Photography Exhibit Benefits Glacier’s Centennial

By Beacon Staff

Glacier National Park now has one more chance to grab hold of the hearts, minds and imaginations of thousands of out-of-state visitors as they file to their flights at Glacier Park International Airport.

In an effort to help with fundraising for the park’s 100-year anniversary in 2010, Kalispell photographer Bret Bouda has agreed to work with the Glacier National Park Fund on an exhibit called “Timeless Light.” Bouda will give half of the proceeds to the GNPF to help their centennial celebration campaign.

“The exhibit is very timely,” said Centennial Coordinator Kass Hardy. “It’s launching at the same time we’re launching the program.”

The exhibit, set in the upper level passenger terminal, consists of 100 limited-edition photographs of some of the park’s most popular sites. Most of the pieces are panoramic scenes spanning at least 38 inches, set on canvas. The frames have official Glacier National Park Centennial and Glacier National Park Fund stamps certifying their authenticity. Five copies of each photo will be sold.

Jane Ratzlaff, GNPF executive director, said her organization is hoping to raise $3 million with their centennial campaign. She said she is hopeful the “Timeless Light” collection will help them toward their goal for the centennial celebration.

“The exhibit is not only to showcase Glacier, but also to preserve and protect with a donation,” Ratzlaff said.

The money would be used for various projects in the park, including trail maintenance and development, fishery and plant restoration, free tours for over 7,000 kids led by park rangers, wildlife and plant research and for celebration events.

Bouda, who says his life purpose is to capture the beauty and light of Glacier National Park, said the photographs are targeted at non-residents who have been captured by the park’s unique characteristics.

“The purpose is to spread the word,” Bouda said.

Bouda has been in Kalispell since 2004 after moving his family to the area to pursue his new-found Glacier National Park passion. He has been photographing the park ever since, publishing three books in the process.

“I live and breathe the whole Glacier Park,” Bouda said. “It became my home.”

His photos showcase the park’s flora and fauna, as well as peaks, valleys, skies and waterfalls. Seven collages aggregate dozens of photos in several of those categories, highlighting Glacier’s diversity.

Bouda had trouble picking his favorite photo of the exhibit, almost as if he didn’t want to offend the rest of the canvasses. But in the end, he admitted his favorite subject in the park is Heaven’s Peak, which he said he’s shot from nearly every angle but has yet to climb.

Bouda said his attraction to Glacier was immediate, and he suspects the effect is the same for most visitors. With this in mind, he said he hoped the photos feel like a fair trade for those who choose to help the park financially.

Though Bouda said the exhibit is targeted at out-of-state tourists leaving the airport, the public will have a chance to view the photography on Aug. 26 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. for an open house.

Hardy and Ratzlaff said the exhibit is one of many events planned for the centennial celebration, which kicks off on Aug. 23 at a Lake McDonald Lodge picnic. Hardy said there will be plenty of activities, lunch for purchase and free cake. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., highlighted by music from some of the park’s favorite artists, such as Jack Gladstone.

Ratzlaff said she was confident in the power of the photographs as well as the park itself.

“I call it ‘Bungee Park,’” Ratzlaff said, because it always seems to pull visitors back.

For more information on the centennial celebrations or the “Timeless Light” exhibit, visit www.glaciercentennial.org or www.timelesslight.org.

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