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From the Lens of Gloria King

As part of Virtual explorASIAN 2020, the Interconnected Project continues its celebration of Asian Heritage Month online, casting a light on art that focus on Pan-Asian heritage and culture. In this article we feature the work of photographer Gloria King.

Gloria King. Elephants at Sunset. Photo Courtesy of the Artist.

The confluence of two cultures implied by the identity to which Gloria King willingly ascribes – “Chinese Canadian photographer” – breathes interest into the work of the artist. Add to that an upbringing in Apartheid South Africa, and it would be a missed opportunity not to find out more about the artist.

Gloria now lives in Burnaby, British Columbia and for many years has focused on nature and garden photography. However, she is currently expanding her repertoire to include images of cities and people. She credits her interest in photography to her father. She says, “My Dad was a good photographer and I learnt a lot from him.” Coupled with this inherited curiosity, Gloria also enjoys travel and is a keen observer of the world.

Let us get to know Gloria King, this week’s featured VAHMS artist, as she answers some of our questions.

Why did you choose nature photography?

I focused on Nature photography as I wanted to capture the joy and magic of the natural world that surrounds us.

I notice that where you were born and raised – South Africa during the Apartheid – figures prominently in your profile as an artist. What impacts do these factors have on your art? 

Perhaps focussing on the beauty of nature was a distraction to the ugliness of apartheid that we had to deal with. I do not have a single picture of the signs and situations of apartheid. I guess just ignoring it was my way of coping with it. I now wish I had some pictures for historical records.

My career in South Africa was that of a Social Anthropologist, so my focus was very different.  When I took photographs during those years, it was mainly documentary – recording events, travels etc.  Beautiful scenery had my attention, but it was usually the backdrop rather than the main subject.

Gloria King. Giraffes at Sunset. Photo courtesy of the Artist.

As you have travelled widely to capture some of the most amazing images, what are your favourite locations to photograph? 

Trees have been one of my favourite subjects to photograph. Trees, large and small, trees in a forests and landscapes, trees in different seasons and  different countries, and close up of beautiful tree bark and leaves.

In my travels, I try to capture the essence of the place I am travelling through.  

My favourites locations include the misty mountains of Huang Shan, China.  Locally, Burnaby Mountain is one of my favourite places. Difficult to select one favourite, as I really enjoyed my recent trips to Botswana, in particular Chobi Game Park, and Namibia with its sand dunes and abundance of wild life.

What are some of the most important lessons that your work has taught you?

I think as a photographer, you become a keen observer, always looking out for that special scene or moment.  You also learn patience and perseverance.  Nowadays, you also you have to embrace technology.