Antoine Gaber gathers 165 images for exhibition being previewed at March 11 event

Niagara Falls artist and photographer Antoine Gaber has always loved the Great Lakes, but it wasn’t until he saw them from a cruise ship that their real beauty hit him.

Over a span of five cruises in three years, Gaber put his camera to work. The result is the stunning photo exhibition “Navigating the Great Lakes,” which will soon be seen at the Prestigious Museum in Mexico as part of the “Water for Life” international exhibition.

But he’s giving Niagara Falls the first look at the Flowing Waters Masquerade Night of Arts and Fashion March 11 at the Americana Conference Resort Spa & Waterpark, organized by the local Filipino community.

The series consists of 165 images of the five Great Lakes: Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario.

Gaber — a member of the Niagara Falls Arts and Culture Wall of Fame — says he hopes to reveal the natural treasures people may not know they live near.

“I think a lot of people have no idea how beautiful our Great Lakes are,” says Gaber. “And I think it’s a great opportunity to show all these beauties internationally.

“A lot of people have no idea how big these are. How deep. And unfortunately, the commercial impact of the Great Lakes. There’s several threats in the ecosystem.”

The Great Lakes provide clean drinking water for 48 million people and hold 84 per cent of North America’s surface freshwater (21 per cent of the world’s supply).

They appear one way from land. But once he got a different “perspective” from cruise ships, Gaber says there was a whole new appreciation.

“The views I was able to capture are just fascinating,” he says. “You are on the water and sometimes you can go for miles with nothing around, but the colours of the water, the reflection of the sun, it’s just gorgeous.

“My favourite was Lake Huron. It had the most beautiful colours of waters and seascapes.”

Born in Egypt but raised in Niagara Falls, Gaber says he was always “harassing” people with his camera as a kid. It would become synonymous with his love of nature as an artist, photographer and filmmaker.

He launched the “Water for Life” series in Niagara Falls five years ago — a series of artworks inspired by the theme of water.

“I love nature, I love water,” he says. “It brings you peace of mind and soul when you regroup with nature. It helps with the healing process with all the stress we go through.”

The Masquerade event will include local Filipino performers along with a showing of Filipiniana gowns and barongs. Tickets are $95 .