Everything is a subject to Wylene Van Guilder and her camera

April 7, 2008

By Jen Bakken
Staff Writer

There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words.

For some, a picture is worth far more than words can express. This is true for Wylene Van Guilder of Delano.

As a young girl, she followed her father and his camera everywhere. Growing up, she then followed in her father’s footsteps by stepping behind the camera, and she still finds joy in taking photographs today.

“My dad had a thing for pictures,” said Van Guilder. “He used to do contact prints.”

A contact print is a photographic image produced from a film. The print is made by exposing the film original onto a light-sensitive material pressed tightly to the film.

In the dark, or under a safelight, an exposed and developed piece of photographic film is placed against a piece of photographic paper.

While light briefly shines through the negative, the secondary paper is developed into a contact print.

Creating contact prints is how Wylene started her photography hobby, and in high school, her pictures won awards at county fairs and the Minnesota State Fair through her 4-H group.

One winning picture was of her pet cat, and another was of her younger brother.

“I took the picture when my brother was being a brat,” she laughed. “It turned out nice, so I entered it, and lo and behold, it won.”

As a child, she was in 4-H for 10 years, which enabled her to foster her love for photography. She also took pictures for her school yearbook and newspaper.

For years, she used her father’s old camera until he purchased her a new one, and now she uses a digital camera.

“I love the digital, because you can put them on the computer and work with them right there,” she said. “You can go from taking the picture, editing it, to printing it so fast, and it’s fun.”

Wylene and her husband, Stan Van Guilder, have four children; Nikki, 25; Brittany, 22; Christopher, 21; and Tyler, 19.

They have lived in Delano since 1980. Moving here was suggested by their insurance agent, Lloyd Greip, and they have never regretted the decision.

“This has been a great place to live and raise our kids,” she said.

Wylene works as a medical technologist for University of Minnesota Medical Center Fairview, and has spent 19 years working the night shift.

While her children were young, she was very involved in Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts, and now that they are grown, she is looking forward to having more time for photography and other hobbies.

She enjoys anything that involves being creative, from painting to gardening, and walks or jogs for fun.

With her camera in hand, anything is a subject to Wylene, but she particularily enjoys taking pictures right outside her back door.

“I have 6-and-a-half acres of nature right here at my house,” she said. “And then, there’s Tails (the family cat), and my son, Tyler, is photogenic, and really fun to take pictures of, too.”

Motorcycle trips with her husband have provided many opportunities for pictures, as well.

Taking his Honda Goldwing to places like South Dakota, Wyoming, Tennesee, and Kentucky has proved to be more than just a trip to this photographer-at-heart.

“My husband kind of rolls his eyes sometimes,” she said with a smile. “He teases me about always having to stop so I can take pictures.”

Currently, Wylene has many of her photographs on display at the Delano Public Library, and there are many other things she would like to do now that her children are adults.

After years as a leader and the director for Girl Scouts, den leader for Boy Scouts, making the altar service schedule for St. Peter’s and Joseph churches, working, and raising four children – she hopes to have time for her hobbies.

“It’s my time now,” she said. “I’ve sort of cleaned my plate, but there’s too many things I like to do and still not enough time to do them.”

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