This year’s 2017 Capture Photography Festival wrapped up on April 28 with the closing reception and awards ceremony for the second annual Philip B. Lind Emerging Artist Prize. The prize is intended to support up-and-coming artists working in the fields of photography, film, and video and is awarded to a student studying in a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) or a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program in BC. The ceremony wrapped up a three-week exhibition run at North Vancouver’s Presentation House gallery that featured the work of shortlisted students from SFU, UBC, UVic, Kwantlen, and Emily Carr. The show featured diverse approaches to photographic images, including videos, projections, still images, analog film, and photographic installations.
The Philip B. Lind Prize was inaugurated last year by an opening and awards ceremony that was held in conjunction with the opening of the 2016 Capture Photography Festival on April 1, 2016. The prize is supported by Presentation House Gallery and funded by Rogers Communications in honour of Philip Lind’s retirement from the company and the communications industry. At this year’s award ceremony, it was described by Reid Shier, the director of Presentation House Gallery, as an opportunity to focus on the achievements of promising students who will become artists to “hear about and to keep an eye on.”
This year’s shortlist included two SFU students: Ryan Ermacora from SFU’s film program and David Biddle from the MFA program. Ermacora’s work, Empire Valley, is a nine-minute-and-twenty-second short film that is composed of seven shots. Empire Valley presents a landscape of sublime grassland in BC’s interior through wide expansive shots. Omitting the sky, and isolating the subtle (but impactful) human presence, Ermacora presents a landscape as a principal character that is temporarily occupied by a human presence which varies between tourist, observer, and resource extraction. The seven long shots in Empire Valley, which exist between still image, image loop, and moving image, invite a long, close look at the land and its permanence.
David Biddle is an SFU MFA student, video artist, and saxophonist for the band Dada Plan. Biddle’s work at the Lind Prize exhibition was a 23-minute video installation of Development Application, a 2016 work that is hybrid presentation, performance, and spectacle. In it, he appropriates the tools of professional business presentations and combines them with spoken work, intense electronic music, and the imagery of housing developments and applications from throughout Vancouver. These buildings become source material that he zooms into, pans through, and dissolves in a psychedelic-new-age-sci-fi consideration of the visuals and language of Vancouver’s absurd housing boom.
At the reception, this year’s Lind Prize was awarded to Marisa Kriangwiwat Holmes of Emily Carr University of Art and Design (ECUAD), while honourable mentions were awarded to Durrah Alsaif of Kwantlen Polytechnic University and Natasha Habedus of the University of British Columbia. Holmes, a fourth-year photography student at ECUAD was awarded for her photographic multi-media installation. The award includes $5,000 towards the production of a new work which will be exhibited alongside that of last year’s winner, SFU MFA Vilhelm Sundin at the new Presentation House Polygon Gallery opening in the fall of 2017 next to Lonsdale Quay on the North Vancouver waterfront.