Sidney artist healed by photography

Sidney photographer Richard Fisher holds his first art showing at Serious Coffee; giving back to Victoria Human Exchange Society.

Photographer Richard Fisher with his art work at his very first art showing at Serious Coffee.

Photographer Richard Fisher with his art work at his very first art showing at Serious Coffee.

Originally from Alberta, Sidney resident Richard Fisher says photography helped heal him.

“I find photography makes me look at things different, makes me be in the moment to acknowledge where I am and not be thinking about the future and the past…” he told the PNR over a cup of coffee at his go-to spot, and the location of his first art showing, Serious Coffee.

Fisher has been dealing with mental illness most of his life and later checked himself into the psychiatric wing at the Royal Jubilee Hospital three years ago.

“It was the best thing that ever happened to me, really learning how to manage my mental illness, how to manage my anxiety and to change the way that I think and prioritize things,” he said about his time there.

Fast forward to today, Fisher no longer attends the psychiatric day hospital. He is now the manager and facilitator for the Victoria Human Exchange Society (VHES), which is second stage transitional housing for those recovering from addictions.

Fisher himself was a part of VHES before taking his management role and lives in one of the men’s homes in Sidney. There is also a women’s house in Sidney.

He said by raising awareness and funds about mental illness and addictions, it has given him a purpose and he feels he’s more successful leading a wholesome and healthy life.

He also decided he would give back, helping others.

After approaching Serious Coffee’s owner and manager, his photography work is now being shown in the coffee shop. From his sales, 25 per cent will go to VHES.

“I find it’s just so rewarding,” he said about giving back. “It’s given me a real purpose in my life and I find when you give your life to something bigger than yourself it’s such a rewarding feeling, it feels so good. You just can’t go wrong.”

On display since the end of February, the show features 16 of his photographs, taken on Vancouver Island.

Prior to making his move to the Island, he shot with film.

“I was fortunate enough to spend a lot of time on the eastern slopes of the Rockies, beautiful opportunities there,” he said.

Fisher mostly shoots nature and outdoor photos and he’s also been photgrahping some of the work kids have done at Sidney’s skate park, before it gets torn down.

“It’s quite incredible. These are going to be the next generation of graphic artists here in Sidney so it’s really cool to record their work,” he said.

Fisher has been sober now for ten years.

“I feel really good about that.”

His photographs will be on display and sale at Serious Coffee until the end of this month.