An eye for talent

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Scott McClelland is the owner of Group B Galleries, located on East Second Street. (Daniel McKay/Whitefish Pilot)

Group B Galleries is a place for well-established and emerging photographers to display their work side-by-side.

Whitefish’s newest gallery is the passion project of Scott McClelland, a photographer himself who last fall relocated here from Seattle with the goal of opening his own gallery focusing almost exclusively on photography. Group B is set to hold its grand opening on Thursday, May 3 as part of Whitefish Gallery Nights.

“I don’t consider myself the best photographer hanging on these walls,” he said recently while standing in his newly renovated art gallery on East Second Street that was previously a computer repair shop.

“But I can recognize talent,” he adds. “I can give photographers the chance to get their voice known to the world.”

McClelland describes himself as an avid enthusiast of photography. He’s been studying photography for about seven years and last summer graduated from the Rocky Mountain School of Photography’s intensive program.

It was his experience at the photography school that prompted his goal of opening a photo gallery. He was part of the B group at the school thus inspiring the name of his gallery.

“By the end of the summer intensive we all thought it would be neat to have our photographs hanging in a gallery,” McClelland said.

During a career in software development, McClelland spent years working for a number of different companies in Seattle, and was only finally able entertain the idea of opening his own gallery after his aunt passed away leaving him an inheritance. He decided it as time to get off the “roller-coaster” of working for a new company every year and researched locations in Montana before settling on Whitefish.

McClelland was born in Argentina, lived in Peru and has traveled the world first for his hobby of scuba diving and more recently on photography trips. He spent several years hiking all but 70 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail.

On many of those early trips he went without a camera.

“Photography filled a creative void for me and I love to travel,” he said. “Now I can’t imagine not taking a camera. It sort of hit me that I was missing out on something.”

On his first photography trip to Greenland he met up with a childhood friend and connected with other professional photographers, which led to eventual photography trips to Iceland, Spain and Norway. He is planning a photography trip to Africa.

“I was the amateur in a group of professionals on that first trip and I learned a ton,” he said.

Since moving to Montana, McClelland’s focus has shifted to photographing Glacier National Park and the Whitefish area. He has reached out to photographers in the Glacier Camera Club and met others while having dinner at local restaurants.

He expects photos in the gallery to feature Montana — primarily Glacier National Park, Whitefish and wildlife.

“I want to have something for people who have come through and want to take home something to memorialize their trip,” he said.

Photographers featured in the gallery from group B, include: Roxy Bell, Rochelle Carlson, Scott McClelland, Gina Samsel and Kate Verna. Local and area photographers and painters in the gallery, include: David Armer, Becky Lucas-Blackwell, Amy Boring, Victor Brozovich, Sarah Ehlen, William Feffer, Sumio Harada, Kathryn Hayes, Sashay Mitchell, Suzy Lindsay-Moore, Nicholas Parker, Kevin Porto, Kasey Richter and Carly Swartz.

Group B Galleries is located at 220 East Second Street.

The gallery will hold its grand opening on Thursday from 6-9 p.m. The event includes, a $1 raffle with proceeds going to a Stumptown Art Studio Scholarship, a chance to win prints and other prizes, special guests from The Glacier Conservancy and BNSF, along with live music by Brett Holmquist, Karl Ross and Jamie Wyman, and food and refreshments.

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