page contents

Former students return to the Bow Valley to reboot iconic photography program

When most people can use their cell phone to take a photo at any given time, for many, the enduring allure of analog photography is an opportunity to make a slower, more thoughtful connection to the world around us.

Spearheaded by Nic Latulippe and Soloman Chiniquay, Canmore Collegiate High School alumni, Through the Lens has returned to the Bow Valley. Latulippe and Chiniquay, former program participants, are now practicing artists and attribute their career paths and artistic passion to their foundational experiences with Through the Lens.

Founded in 1997 by Craig Richards, Through the Lens set out to cultivate creativity, visual literacy, and a deep sense of community among Bow Valley students. For Richards, what he thought would be a one-off program turned into a two-decade long project that would eventually include over 650 participants.

“The Through the Lens program paved the way for us as artists and provided us with a foundation in analog photography and the darkroom process,” Latulippe said. ”We wanted to provide students with the same opportunity and inspire them artistically as the program did for us.”

Spirit North

Supported by a $35,000 donation from the Wim and Nancy Pauw Foundation, the program will equip burgeoning photographers with cameras and darkroom facilities. As in previous years, the 2024 iteration of Through the Lens is introducing film photography to students from Canmore Collegiate High School, Banff Community High School, and Mînî Thnî School. Due to popular demand and because space is limited, students were selected through a lottery system.

“Through the Lens was a transformative experience for Bow Valley students for 20 years, and the excitement surrounding its return is palpable,” said Donna Livingstone, CEO of the Whyte Museum. “The program’s legacy of fostering artistic exploration and community connection is something we are eager to continue.”

Through the Lens not only teaches valuable photographic skills, but also fosters a sense of connection among students, their environment, and the wider community,” said Cathy Geisler, Executive Director of the Wim and Nancy Pauw Foundation. “The fact that two former students have returned to the Bow Valley to share their knowledge, experience, and excitement is a testament to the impact of the program.”

Canadian Rockies Public Schools

Latulippe and Chiniquay expressed their gratitude for the foundation Richards left in the Bow Valley and are planning to ensure the continuity of Through the Lens for future generations of students.

“Thank you for inspiring us to continue Through the Lens,” said Chiniquay. “It meant the world to us when we were students, and we hope that we can instill the same excitement and creativity in the current group of students.”

Upon conclusion of the program, a book featuring student photographs will be published to showcase the talent and growth of participants.

Wim & Nancy Pauw Foundation Logo

"Supporting a more active, vibrant, happy community"