CULTIVATING CREATIVITY: Sandra Randle on appreciating beauty through her lens

Photo credit: Sandra Randle

By Fiona Campbell/Quinte Arts Council

Photography has been a long-held passion for Stirling-based photographer Sandra Randle.

“I remember getting a polaroid type camera for Christmas when I was 8 or 9 years old, so maybe that’s how I got my start,” says Randle. “My parents gave me my first SLR camera when I was about 15. A Mamiya MSX1000. I still have it today.”

When Randle first started out, she used to shoot a lot of concert photos (back when it was allowed!) and in black and white. She had a darkroom where she would spend most of her spare time developing shots. Then life got in the way, and she had to put photography on the back burner for about 30 years. But then in 2016, newly retired from the printing industry in Markham, she started the next chapter in her life doing the things she always wanted to do: photography and travel.

When asked what kind of photographer she is, Randle responds: “I think I’m a struggling photographer… and a perfectionist. Being creative doesn’t come easily for me so I really have to work at it. Before creating a shot, I ask myself ‘Is this a picture I would hang on my wall? ’In most cases, the answer is ‘No. ’So I keep looking for the perfect spot or subject.”

Over the past five years, Randle has participated in almost two dozen regional shows and exhibitions. Recent accolades include: three-time finalist at the Colborne Art Gallery Annual Juried Show, Honorable mention at the Whitby Art Show in June, and finalist at the QAC’s 2019 Expressions Art Show. Her photos have been used on three covers of Country Roads Magazine, and she was Runner Up for the Toronto Star’s March photo contest in 2017.

Looking at Randle’s online portfolio, there is a certain cohesive feel to her work: stunning landscapes, wildlife, buildings and waterfalls, many with moody lighting and skies.

“I’m a moody person so I guess that’s why moody lighting appeals to me. Dramatic clouds add depth and emotion, especially in black and white,” she says. “I love storms. The more intense the better. We have some amazing clouds out here, so it makes for nice added drama.”

She adds: “I love travel photography, landscapes, grist mills, old buildings, barns, lighthouses, wildlife.… B.C. and Alberta are my favourite places, although the east coast is beautiful too. The mountains never disappoint.”

While COVID-19 has put her travel photography on pause (she and her husband usually take two trips a year), she’s used this time to research old mills, which will be the theme of their next getaway, but also foster a connection here at home: “The pandemic has actually helped me look more closely at my surroundings and appreciate the beautiful places that are right here.”

To see more of her work, visit: 500px.com/sandra-lee-randle