Nanaimo photographer Sarah Bowman creates portraits with a surreal, ethereal and whimsical quality such as Bloom, featuring model Shannon Alce. Sarah Bowman Photography.

VIDEO: Nanaimo’s Old City Quarter hosts Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Solstice Soiree

Attendees invited to dress up in fantasy inspired garb

The Old City Quarter will fill with fairies and fantasy folk to celebrate the summer solstice.

Lobelia’s Lair and Whalesong Studio partnered to create Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Solstice Soiree. The event is Wednesday (June 21) and starts at 7 p.m.

It will feature live music by Patrick Olmsted of Gabriola Guitars, jewelry by Whalesong, makeup and hair services by donation and the debut photography show of Sarah Bowman. The art show will be at Lobelia’s Lair.

“The theme is the Midsummer Night’s Dream, kind of whimsical, forest fairies, imps, witches, wizards, you know, just that whole fantasy realm,” said Liberty Harakas, owner of Lobelia’s Lair and co-organizer of the event. “I think one of the key things around solstice is about celebrating abundance and celebrating creating connections in communities. It’s an opportunity for people to come together and build community.”

People are encouraged to embrace the theme and dress up in fairy or fantasy garb. A costume procession will begin at 9:30 p.m. The costume idea was inspired by Bowman’s photography because she incorporates fantasy elements into her work. Models who posed for her photos will be attending in costume.

Bowman has been photographing for more than eight years. She started with classic portraits and began incorporating fantasy and whimsical images in the last three years.

“I just found that doing classic portraits kind of became a little boring over time. I was like ‘let’s do something a little different.’ I want to go out of the box and make it a bit more fun and out of this world,” said Bowman. “I got bored of doing the same thing over and over again. I still like doing the classic work, but it’s not what I only like doing. I like doing a little bit of everything to keep it more interesting.”

One of her best critics is her husband, whose honest opinion has helped her grow as a photographer, said Bowman.

Initially not all of her ideas turned out as she imagined, but Bowman just chalked it up to being a learning experience. She gets many of her costumes from thrift stores and her subjects are either friends or models she has found through Instagram.

Bowman’s work has appeared in PhotoVogue Italia, Surreal Beauty Magazine, Practical Photography, Gothesque Magazine and others. Even though her work has appeared in many publications, she hasn’t held an art show before.

“I’m a little nervous about putting myself out there, I have to say, but I’m excited to see what people think,” said Bowman. “I haven’t really watched people look at my work, especially multiple people at once so that will be neat to see, kind of nerve-wracking, but I’m also really excited to showcase the models and the pictures they are in.”

For more information about the Solstice Soiree, please visit the Facebook page http://bit.ly/2roLl8h or for info on Bowman, visit www.sarahbowmanphotography.com.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com

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