A local photographer is bringing a little calm to Ketchikan with an upcoming “meditative” — and virtual — exhibit at the Main Street Gallery.
Katy Posey, the program director for the Ketchikan Area Arts and Humanities Council, told the Daily News that although the gallery is closed to the public due to concerns of the novel coronavirus, Brooke Ratzat will still be able to show her work in a virtual exhibit.
The opening of “Exhale. Click. Release. Meditations with Camera” will go on as scheduled at 5 p.m. on April 3.
The exhibit includes around 60 large photographs of nature from three Ketchikan trails.
Exhibit participants will be able to “walk” through Ratzat’s photography by watching a video filmed by KPU. The video will be supplemented with sounds of nature provided by Kyle Bailey.
It will be the first time that a Main Street Gallery exhibit has been made available digitally, according to Posey.
“We decided that even though we could probably prevent large groups from attending her reception that it was still not a good idea to encourage people to leave their homes when the state has mandated (to) hunker down and shelter and self-isolate,” Posey explained to the Daily News on Monday. “So that’s why we’re doing a virtual tour, and we’re (KAAHC) absolutely excited about it.”
During a recent interview with the Daily News, Ratzat explained the theme of “Exhale. Click. Release.” was meditation.
She was partly inspired by her uncle, Paul Paree, who once told her that a “camera is the steadiest at the outbreath.”
“So that idea of your camera being part of your breath really lended itself to me with the idea of breath and meditation,” Ratzat explained.
She said she also was inspired by her teacher, Jeff Noftz, a tai chi master.
“I’ve learned sort of these different perspective things and how to look without seeing ideals, and so that has really come into it for me,” Ratzat said.
The meditative theme of the exhibit comes through in Ratzat’s peaceful pictures of nature.
“A lot of times when you do a piece of art or do an exhibit you’re thinking about ‘what is a question that I could ask?’ And then answer it with the art,” Ratzat said. “And so in this case the question I asked was, ‘Can I show what a walking meditation would look like?’”
“And so for me, I do these sort of meditative walks with camera. It’s the times that I think my photography is the nicest, and it’s also a time for me to have some reflection of what I see, and seeing things from different perspectives,” Ratzat continued.
To capture her meditative reflections, Ratzat frequented three places that she not only “loves,” but believes to be accessible around the island: Rainbird Trail, Ward Lake and Whitman Trail.
“I did those things and I took pictures along the way,” Ratzat said.
While Ratzat explored these areas to gather pictures for her exhibit, Ratzat said the “number one thing” she did was go “extremely slowly” during her walks.
“For example, when I shot the Rainbird portion, I went from the university side and I headed up and I think I took about two hours to get from the parking lot there to the first bridge,” Ratzat joked. “As I’m walking along, I’m taking in every little perspective, every look, every nuance, and trying to really look at that.”
Ratzat said that when she sees something interesting, she examines it from all perspectives.
“So if it’s just something that has caught my eye, like a branch in the sunlight, I’m looking at it in every way,” she said.
Ratzat said that her exhibit — which features many large photographs printed on art paper — will work well as an online experience.
Ratzat said that the way her photographs will be arranged throughout the gallery will be “what they would have seen or experienced would be walking through those trails.”
The virtual walkthrough of the exhibit will be available on the KAAHC Facebook page and website.
“What I would hope it would bring to people is a time away from their current circumstances; a time of meditation and bringing new perspectives into their lives at this time,” Ratzat said.