Growing up on the Atlantic coast in New Brunswick, Troy Johnstone fell in love with the places where land and ocean meet. Enjoying rural life and being out in nature, seeing how light and weather change a scene, these are some of the many elements his images feature, and are reflected in his exhibit at Motion Gallery this month.
Troy has been photographing for many years. He had his work published twice in calendars, he took part in local Art Walks, and annual art exhibitions where he has won the People’s Choice Award twice, but this is the first time he is participating in the Exposure Photography Festival.
Most of Troy’s photos have been captured using his well-travelled Nikon D300, which was recently upgraded to a full frame Nikon D700, allowing him to explore small details with a macro lens.
There’s an abundance of inspiration found in the natural world, landscapes, the ever-changing light, weather and seasons presenting new views, as well as inspiration from other photographers. He tells us, “I am a deeply spiritual person, and the wonders of creation astound me.”
He could not draw, and was not musically inclined, but as child Troy had a vivid imagination. It wasn’t until his late 20’s when he discovered photography, and was immediately taken with it as a form of artistic expression.
In 1981, Troy’s father bought a Pentax ME-F camera, which had a distinction of being the first 35 mm with a (clunky) auto-focus lens. Having taken some decent photos, his father began to use the camera less over the years, until eventually it retired to the back of the closet. After an inspiring kid’s camp in 2000, where a fellow counsellor had been taking photos with an SLR camera, Troy dug out his father’s old Pentax camera and lenses, telling us, “I was immediately impressed with the quality of images in a time when most people were using disposable, and little point-and-shoot cameras.”
He admits it was a steep learning curve figuring out the many lenses, and how the controls worked. The camera had a few challenges of its own, such as leak light or having the latch pop right open. He jokes, “Little did I know back then that light leaks would become a desirable filter to apply, or that people would eventually try to replicate it with lo-mo cameras.” The camera now sits proudly on a shelf with a few other antiques. He says, “I still like the feel of the camera and it has a fantastic viewfinder.”
With no formal education in photography, his interest has lead him to find out as much as he could through arduous determination, which has improved his skills.
Troy started when film was the only real option, using an old 1981 Pentax ME-F camera. Analogue forced him to consider the images before taking them, learning about various camera settings in order to not waste a lot of film. After a while, he bought his first digital SLR, and went from taking 20-30 images a week to over 1000, speeding up his understanding of photography immensely.
Troy Johnstone - Moving Prairies
Troy Johnstone - Shelf Cloud
Troy Johnstone - Falling Down
Troy Johnstone - Pop The Hood
Troy Johnstone - Subtle Silhouettes
Troy Johnstone - Peggy's Cove
In Troy’s opinion, Photoshop is a tool used to create great effects, either improving or degrading an image. He was originally a purist, preferring that his images were as he saw them in life. However, this conviction began to crack when hearing the arguments of another photographer.
Troy has found a new interest in macro photography, calling it “the hidden world around us”, but continues working on his project to capture the remaining barns that used to dot the landscape in the marsh areas. He explains, “I didn’t really develop my photography skills until after I moved from the area, so now I try to capture the scenes as much as I can, as the landscape changes on my infrequent trips home.” You can see this project at: http://www.tantramarmarsh.ca/ and check out his other website www.troyjohnstone.com.
Written by Sandra Montgomery
Edited by Renee Laferriere