BY TARA McCARTHY
With her voice softened to a slight whisper, Vanessa Brault sits in the Whitehorse Public Library articulating her penchant for photography. It becomes obvious that she’s torn between making her passion a profession and keeping it as a pastime.
“I was given my first camera when I was 16 and it wasn’t digital. I was very excited to learn about aperture and depth and lighting. And screwing up film,” she says with a laugh.
“It wasn’t something I took seriously. I wasn’t writing notes down about taking this picture at this f-stop, with this shutter speed. But I never put away the camera, I never put it down.”
Brault admits photography is still a hobby for her because she wants to keep it exciting and enjoyable.
“It’s important to me not to be stressed out about it. It’s supposed to be fun and I don’t want it to stress me out beyond the normal jitters of opening a show.”
While she does exude a strong sense of confidence, Brault also gives off hints of those jitters prior to the opening of her solo exhibit, Every Day Heroes. The show is on display for the month at Baked Café.
It isn’t the first time she’s exposed her work to the public – Brault spends her summers capturing wedding shots and displayed a selection of photos in a Brave New Works show last November at Arts Underground.
But this time she’s going for something more personal.
“I’m hoping to have people appreciate their surroundings. The title came to me because I was appreciating that I’m not in a war-stricken country. And there’s a debate where somebody says, ‘Well, we are in a war-stricken country. Canada’s in Afghanistan right now.’ And I guess I’m just being very literal,” she explains.
“I’m not constantly thinking about the next landmine and where my child’s playing and I’m not thinking about being kidnapped. I’m breathing fresh air and not dust from a building exploding.”
Brault says the nature around her continuously makes her feel grateful. And Every Day Heroes puts the Yukon’s sprawling landscapes at the forefront.
Images show the layered gradient of mountains freshly dusted with snow. The mysterious, dark silhouette of the forest backed by a soft pastel sky. And the brilliant hues the skies take on during various seasons.
The show compiles photos Brault has taken over the last year or so. Images of the every day that not only convey that sense of safety, but also simultaneously express how she connects with the medium.
“I can’t compare it [photography] to painting a picture, because I think there’s a lot of effort that goes into painting a picture. But what I take from it is just this visual scene all around me, where I’m looking and constantly framing and it’s subconscious but it makes me feel good,” Brault explains.
“It’s the satisfaction of doing art all the time.”
And while she still refers to her craft as a hobby, Brault’s plans to take an online course and sign on for future exhibits demonstrates she’s leaning toward a growing commitment.
Every Day Heroes also includes an interactive portion, asking for a variety of input from the audience. Provide your input by checking out the show, which is on display at Baked Café until Dec. 3.