Civic pride comes in all shapes and sizes. And as of June 11, it’s in the form of metal prints with
Tony Rath’s new photography gallery
- a three-year long project of vetting near-250,000 images to the select 125 featured within. With over 30 years experience photographing Belize, renowned photo-journalist and photographer
‘s new body of work�pays tribute to Belize’s nooks and crannies, arranged by land, sea, air, underwater and underground.
Amassing a huge archive of both slide and digital images, find�special displays each with a story to tell: the sextant Rath used to navigate while sailing; his very first camera; the evolution of his underwater cameras; old caving lights that used fire instead of batteries and a saddle captured from Guatemala poachers.
"The hardest part was selecting the images,"
"I initially edited the selection down to 1000 images, then hosted a group of 6 artists over a weekend to help rank the photos on a scale of 1 (best) to 5 (worst). Unfortunately, almost every image had both 1s and 5s, so I was back to making the final selection myself".
All images within Tony Rath’s new gallery are printed on metal, representing a new medium for art display: images are infused�
the surface versus printed on top. Dyes are infused directly into the specially coated aluminum sheets which-with proper care-will last indefinitely.
Based in the coastal town of
Dangriga in Southern Belize, Tony Rath is a professional photographer and trained marine biologist, with works as a diver and underwater photographer for the Smithsonian Institution; underwater aid on oil rigs off California; and sailed across the Atlantic Ocean (twice), as well as through the Mediterranean and North Seas. Tony first visited Belize in 1979 and moved there permanently in 1988. Since then he has explored and photographed most of Belize by land, sea and air.
"I strive to promote knowledge and understanding about and appreciation for the natural history and resources of Belize through my images and writings,"
says Rath in his mission statement.
"By forming alliances with
Belizean NGOs, I strive to create leverage for their conservation efforts and provide imagery for their educational, marketing and public relations purposes."
A month before he migrates with his wife to the U.K. where she has taken up a diplomatic posting, renowned photographer and blogger Tony Rath is unveiling his new project - a photo gallery at the Pelican Beach Resort in Dangriga. A collection of some of his best work - pictures of landscapes, underwater shots and cultures - are now on display inside the gallery with hundreds of thousands more. News Five's Duane Moody got a virtual tour today and files this report.
Duane Moody, Reporting
It's a collection of about one hundred and twenty-five photographs taken over the three decades he has lived in Belize. But Dangriga resident Tony Rath for the past three years has been working on the idea of creating a gallery in the south. It is at the Pelican Beach Resort, but the selection process was not that easy.
Tony Rath, Photographer
"Of those quarter of a million images, about fifty thousand to seventy-five thousand were slides so those were immediately eliminated because it was too much trouble to go through the slides and then I would have to digitize them and get them printed. So we restricted it to just digital images and with the digital images we still had probably a hundred and fifty thousand to go through and that took about a year to narrow it down to maybe a thousand images. And then I called on six good friends of mine who are photographers and designers and artists. We took them out to South Water Caye and I showed them the images and asked them to rank them between one to five - one being they really liked them and five that they didn't think it should be in the gallery."
But that process was just as difficult and while there were some winning selections, the best were chosen and printed on aluminium, giving the images a different feel and look. Rath has travelled the length and breadth of the country, carrying his equipment deep into the jungle - at times, spending days, and in some cases even weeks, away from home - just to capture the scene through the camera lens.� Rath says it is about patience, living in the moment, and waiting for the perfect light.
"I did not really pick them by subject. I just picked them by what I thought were nice photos. I am mainly a landscape and wildlife photographer and underwater photographer. So eighty percent are nature - underwater, aerials, landscapes, seascapes - but I do have some cultural. I have the Mayans. In fact my favourite images I have ever taken are of the Mayans. I do have the Garifuna because I live in Dangriga."
The photos are for sale and with a virtual platform; you can even access the gallery.
"All the photos are for sale. There is a QR code on each photo so that when they are in the gallery they can scan the QR code and it will take them to an order form and there's a lot of different options. So all the images in the gallery are actually printed. It is a process where it is printed on aluminium, but it is not on the aluminium, it is in the aluminium. So it is infused into the aluminium and two things it does: number one, it makes it extremely durable so these aluminium prints can last a lifetime and it creates a luminescence to the images so that the images kinda pick up the metal glow and kinda has a 3D effect. You can go to my website at
and there is a link on there for fine art prints and it will take you to all the images and plus more that are in the gallery and you can order right off that website using PayPal or credit card."
The gallery officially opens to the public on Friday.