Friday, May 24, 2024

Exploring Washington’s Beauty: Photography gallery set to open in downtown Leavenworth this spring

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LEAVENWORTH — Downtown will be welcoming its newest gallery this spring. Peter James Photography will feature nature photography specific to Washington State showcased on “larger than life” metal prints.

“I think most people have had at least one experience in nature where they were just really deeply moved. And that’s actually the goal of all my photography, is to recreate that, like let them viscerally have that experience on a daily basis,” said Photographer Peter James.

The 2,200 square foot showroom will be located at 633 Front Street, demarcated by a mural of Mt. Rainier and a photographer in lederhosen above its doors. The real showpiece, however, will be a six-foot by nine-foot print of Colchuck Lake and Dragontail Peak, displayed for visitors to see as they first walk in.

“My vision for the gallery is to be like a sanctuary for Washington State's beauty, where people can come in and just actually have their spirits lifted,” said James. 

The gallery will be designed for visitors to stay awhile, with a consultation lounge, an outdoor balcony overlooking the river, and a gift shop. The photos are incredibly high resolution, allowing for some prints to be custom-made up to eight feet tall by 30 feet wide. For smaller walls, two feet and smaller prints will be available to take home or shipped from the gallery. The metal print allows for extra durability and can be given a finish that makes it suitable for an outdoor space.

Early in his career, James realized that many photographers were traveling the world to take the same photos as everyone else. When he moved to Bellingham in 2002, he decided to dedicate his time to only photographing Washington, looking for hidden gems and new takes on iconic locations. 

James has had a gallery in Bellingham for the last five years but was looking to grow. During one of many visits over the decades, he decided that Leavenworth would be the perfect place for a second gallery. He spent the last year walking up and down Front Street, talking to shop owners, and waiting for an opening.

“Honestly, I would have waited three years. I would have waited as long as it took. I knew in my heart that it was meant to happen. Washingtonians and visitors to Washington love the nature here and they get lit up by it, and want to see more of it,” said James.

Over that year, James dedicated time to photographing the Upper Valley, which will be prevalent in the gallery. James has unique shots of the Cashmere Hills, Icicle Creek, and Tumwater Canyon. His favorite spot, however, is in the heart of town.

“I actually really love Waterfront Park, because it's such a gem and it's just right there. You have that beautiful view of mountains, you get the river, and you see the families having fun and feeding the ducks, and it's just a really special place,” said James.

It is anticipated that the gallery will open on April 1. The gallery will be open seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends.

“Long term, we’d love to stay open late every night, because we feel like going through the galleries is the perfect thing to do after dinner and in the evenings, when most of the shops are closed and people are looking for something to do,” said James.

A grand opening for the community is tentatively scheduled for May, which will be the first of many events that will be hosted in the space, including nature talks and a Valentine’s Day Ball. For more information, visit peterjamesphotogallery.com.


Taylor Caldwell: 509-433-7276 or taylor@ward.media

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