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Bruce McElya, Photographer


Bruce McElya Grand Canyon river runner and photographer Bruce W. McElya visited Mixed Media in the spring of 2004 to talk about his 15 years of solo rafting on the Colorado River—and about an exhibition of large-format black-and-white prints from those expeditions at the Central Bank Gallery in Lexington (March 26-April 16). Bruce is the only person known to have carried large-format cameras down the river while rafting alone, and he holds the record for the most solo raft journeys in the canyon.

“Grand Canyon may be the most admired and photographed natural feature on the planet,” he acknowledges. “However, its lifeblood and sculptor, the Colorado River, remains a mysterious place and rarely visited by the serious artist. It is this place I seek to photograph, and no other. Beyond its exultation, the river corridor in the Grand Canyon is a formidable barrier to human travel. Therein [lies] the challenge....

photo by Bruce McElya “The skill and experience required to raft came from several years as a whitewater rafting guide in the park back in the ’80s, and having a commercial photography company for 18 years allows the photography to come naturally. Since beginning the project 15 years ago, I have been down the river solo on a small raft with view cameras seven times now, shooting large-format black-and-white negatives. The permit system for running the river in Grand Canyon no longer allows this opportunity, and leaves me with an appealing inevitability, printing the negatives.”

For more information on Bruce’s work, call (859) 253-6135 or e-mail bmcelya@bellsouth.net.



Program 622

A salute to the 2004 Kentucky Music Hall of Fame inductees; Simpsonville photographer Bruce McElya, who has made seven solo raft trips to document the Grand Canyon from Colorado River level; and Louisville’s Heidi Howe, who uses her music to support environmental and other causes. (#622)

Program 635

A salute to the 2004 Kentucky Music Hall of Fame inductees; Simpsonville photographer Bruce McElya, who has made seven solo raft trips to document the Grand Canyon from Colorado River level; and Louisville’s Heidi Howe, who uses her music to support environmental and other causes. (#635)

Program 810

Louisville author Wanda Johnson-Hall, the work of Transylvania University art professor Louise Calvin, and nature photographer Bruce McElya. Musical guests include singer-songwriter Janice Pruitt and guitarist Richard Goering. (#810)





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