INTRODUCING: Louie Villanueva – Shutter Hub Emerging Photographers Showcase Award Winner, Exposure 2021

Photograph of a street scene with flowers and plants in a large planter, with two plastic bags filled with more flowers and plants to the right

© Louie Villanueva

We’re really pleased to introduce you to Louie Villanueva, recipient of the Shutter Hub Emerging Photographer Award at Exposure Photography Festival 2021.

Each year the Exposure Photography Festival presents the Emerging Photographers Showcase. The exhibition celebrates the rich talent of early-career practitioners who are based in the province. The exhibition offers an important professional development opportunity for Alberta-based photographers whilst providing them a gateway into the industry. The exhibition presents a broad range of works, including photojournalism and photocollage, abstract and politically engaged photography, and works that embrace social and individual experience, as well as visual explorations of identity and personal narratives.

Louie Villanueva is a photographer based in Mohkinstsis, located on Treaty 7 territory—also called Calgary, Canada. Born to parents of Filipino descent and self-taught in the practice of photojournalism, Villanueva explores the dialectic of art and craft in photography. His fascinations with Zen Buddhist practice, minimalism as a lifestyle, and productivity intermingle with philosophies of art and applying his way of seeing to everyday activities—walking to work, running errands, and parties.

Currently an independent photojournalist for the National Observer, he has also had work featured in the Calgary Herald, Sun, and the CBC. He is a preferred photographer for the University of Calgary, peddles the tools of the trade at The Camera Store, and operates Neat Film Lab.

“I especially like the way Louie’s work feels like we’re moving through a collection of memories that aren’t necessarily connected for us as viewers, but tell much more of a story about the person who photographed them than they do about the subjects themselves.” – Karen Harvey, Creative Director, Shutter Hub.


© Louie Villanueva

Ten Thousand Cups of Tea

The images featured here are from Louie’s self-published 2020 book Ten Thousand Cups of Tea. The sequence of images aims to explore the act of photographic idiomatic ‘noticing’—where light, patterns, alignment, and colour prod the visual field. The idea of a road trip or travelogue unites the photographs and they echo the Zen practise of sitting meditation but instead through a type of seeing meditation. The work marks a shift away from client and commercial work into a dedicated art practice.

The concept of photographic vernacular pioneered by Stephen Shore serves as a point of departure for the work. A world of lush flora and ironies abound in unavoidable colour, structuring a journey from home into the muggy nights of southern Alberta, through to the San Francisco Bay Area and back to the prairie skies and suburbs.


© Louie Villanueva

© Louie Villanueva

“I am honoured to be the recipient of the Shutter Hub Emerging Photographer Award. Shutter Hub’s dedication to supporting and exhibiting creative photographers is an aspirational affair, spreading a kind-of gospel I’ve embraced for myself, the tenet of photography.

I’m looking forward to working with the director of Shutter Hub, Karen Harvey, and making the most of my Shutter Hub membership.

Thanks to Beth Kane, Dona Schwartz, and the rest of the Exposure Photography Festival team for this opportunity and all of the incredibly hard work they’ve put into supporting my and my peers’ work.” – Louie Villanueva


Exposure 2021

The annual Exposure Photography Festival presents exhibitions that showcase photographic work by internationally renowned practitioners, alongside emerging and established talent from Alberta. Exposure provides an exciting, innovative meeting place for photographers and art lovers to connect with one another, along with curators and photography professionals from around the world. The festival brings together people of all ages to celebrate Alberta’s rich photography scene and thriving creative communities.

Exposure 2021 is the seventeenth edition of the festival. Last year the festival received over 850,000 visits and this year, despite the pandemic, Exposure estimates a large audience to their extensive program of exhibitions and events hosted in galleries, local businesses, online and outdoors.


The Emerging Photographers Showcase

The Exposure Photography Festivalwill be exhibited at Contemporary Calgary from February 4 until February 28. The 2021 Emerging Photographers Showcase exhibitors, such as Louie, will also show their work in Exposure’s debut public exhibition Exposure Billboard; a city-wide exhibition presented via Pattison Outdoor digital billboards from February 1 until February 21. Furthermore, in collaboration with Multistory, Exposure will be co-presenting Emerging Artists Online Crit via zoom on February 26, 11am MST / 6pm GMT. During this event Louie and other Exposure 2021 exhibiting emerging photographers will be sharing insights into their practice.


See Louie’s Shutter Hub portfolio here, to find out more about his work, follow him on instagram, and visit his website here.



Not a Shutter Hub member yet? Join here  for opportunities to promote your work online and in exhibitions, access selected opportunities, events, seminars and workshops, meet up and share photographic experiences, and become part of our growing community…

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