Phil McLachlan, former editor of The Free Press, will be making his way back to Fernie this week to launch an exhibit at The Arts Station.
Stories from the Shadows, is a compilation of some of McLachlan’s most memorable stories gathered while working at The Free Press from 2016 to 2019.
“Stories from the Shadows came about because the people that I highlight in the show are people whose stories may not have otherwise gotten out to the large part of society,” McLachlan explained. “They are very well known within their micro communities but I think they have stories worth sharing because a lot of them share the characteristic of being inspiring, so that’s how I chose the images.”
McLachlan went on to say that choosing the 11 feature images was incredibly difficult because during his three years at The Free Press he met so many amazing people. This will be McLachlan’s first solo show and he’s certainly excited to share his reporting and have an excuse to come back to Fernie.
“People might think that small towns don’t have good stories and I think that’s really not true,” said McLachlan. “I discovered that when I was in Fernie. Small towns do have great stories and there’s a lot of amazing people that live in the valley.”
One of the goals of McLachlan’s show is to give “kind of a tribute to Fernie” which the former editor added has been invaluable to his development as a person and as a journalist over the last few years.
“It’s kind of a way to say thank you to everyone who welcomed me into their livingrooms and opened up and trusted me to share their stories,” he said.
The four week long exhibit kicks off on January 30 at 7 p.m. and McLachlan will be in attendance to reconnect with the community and celebrate his work. For anyone who attends the exhibit, McLachlan thinks there is an important lesson to be learned.
“Reading stories about people who are movers and shakers in the community and people who have a goal and have something to say is healthy for us as individuals because it challenges our own beliefs and I think that’s a really healthy thing.”
Since leaving The Free Press in November, McLachlan has continued to use journalism to encourage openmindedness and community focus as the editor of the Penticton Western News.