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September 25 to October 20, 1991

Yinka Dene (People of the Earth)

Tim Swanky

I was born and raised in Prince George and, with a few short exceptions, have lived here all my life.

My photography background is through the rocky road of the “school of hard knocks.” As a real young guy I wanted to work at the Prince George Citizen, which I accomplished in the late seventies. I worked as a photographer at the Citizen for about four years.

I would have to say the largest influence on me and my photography, other than the greats that were in the magazines of the day, would have to be Dave Milne and Pete Miller.

I have a great deal of respect for Citizen photographer, Dave Milne, for having the heart not to turn off a young, obnoxious guy with stupid questions. I used to follow him around like a pup. It’s sort of embarrassing now, but, at the time I had no other way to learn.

I also have a great deal of respect for Pete Miller, the quiet editor who gave me the courage to do a job over. If he thought the image didn’t show the proper potential for the job, he quietly asked you to think about it and would say he was sure you could do a better job. An unwritten rule at the time was whoever did the original job, if not satisfactory had to do it over. There was no substitute to make excuses. To this day I approach all my assignments with Pete in mind.

My goal with photographing the elders and children of the First Nations is to stay away from cliché as much as possible. I want the images to portray the native people as the warm and friendly people they are, I do not want the images to come across as imposing or condescending white man’s view. Sure there are problems between our two peoples, but, this is not the forum for that. For the most part, these people are warm, friendly, hardworking and respectable and I hope these images convey those feelings.

Tim Swanky

Two Rivers Gallery > Experience Art > Past Exhibitions > 1991 > Tim Swanky: Yinka Dene (People of the Earth)

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