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Throughout the 2016 Community Campaign, we used a stunning image of Fort McMurray as our backdrop to drive of meeting community need.  The artist behind the image is Graham Whatmough.  His gift in capturing the beauty of the community, even after the fire, is truly remarkable.  We thought you might be interested to learn more about this talented local photographer.  Here is a series of questions we sent him and his answers:

1. Where are you from and what brought you to Fort McMurray?

I’m from St. Thomas, Ontario . 8 years ago the west was booming and I came out here looking for adventure and a good job.

2. How did you use the art of photography to come to terms with the Fort McMurray wildfire?

Getting out with my camera is something I’ve always enjoyed, it’s therapeutic in itself. I also always try to to show off the beauty of Fort McMurray with my photography so it forces me to really focus on the good things.

3. The image you kindly allowed us to use to promote the 2016 Community Campaign was stunning. How did you go about capturing it?

I took a series of about 30 photos with a UAV (drone) and then stitched them together. That spot is near my house and I’ve always enjoyed going there and photographing, so after the fires it was one of the first places that I went to take pictures. I was pretty happy to see that it was still beautiful.

4. There are many types photography – landscape, urban, portraiture, documentary, etc. – do you have a favourite? If so, why?

The aerial photography landscapes and cityscapes is a lot of fun for me and it seems to also be what people like to see the most. Aerial photography can give you a new perspective on an area you’ve see a thousand times, it’s always exciting to see the view from even just a couple hundred feet up.

5. Were you taking pictures during the fire, evacuation and re-etnry? If so, is there one that stands out to you as the most powerful?

I took lots of photos and video during the fire and evacuation but I only like to focus on ones that create positive feelings. ‘New Beginnings’, the one that you used for your Community Campaign is what I always try to come back to.

6. What are you doing now with your photography and what is coming up for you in 2017?

I’m fairly busy working on my contracts but whenever I have a bit of free time I like to get out and photograph the city. There’s some big things in the works for 2017 but I’m not going to spoil the surprise

To learn more about Graham, visit his Facebook page “Where the Highway Ends” by clicking here.


Author: Russell Thomas

​Russell is a marketing and communications professional who has spent 20 years in Wood Buffalo working with the OK Radio Group, Keyano College, Arts Council Wood Buffalo, and now with The United Way of Fort McMurray. A regular blogger, Russell's writing can be seen online ( and in multiple publications. His paintings can be seen in homes and businesses throughout the community. Married to Heather and "Papa" to Dylan and Ben, Russell is a passionate spokesperson for United Way.