John Jānis Šteins

:: Artist ::

My baby brother!

Here’s my baby brother with his baby, Lija. This photo dates from the 1990s. The last century! Time flies when you’re having fun! Like most of us, the term “fun” may not always apply to every moment of a life well-lived. In the thick of it he and his partner Anita raised three beautiful daughters amidst the triumphs and struggles of the ‘day-to-day’ journey of existence. Today his girls are grown up and each accomplished in their chosen fields. The eldest, Lija, got married recently and left the nest.

Oliver opened a gallery and picture framing shop on the main street of Port Hope, Ontario called Ganaraska Art & Framing. Looking at his many online five-star reviews it looks like he made a lot of people happy over the years with his skills. Oliver has retired from there and now is fighting ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive nervous system disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing loss of muscle control. No cure exists at the moment. A heartbreaking time for him and his family and friends.

Regardless of what happens, Oliver has created a large collection of photographs that a discerning eye would qualify as art. I’ve looked at a lot of photography over my seventy-some years and only one element stands out for me, either the photographer has an ‘eye’ or not. It always amazes me when some people with cameras snap away blindly and then try to pass it off as art. Not so with Oliver’s work. He has the rare gift of a discriminating photographer’s eye. One time, on a trip to Europe together we both arrived with nice equipment, snapping away like crazy, pointing our lens this way and that way at all the amazing textures, artifacts and people. I ended up with maybe two images I was happy with, after all of that, whereas Olly had enough for a show. I rest my case.

The photo on the right is one of my favourites. Olly captured it on our trip to Old Town, Riga, Latvia. I love the symmetry of the yellow ochre shape and the way it intersects the dramatic sky.

More content to come…

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