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Local photo club captures glimpses of a vast nation

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Cathy Dobson

This First Friday marks the opening of a month-long exhibition by members of the Sarnia Photographic Club and the only opportunity for the public to see their work this year.

Sarnia has an especially busy photographic club with a membership of about 100, bigger in size and with more events than most clubs in Southern Ontario.

It’s also one of the oldest around dating back to 1952.

“We’ve got a really vibrant club with a lot of very good photographers,” says Pierre Houle, a member since 1989.

Members meet four times a month to hear featured speakers, watch slide shows of one another’s work, offer critiques and hold monthly competitions.

“I’ve been a member for a long time and I always learn something,” said Houle. “I enjoy getting fresh ideas, talking to other photographers and meeting new people.”

Club members regularly go on photo outings as well.

Their annual show at the Lawrence House Centre for the Arts will feature about 50 images that reflect what it means to be Canadian.

This year’s theme is “Our Canada, Celebrating 150 Years” and includes the work of 40 club members.  All photos in the show are for sale and range in price from $50 to $300, said club president Christine Roenspiess.

“I think a theme like this will sell well,” she said. “The photos are very affordable and are taken from right across Canada, from B.C. to the East Coast.

Roenspiess is one of the club’s few underwater photographers, and contributed an over/under water image to the exhibition. Using a Nikon camera in a waterproof housing, Roenspiess shot the Tobermory lighthouse, with half the frame under the water and half above. Another of her photos of the Louisbourg lighthouse in Nova Scotia will also be on display.

Houle is contributing two photos as well, one from Quebec’s eastern coast and a second of a canoe in Golden, B.C.

“A lot of our people travel a lot and spend a lot of time taking photos when they do,” he said.

The show also features shots of the Sleeping Giant in Thunder Bay, Mount Robson in the Rockies, Algonquin Park, Newfoundland and more.

The club welcomes new members of every skill level and encourages the curious to check out one of their events. Visit for times and locations.

April’s show about Canada’s 150th opens Friday, April 7 with a reception from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. As with all First Friday events, admission is free.

Do you have an idea about Sarnia’s cultural scene that you think should be featured?  Contact Cathy Dobson at 226-932-0985 or [email protected].




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