In Focus: Jason Drury

As a masters student in human geography, Jason Drury brings a fascinating analytical approach to his photography. Not that it’s dry or scholarly — there’s often a real sense of humour and whimsy in his pictures — but there is often more to an image than first meets the eye. This approach is rooted in his research interests in landscapes (including ours), as well as how people represent and interact with them.

I first dug into Jason’s pictures as part of a project to assemble individual galleries of work in our I Love the Okanagan group on Flickr. His unique abstracts filled that first gallery, but it could have just as easily focused on epic landscape shots or urban grit from all over the continent. The range and quality of his pictures imply deep curiosity and a great eye for patterns.

This week he was kind enough to answer a few questions about his learning and creativity for Awesome Okanagan.

How long have you been doing photography?

I’ve been getting more involved with my photography, at least in the Okanagan for about two years now. I’ve always had a camera of one sort or another, but recently I’ve been able to explore my vision and perception of the world with the dedication and process I think it deserves.

Any favourite locations in the valley?

Considering I live in downtown Kelowna, I would have to say that it is my favorite location to shoot just for the ease of access it affords me. I enjoy wandering the alleyways and industrial areas at night, and in the day shooting from the hip on the streets. There are so many other spots I know I need to explore some more however, and I have only touched the surface of everything around here.

Any influences or photographers you admire?

One of my favorite photographers would have to be Edward Burtynsky. His representations of landscapes transformed by humans really speak to me. Especially as a student of human geography I’m interested in the ways that humans interact with, change, and think of the places they live.

More…

Could you tell us a bit about your research and how it affects your photography?

My Master’s research as a human geographer has to do with the way that landscapes are represented, particularly by the tourism industry in the Okanagan. We often take the meanings attributed to places and that are transposed onto them for granted.

As natural resource based economies and industries left places in the province like Kelowna, these places had to promote themselves in ways they hadn’t before in order to draw money back to their regions. The Okanagan has many physical attributes that are easily idealized and sold for tourists to consume.

In my photography I try to not to idealize the landscape as much as possible. But I must admit that it can be very hard not to do so.

Living in the western world we are ‘trained’ to ‘see’ landscapes around us in particular ways that originated in the era of classical landscape paintings and portrayed notions of the sublime landscape. After all, who can ignore amazing plays of light on the hills around you, or the saturated colors of the clouds left by the setting sun?

For more of Jason’s photos, visit his Flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/42373177@N07/

In Focus features interesting Okanagan photographers and their work each month. Individual photos are also featured each week on Focus Friday. The author primarily picks stuff from the I Love the Okanagan group on Flickr — if you have suggestions or ideas for photography features, please pass them along to jhiebert@gmail.com.


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