A photo taken by William Allen. (Photo submitted)

Errington’s William Allen ‘Seeing Things’ through photography

Exhibit now up at the McMillan Arts Centre

Errington’s William Allen doesn’t take photographs of anything specific – he doesn’t like to put himself into a box.

Rather, Allen looks for images that will evoke emotion – an image that will make a viewer feel something, rather than think something. He says those emotions can be captured in a variety of ways and can be drawn from a wide range of subject matter.

“I think that for me, photography is all about communicating, all about communication, and so when I compose my photographs, I’m looking for emotional content,” he said. “I’m trying to frame the image in a way that conveys my emotional response and so that really dictates the imagery and what I’m looking for and how I frame it.”

Allen has gathered images that aim to do just that for an exhibit at Parksville’s McMillan Arts Centre called ‘Seeing Things.’ He points to a photo of the orange bridge on Island Highway as an example of his intent with photography.

“What I’ve done is I’ve taken a very long exposure during the day time so it’s all vibrant rich colours, but all the vehicles and all the people are just blurs, it’s just a blur moving through the image of the influence of the people,” he said. “And that’s the emotional content I was trying to capture that day.”

It’s his first exhibit in town, he’s lived in the area since the late ’80s, and he’s really looking forward to sharing his images with the community.

He’s been taking photos since junior high school, where he grew up in Edmonton, and currently splits his time between being a photographer and musician.

Allen has seen photography change drastically over time. He went from having his own dark room, spending time developing negatives, to slowly getting used to a digital camera.

READ MORE: Parksville’s McMillan Arts Centre set to reopen on June 18

He called the transition “pretty painful.”

He said it was a back and forth process until he was able to find a camera that he thought was able to work and capture things in a way that was comparable to his analogue rigs.

“Nikon came out with a pretty good digital camera, I think it was the D50,” he said. “Once I tried the D50, it behaved enough like the analog cameras… you look at it and set up your exposure and stuff and you capture it and you get an expected result, for me that was the turning point, was when what I was used to seeing through analog came through digitally.”

Now, Allen is more than comfortable with his digital rig. He said he never leaves home without it.

You can catch Allen’s work at the MAC on Thursday to Sunday between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. They are scheduling half-hour visiting blocks between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. to allow for social distancing. The first reservation will be taken for 11 a.m. and the last reservation will be taken for 3:30 p.m. They will be accepting up to five small groups (four people max) for each 30-minute time period. More information can be found at www.mcmillanartscentre.com. Allen will be at the exhibit on Saturday in July to answer questions and talk all things photography.


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A photo from William Allen’s exhibit at the McMillian Arts Centre, ‘Seeing Things.’ (Photo submitted)

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