Winnipeg puddle photographer flies solo at gallery exhibit

Fred McEvoy began taking pictures of puddles by accident but it became very meaningful to him when it triggered a distant memory.

'It set me off that day to go off and look in puddles to see what I could find,' says Fred McEvoy

Walking down Winnipeg's Hargrave Street one afternoon, the sunset's glint caught Fred McEvoy's eye after bouncing off a nearby puddle. McEvoy thought it was an interesting sight, so he snapped a quick picture. 

Friday, McEvoy will be featured in his first solo photography exhibit at Winnipeg's Gallery Lacosse. The photos being featured are a part of his Transfigured Perceptions series, where each photo is a reflection seen through a puddle.

That first photo, taken on his way home from work, was a special moment, because it took McEvoy back to a memory he had all but forgotten. 

McEvoy told CBC's Up to Speed that his original shot of the puddle on Hargrave Street brought him back to the streets of Belfast where he grew up. 

McEvoy remembers being out of school one afternoon when he was 11 or 12-years-old when a British Army foot patrol was in the area.

"A couple shots rang out and panic ensued. I got thrown to the ground and one of the soldiers put his boot in the back of my neck and stuck his rifle in to my back," McEvoy said. 

"And while I was lying there, I suppose looking back on it, maybe I was trying to distract myself from what was going on and it was like, 'oh, I can see the neighbour's house upside down in the puddle.'"

The situation ended without incident, a memory for McEvoy to file away after his family moved to Canada when he was in his late teenage years.

The most popular photo in Fred McEvoy's Transfigured Perceptions series is his photo of Winnipeg's Golden Boy. (Fred McEvoy)

It was another couple of decades before McEvoy picked up a camera and shot his original picture of the Hargrave Street puddle.

When he saw the photo staring back at him from his computer screen while he was editing, he was taken right back to the memory of the police officer with his boot on his neck. 

"It was just like a rush came over me, goosebumps from head to toe and this memory just came flooding back to me," McEvoy said. 

"It set me off that day to go off and look in puddles to see what I could find."

McEvoy's most popular photo with audiences is the one of Winnipeg's Golden Boy. While this is McEvoy's first solo exhibit, he said he has been selling work out of Gallery Lacosse for a number of years already.

"From bad things, good things can come," he said.


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