Willis Mc Letchie loves taking photographs of nature that she believes has beauty in its simplicity. She sees God's glory reflected all around her in everything; plants, flowers, the clouds, sun, moon, and stars.
In honour of her 75th birthday on May 17, relatives and friends joined together to celebrate the works of this creative woman by putting on an amateur photo gallery featuring her work called The Glory of God in Nature that was held at the St Mary’s Parish Rectory, Tacarigua, on May 4.
The exhibition was organised by Mc Letchie’s friend, event planner Wendy Maynard.
Although the author, poet, and songwriter wished that all of her work could have been displayed, it was just not possible in one evening as she has thousands of photographs.
Being able to showcase her photos so that others can see the beauty in the world around them is Mc Letchie’s main goal. She believes that people in these times are so busy that they miss the beauty of the small wonders around them in their everyday life.
Mc Letchie, a mother of three, is also a poet and amateur playwright and has even had one of her plays—Second Chances—performed by the Strolling Players (Freddie Kissoon) at City Hall.
The plaster casts of a horse, lion, cross, and cat adorning the walls at her Tunapuna home were also done by her.
Speaking to the Sunday Guardian, Mc Letchie said "My father, Arnold and my brother, Layne, both deceased, loved photography.
"I still have some of the black and white pictures my father took. My brother, Layne, was a cameraman for TTT. It’s in my blood.
I started taking pictures one day while walking around the Savannah.
"I looked up at the sky and saw an interesting cloud formation. It looked like an elephant going through the jungle. I was stunned and pointed it out to a lady nearby."
She expressed her regret at not having a camera like her father or her brother but was grateful that her daughter, Shura bought her a Sony Cybershot DSC T-77 digital camera which she has used to take hundreds of serendipitous pictures while walking or exercising.
What most people would bypass or not notice; a vine growing on a fence, a flower or weed growing on the side of the road or drain, foliage people would cut down, Mc Letchie would take photographs of them, exposing their hidden beauty in God’s design.
She said she found them so beautiful, sometimes she collected and pressed floral and leafy specimens.
Some of Mc Letchie's photographs such as water drops on a flower, the sky reflected in a river, lilies floating in a pool and a coconut tree reflected in rainwater in a drain are zen-like, eliciting a sense of well-being and serenity like watching a zen garden.
One of her photographs of a cloud formation resembles a nuclear bomb blast reminiscent of Hiroshima or Nagasaki.
After editing, printing, doing blowups and framing some of her work, Maynard suggested to her that she should hold a photo exhibition which was held in May.
Mc Letchie said with a laugh that half of the time she didn’t know the names of the flowers, but was captivated by their vibrant hues and contrasts in colours.
Her garden is filled with a variety of multi-coloured flowers, plants, trees, insects and even her two pet dogs. Some of the flowers change colour like moods, a plant that gives off a scent like a dead animal only for a single day when it flowers, a fat pork tree, butterflies, and bees.
Mc Letchie, an avid choir member at the Anglican Church, said while driving home with some friends from church, she saw a large sunflower in a neighbourhood that was around five feet and she returned with her camera to take photos of it as she didn’t know they can grow that tall and large.
She said on another occasion while she was on a PTSC bus she saw some lilies growing in a river before Morvant Junction, she was so captivated by the sight that she returned another day to take photographs.
Mc Letchie said she was also awed by the cycle of flowers and plants, how they died and regrew.
She said she began writing when she reached middle-age and got inspiration from everyday things like a visit to the market or hair salon.
A child bounced her foot in the supermarket with a cart and the parent failed to acknowledge and admonish the child, Mc Letchie said she was motivated to write a book on children’s manners and etiquette.
Mc Letchie said with a chuckle that she also wrote spiritual and inspirational messages under the heading "Trust in God" for the now-defunct Sunday Punch newspaper sending a message of hope to anyone who read it.
"I am amazed at God’s tapestry; he’s a painter and artist and I feel I must capture his masterpieces to share," said Mc Letchie.