Based in Calgary, Alberta, I am an artist working in the medium of photography. My work currently focuses on cultural landscapes, particularly of the Canadian and American West. Cultural landscape is found at the intersection between our human civilization and the land. Travelling this intersection, I find many facets to explore.
Originally, I sought time within the landscape as solace from the forces in modern city and professional life that seemed increasingly to create stress and care, and didn’t provide a level of fulfillment or meaning that I realized I was missing. I wanted to escape from the press of city life back to the landscape, searching for — if not wilderness — at least the respite of respite from the built world. It became natural for me to explore with my camera in hand.
But it wasn’t long before I had to admit that “wherever you go, there you are”. My very ability to reach places in the mountains or desert, on a Caribbean or Mediterranean island, even within a remote volcanic or glacial wilderness — meant that all of these places were touched by human culture as surely as my backyard or the downtown core of my home city. I began to sharpen my photographic vision not to show the land as an absence or negation of human culture, but culture and the land as necessarily integrated components of life that we need to come to terms with.
Now, I present visual stories and intriguing details of both human and natural elements in the places I encounter. Through them, I hope to open small windows into how we have inhabited the land in the past, the nature of our culture’s approach to the land now, and the shared future we hope to build within the land.
I discovered a love of making my own photographic prints in the digital space, starting in 2005. From 2015 – 2018 I was a fulltime member of the team at Calgary’s Resolve Photo, managing and performing all aspects of the fine art digital printmaking operation. Since leaving Resolve, I have opened my own fine art printing operation, Royce Howland Print Studio.
As someone who has achieved a high degree of fluency and skill in the “digital darkroom” over the past 15+ years, I have become increasingly convinced of the power of expressive print to convey meaning and transport viewers, far more so than our digital screens. Make no mistake — the modern digital toolset offers photographers and artists an unprecedented degree of creative control, while digital print processes (and even paper-making processes) employ a wealth of technologies and materials science. But at the end of the day, it is the expressive print that has true depth and staying power as the rendition of the artist’s vision.
As much as print may seem like a throw-back in the digital era, why does it remain so powerful? I believe there are several key reasons:
- A print is a completed, tangible object of art. It exists with us in our physical space. It has actual, material presence that encourages us to stop, see, read and appreciate.
- A print shows something to us with the appearance of direct perception of what is portrayed. There are no technical considerations, compatibility or power problems, busy pop-up distractions, impulses to “like”, “share” or click through to something else.
- Our space is precious; when we select a print to go into it, we’re making a conscious choice. We take the opportunity to regard the print over time, in all seasons and conditions of light, in all of our states of mind. We are able to explore the meaning of what is shown, and to invest meaning of our own.
As a photographer, the primary way I share my work is through print. As such, my work is offered for sale. If my photography strikes a chord with you, I’d love the opportunity to make a print for you!