The title of Craig Golby’s show, Above & Below, can be interpreted in several intriguing ways.
As a nature photographer, he points his lens sky and landward, capturing eagles in flight, bears pawing along shorelines, and stunning vistas from bird’s eye views. As a diver, he takes you beneath the waves, into the magnificent habitats of sea lions, orca, giant anemones, corals and sharks.
The imagery is awe inspiring. Golby takes people into realms few ever get to experience directly. It’s a visual feast, zooming in mostly on Vancouver Island’s natural beauty. “Jacques Cousteau rated Port Hardy as one of the top ten places in the world to dive,” he said. “And I find that so many people on Vancouver Island don’t even realize what’s surrounding them.”
For most, the spectacular scenes will be what the show is all about, But the title suggests deeper artistic and environmental dimensions. He hopes a few, at least, might be inspired to take up diving, and experience nature’s beauty for themselves. He also hopes they will develop an appreciation for the intricate balance that results in the diversity and beauty of nature.
So, what’s it like to pull on a wetsuit, shoulder your oxygen tank, and immerse yourself in the deep? “For me it’s deep meditation,” Golby said. “The slow, deep breathing, the calmness that it creates… Once they experience that under water, you can just lie there and breathe, you have no sound, no nothing, it’s just you, and you can just relax, it’s so peaceful.”
He thinks people operate under the ‘misconception’ that diving is too expensive. “You could just walk off the shore,” Golby explained. “You don’t need a boat, you don’t need anything, just your gear and a buddy, and you just walk off and you’re submersed in these beautiful images.”
Using his book, Vancouver Island Above and Below, as a platform, he also hopes to draw people into a deeper understanding of the ecology of our region. “The book is like a conservation education platform, using images to draw people into the reading,” he said.
Craig Golby’s Above & Below will be featured at Rainforest Arts during the months of March and April. Rainforest Arts is operated by volunteers of the Chemainus Valley Cultural Arts Society. The gallery is located at 9781 Willow Street, hours 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. More at RainforestArts.ca.