There’s one picture among the 27 Ernie Kroeger has on display at the Cube gallery that holds a special place in his heart.
His late wife, Glenda Mathew, took it in 2008 — about two years before she died of cancer. In the photo, Kroeger is walking a dried up riverbed near the confluence of the North Thompson and Thompson rivers.
The exhibition, on until Nov. 3, is appropriately enough titled Confluence. Not only because of that photograph, but because the confluence of rivers is on display in many of the photographs, he said.
And Kamloops is derived from the Shuswap word Tk’emlups, which means confluence, said Kroeger. There is a component to the exhibition revealing 27 different spellings of Kamloops.
“I feel this is a way of acknowledging those connections. Not only our (he and his wife’s) connection but the connection to place, to Kamloops,” he said. “It’s kind of an unusual exhibition for me.”
Kroeger’s photographs have been shown at the Kamloops Art Gallery before. Confluence is a combination of history and personal connections.
A photography instructor at Thompson Rivers University, the idea for Confluence was born out of one of his history of photography courses.
He said photographic history is primarily based in Europe and the United States with little focus on Canadian. He began introducing Canadian content, then B.C. content. It didn’t take long before he was exploring photographs taken in Kamloops.
Kroeger’s search took him from the Kamloops Museum and Archives to archives all over B.C. and Canada.
He discovered the first photographs taken in Kamloops were snapped in 1865. Those he found in the national archives in Ottawa. He travelled there last year to see the originals and had high-resolution copies made. These appear in Confluence.
Kroeger has compiled images up to the 1960s. He considers it a fairly complete photographic representation of the city confined only by space in the gallery.
“There are 27 photographs and 27 different spelling of Kamloops,” he said. “I don’t know if there is any significance to that,” he said.