Welcome to Chester Fields.

Chester Fields is The Polygon Gallery‘s initiative to support emerging photographers. Based primarily on the North Shore, Chester Fields invites teens aged 13-18 from across the Lower Mainland to create original work of photographic art in response to a theme. This blog is meant to complement the program, providing resources to help increase visual literacy and understanding of contemporary art.


The exhibition a Handful of Dust explores how dust – while beautiful to photograph – can complicate the act of making a clear picture. When dust collects on images, it softens them; if dust gets on the camera lens, it interferes with the shot. Often, we view this as a negative thing; we want absolute control, in order to get that perfect picture. But what if we embrace the element of surprise, and welcome the little accidents that might make our photographs more interesting?

This year, we challenge Chester Fields participants to think at the level of the lens. What sorts of disruptions might come between a camera’s lens and the subject of the photo, and how can this make for an even cooler image? Our phones – and by extension, our cameras – interact with so much random stuff over the course of a day. Pieces of lint in our pockets, crumbs from snacks, strands of hair – all are too tiny for the camera to even see at a distance. But put these miniscule objects right up close to the lens, and intriguing things start to happen.

It’s a two-order process: decide what you’re going to photograph, and why that particular subject; and then find creative ways to enhance or alter your photograph.

For more information on the program or to get involved, contact j.ramsey@thepolygon.ca.