Frederick Popowich's 'Wall' is part of the photographer's exhibition highlighting collision shops. Photograph by Frederick Popowich.

By Barett Poley

Coquitlam, British Columbia -- January 4, 2017 -- A British Columbia artist and photographer, Fred Popowich, has used his talents to capture something you may see every day, but that is generally unknown to the public. His latest series of photographs is called “Collision,” and it has already been seen by crowds in Burnaby and Westminster art galleries. His work has been compared to the likes of Ansel Adams, famous for his striking black and white photography of the American landscape.

The photos taken by Popowich are full of stark contrasts and a near-stoic exploration of the world of collision repair shops – putting things in a new light both metaphorically and literally. The key to the photography for Popowich is multi-directional lighting, which gives a uniqueness to the scenes and make them appear more dramatic than they might seem to the naked eye.

According to the Coquitlam Art School, the project “explores industrial decay and the relationship of man and machine through the depiction of spaces, materials and equipment associated with automotive collision repair. By using various sized handheld lights during long exposures, Popowich reveals subjects by enacting the process of their material form as their surfaces are brought into collision with multi-directional forms of light. As light collides with its subject, it becomes a process that takes place in time, making the creation of the negative performative in a way that is never the same way twice.”

Popowich revealed that the inspiration for the photographs were the collision repair shops his father owned that he had played in as a child. “It’s an alchemical laboratory,” said Popowich, according to Tri-City News. “Kind of like a modern blacksmith or alchemist.”

The exhibit also highlights the hard work that goes into collision repair. Popowich, though not in the collision industry himself, has nothing but praise for collision repairers and technicians as fellow artists.

“You take these damaged, wrecked machines,” said Popowich, “and you send them out looking shiny and pristine and new … It was fantastic to grow up around something like that.”

Popowich’s exhibition will be shown at Place Des Arts: Coquitlam Art School on January 6, with an opening reception that night from 7 to 9 p.m.


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