Viewfinders, 3D glasses add blast-from-the-past feel to P.E.I. exhibit

Mary MacKay
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Mikey Wasnidge went retro in a fun way for his RetroSpective exhibit on at Gallery @ The Guild in Charlottetown until Jan. 6.

Charlottetown photographer Mikey Wasnidge has produced a photographic blast from his past for RestroSpective, on now at Gallery @ The Guild in Charlottetown.

His exhibit uses 3-D glasses and old-school viewfinders as the vehicles to transport gallery visitors to a three-dimensional world that includes some of the artist’s favourite images that he has captured over the past six years.

“It is really a retrospective of my entire library. This is a collection of six years of work . . . ,” says this self-taught photographer whose work will be on display until Jan. 6.

Wasnidge stumbled into the world of photography six years ago after purchasing a used camera online on a whim.

“I bought it really cheaply and I started taking photos of my friends. I have since done a lot of travelling, so it has really been by my side the entire time I was on the road or in different countries. So that’s where I developed a passion for it,” he says.

“I really love capturing candid moments between friends and periods of my life. I really started taking photos so I would have them. Back before Facebook existed that’s why people took photos — to store them in albums and to have.”

As it turns out, Facebook became an informal gallery of sorts where Wasnidge could present his work to the public.

“I think because of Facebook you really are able to gauge the response of people very easily.

“Every time I put up an album I just started seeing people liking and commenting, really encouraging, and that has only increased as the years went on,” he says.

“I tend to take those in-the-moment shots and I think that’s why it really lends itself to Facebook because a lot of people are used to seeing posed shots. People take photos of very similar things, so I really wanted to take photos of things that people weren’t used to seeing on Facebook. It has really guided my style.”

After six years, Wasnidge had amassed an extensive collection of his brand of candid images.

The retro aspect came into play when he re-experienced the three-dimensional viewing fun of a viewfinder that he’d remembered from his childhood.

“I think everybody had one at one point in time. I remember having a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles one,” he says.

“It’s not like it had a significant influence on my life, but it was something that I had for many years.

“And then whenever I rediscovered them, when I picked one of those viewfinders up, I was really taken aback.”

He was especially intrigued to discover that custom viewfinder reels could be easily ordered online.

“The first thing I made was a gift for my girlfriend, and when we went to a Christmas party at her family’s house I gave her the present and everybody passed it around,” he remembers.

“Even though there were just six photos that were really personal between us, they were really excited to look at it. I thought, that’s neat. It was a really interesting way to get people to be excited about (my) work. So that’s where the idea came from.”

In January, Wasnidge started developing the exhibit, starting with the viewfinder concept and adding the 3-D element because it fit well with that era.

There are about 50 photos contained within seven viewfinders in the RetroSpective exhibit.

“They’re grouped into fundamental themes: fun, adventure colour — very basic themes that I think anybody can relate to,” says Wasnidge, who also converted seven original images into a 3-D format and framed them so people can view them through 3-D glasses.

“I didn’t want to make something that’s going to pop out at you. It’s not supposed to blow you away with 3-D effects; it’s just to give a subtle difference for people to take an extra moment to view the work . . . . (By) putting the glasses on and trying to see the 3-D effect, I think that’s accomplished,” says Wasnidge, who previously had an exhibit of photographs at Baba’s Lounge and then his 3D RetroSpective premiere at the same Charlottetown venue.

“I think there’s a novelty there that really hadn’t been touched on yet, at least in recent years. I really wanted to make an exhibit that was fun. I thought it would work well as an instalment, as an installation piece. It’s not something I expected people to want to put up in their home, but as a collection I thought it was something that could very well go from place to place that people might be interested in. And it’s great publicity. If The Guild and Baba’s show my work then at least people know that I’m out there taking photos.”


Fast facts

Charlottetown artist Mikey Wasnidge’s RetroSpective exhibit is on now at the Gallery @ the Guild in Charlottetown until Jan. 6.

The exhibit reviews some of his favourite images that he has captured over the last six years. This exhibition uses unique but familiar tools to showcase his work, featuring retro stereoscopic slides and anaglyphic 3-D images to immerse his audience into a fun and nostalgic viewing experience.

Admission is by donation.



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