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Helen ‘Henny’ Schnare

Picture of Henny Schnare
Contributing Photographer

I was born in England in 1960 and spent my earliest years in the idyllic rolling countryside of South Devon near a place called Holbeton on the river Erme where it meanders into the sea. My earliest memories are of water and wide expanses of country with a sense of freedom and adventure right on my doorstep.

My father at the time was a documentary film producer for the BBC and avid photographer so there were always cameras around. He showed me magic in his darkroom. The work was fascinating. Photographs seemed to come from nowhere onto the page that bounced back and forth in shallow basins of odd smelling liquids. Then we would hang them up to dry with old fashioned clothes pegs fastened on thin fishing line strung overhead.

When his career took him to WGBH in Boston our family made the big move to America when I was seven. This meant more adventure. This time it was the excitement of going on one of the last voyages of the ocean liner the Queen Mary. More memories are cemented by photographs of watching the Statue of Liberty becoming bigger and bigger as we peered over the railings.

After six years we returned to England and as a teenager I finishing college in London and couldn’t wait to travel again. So I joined my father on location in India. He was now with UNESCO and needed help driving a car across the sub-continent to Hyderabad in central India. With my first camera, a Canon A-1, I started photographing everything and a short time later took an even more epic train journey up the coast of the Bay of Bengal and across Northern India with a friend. This time I was even more thorough and detailed and recorded the entire voyage on countless rolls of film. I remember we had to plan our trip literally ‘from fridge to fridge’ to keep the precious rolls cool! Six months later I was back in England where I met the love of my Life, Thomas.

We have been married now 25 years and after many more adventures we chose to move from the mainland to Galiano Island to raise our two children. I started Galiano Photography as a business a couple of years later in 1992.

My work now comprises principally Wedding Photography on and off Island for the last 12 years and a passion for creating memorable outdoor portraits for families who live here or visit the Islands.

I have an abiding love of the theatre and spent several years heavily involved with our local company that’s associated with The Galiano Club. This was extremely rewarding volunteer work and I was fortunate to work with an incredible talented group of Galiano people to co-produce (and photograph!) three Shakespeare plays on our Island which were sold-out hits, fund raising much needed money for the restoration of our 1928 South Galiano Hall.

The last production, “As You Like It” we managed to bring across the water to great success “in-the-round” at Artspring on Saltspring Island, the first time this had been done.

Presently, I supplement Wedding Photography work with magazine assignments whenever possible; coverage of local events and artisans and I maintain a series of a 100 local postcards and descriptive greeting cards for both Galiano and Salt Spring Islands. My photographs have been featured inside and on the covers of Westworld Magazine and such trade publications as The Pet Professional.

So now it’s onto the next adventure! It’s always a joy for me to photograph this exquisite place we are lucky enough to call home. These southern gulf Islands are truly unique, their beauty and the wildlife that lives among us are captivating. My big cameras will always be at-the-ready, poised to capture the striking and the next unexpected thrill of a wild encounter, These will be the ballet swan and the beaver of the future all of which I look forward to bringing to our devoted Island Tides readers!


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