As an unmistakable optimist who takes pleasure in the little things, Fela Dales’ “colourful” personality certainly shows through in her work as a professional photographer. With that, it’s no surprise that the name of her first solo exhibition is Vida en Color, which translates to “Life in Colour.”
Until October 29, Dales’ unique observations of the world that surrounds us will be on display at Café Koi. Alongside intricate photos of nature and landscapes is a glimpse into the young photographers nostalgic memories of a time that has since past by.
With training in both analog and digital mediums, Dales came to discover her passion for visual narration through humble beginnings and although she has since commercialized her art form, she still likes to use her camera to focus in on finer attributes of her subjects.
“I really like taking photos of the smaller details in things,” says Dales with the excitement of someone who has only just received their first camera, despite having been a photographer for the past seven years. “It allows me to see the beauty in a subject.”
Columbian-born and still struggling with the imminent winters that Calgary offers, Dales fancies her exhibition as a commentary of the transition from her tropical birthplace of Columbia to the vast prairies of Alberta.
“It’s a transition and in many ways an evolution of how my life was before and how my life is now,” she says. “It shows how things have changed for me in a positive way.”
A visual storyteller in her own right, her exhibit is comprised of old-fashioned black and white’s of Columbian colonial buildings, alongside the contrasting colorful shots of Canadian ghost towns and wildlife. Although she claims the exhibition “just kind of formed itself”, the photos tell her story as well as the stories she finds in quaint objects.
“I named it ‘Still Standing,’” says Dales, describing the story behind one of her photographs of a typically less-than beautiful and wilting flower. “It may not be the most flattering or beautiful flower, but I like it because of the story I see in it. No matter what has happened to the flower, she is still there.”
Vide en Color is a variety of images that the photographer feels convey small stories that in-turn contribute to an even greater story. One part of Dales’ story is that of her life in Columbia, while the second is of her new life in Calgary.
Her Columbian heritage is shown through a 35mm lens of black and white film and was developed in a small bathroom substituting for a darkroom in her hometown. Meanwhile, through a more contemporary medium, she’s able to show off her “colourful” Latin heritage as it is imposed over a North American background.
“This is my new world, my new digital camera.”