Nanaimo History by MW James

Nanaimo History

An exhibition of historic photographs of Nanaimo and British Columbia, restored and framed by Matt James, will be at Artfitterz Picture Framing and Fine Art Gallery in the Bowen Center, 1925 Bowen Road, Nanaimo (beside End of the Roll Carpet), from October 15 to November 12, 2010. The opening night event is Saturday, October 16, 2010, from 6:30 to 9 pm. Over one hundred photos will be on display and available for sale weekdays from 8 am to 5 pm and Saturdays 8 am to 4:30 pm. Admission is free. For more information call Matt James at 250-741-1982 or Artfitterz Frameshop and Gallery at 250-585-5506.

To mount his photos, James uses recycled frames found in thrift stores and elsewhere. The frames have been sanded, painted, and color matched to the photos. The glass has been refitted and the hanging hardware adjusted. Some images are also available as stretched canvas or in new frames. Three new calendars designed by James on Nanaimo history, automobiles, and the climax steam locomotives of Vancouver Island are being launched at the show.

Nanaimo restorer MW James has been rescuing old photos since 1998. A self-educated Adobe Photoshop specialist, James’ talents have allowed many Nanaimo artists to create limited editions of their works for reprint. His process of developing images involves scanning, restoring, and reprinting the images on paper, canvas, or commercial wallpaper. Matt has gained his knowledge of large format printers the hard way. It takes between one and five hours to restore an old image, depending on the condition of the original print. In past, James has sourced his old photos from various public sources. However the restrictive copyright rules and fees applicable to public collections have prompted James to turn to private collections and family albums for source material. His growing list of restored images now extends to logging, fishing, and mining in other British Columbia communities. Some rare images not seen elsewhere will be on display at this show.