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Through a trucker's lens

Life is a series of photographs waiting to be captured for local photographer Steve Milner, who will be presenting his award winning shots at the Peace Gallery North this Friday.

Life is a series of photographs waiting to be captured for local photographer Steve Milner, who will be presenting his award winning shots at the Peace Gallery North this Friday.

His exhibition is entitled Northern Travels: a trucker's view, and features both colour and black and white shots of the wildlife, landscapes and lights he encounters while trucking on the patch.

Trucking lends itself to photography, said Milner, for the simple fact that he gets to see a wide variety of landscapes, people and seasons and unlike many photographers he actually gets paid.

"When you're logging 100,000 km a year you get to see a lot of scenery," said Milner, "Out on the road in the middle of nowhere at three in the morning you get to see some interesting stuff that a causal photographer just wouldn't get to."

Plus, riding high up in his semi-truck, Milner said he gets a better view of what's down ravines or hidden in the forest.

Milner and his wife moved north seven years ago from the Pemberton-Whistler area. After living there for years, he said his passion for photography almost died.

"You can only take so many pictures of mountains before they all start looking the same," said Milner, "It creatively sucks the life out you."

Besides, he pointed out that down south he would have never had the opportunity to exhibit his work like he can in Fort St. John.

"All they care about are big names and big money down there," he said.

The move had a dramatic impact on his work.

Not only did he make the change to digital photography, but once he got away from the mountains, Milner started taking pictures in colour.

Milner spent more than 25 years taking pictures exclusively in black and white and he said that to this day he still sees everything in black and white.

However, he said that his wife is quick to let him know when the photos need to be in colour, which is easy to do now with his editing software.

Milner described his experience transitioning from film to digital photography in one word: "awesome!"

"Digital rocks because it's cheaper and you don't have to spend time in the dark room," explained Milner, "Also you don't need to worry about other people's vision affecting your work because not everyone who processes your film knows what you want."

Milner doesn't just take pictures of the world he passes through in his truck. In addition to northern lights, ancient barns and wildlife, he said he also likes to photograph musicians and dancers.

Back when he lived in Vancouver, he worked as a limo driver and got the opportunity to take pictures at many events.

Since Bettyanne Hampton has been at the helm of the North Peace Cultural Centre, she has invited Milner and his wife to photograph the shows and notably, captured some stunning images from the recent Memeza Africa performance.

Milner said he is constantly considering how whatever he sees would look through the lens.

"Everything is a picture, sometimes you take them and sometimes you don't but, you always take them in your head," he said.

Milner's passion for photography flows from his devotion to aesthetic.

"Beauty is like a religion to me," Milner explained, "I go to the church of waking up and seeing the beauty around us."