-Mar. 20, 2012). To view some of her work, visit the gallery pages of the Abbotsford Photo Arts Club website at www.apac.bc.ca
Editor’s Note: Doreen Jung is a member of the Abbotsford Arts Council and former Arts Administrator. Her columns appear here regularly.