February 28, 2015 | Filed Under BC Photography Archive, British Columbia, British Columbia Photographic Archive, Documentary Photography, Personal Project, Photographers, Photography, Photojournalism, Street photography, Vancouver Island | Leave a Comment
A good read from Mark Hume with photos by John Lehman in the Globe and Mail about ghost towns that still exist (for now) in British Columbia. Story can be found here. Another reminder about how our built landscape disappears from view, taking a part of our history with it.
February 20, 2015 | Filed Under BC Photography Archive, British Columbia, British Columbia Photographic Archive, Documentary Photography, From The Archive, Photographers, Photography, Vancouver Island | Leave a Comment
Looking for inspiration for my own work I’ll look at the work of contemporaries but I also like to look through collections of the work of documentary photographers who photographed in earlier eras. The British Columbia Archives is the largest collection in the province (and the most diverse) but the Vancouver Library has some interesting holdings including images from the collective the Leonard Frank Memorial Society, not to mention the archives of Leonard Frank himself. The Vancouver city archives hold a great deal of photographs as well.
Memory BC provides link to a number of archives.
The universities can be a good source too. The University of Victoria archive is here and the University of British Columbia is here. If you’re looking for a specific photographer than you may have to chase down an archive holding that photographer’s images. The Belkin gallery at UBC holds Roy Kiyooka images. They can be searched here.
Most smaller centres have their own archives as well and they can be useful if you are looking for something specific to a city.
A classic, corner grocery store, still open and serving the local neighbourhood.
The Travellers Hotel on the main street in Ladysmith on Vancouver Island has seen better days. The construction of the hotel was completed in 1913 when the town was an important coal shipping port. although a miner’s strike in 1912 had halted the economic boom that had been underway.
The former Victoria public library building, constructed for $53,000, was financed by American Andrew Carnegie. The neo-Classical stone building was completed in 1905. A four storey addition was added later, that construction was finished in 1951. The structure which served as a library for over 75 years, and now known as the Carnegie building is used for office space.
Businessman Andrew Carnegie donated money to build 2509 libraries around the world including 125 in Canada.
The photograph above has nothing to do with the post. It’s a street scene from downtown Victoria, where every year over the Christmas season, the owner puts up a inflatable snowman, often the closest we’ll come to snow in our west coast climate.
If you are a reader, discovering a new writer whose words you enjoy is obviously always a treat. I tend to read mainly non-fiction and the writers I enjoy, and whose books I keep, are those who I will go back to and reread every year or two. This process, will over the years, weeds out some books after a time. I’ve found with certain non-fiction books, those that deal with current events, can lose some of their appeal as the events fade, the writing not strong enough to carry them a decade later.
I find as well that you re-read differently. That time and experience add to the experience, making it better, or sometimes relegating the book to the used book store pile.
I’ve just discovered Geoff Dyer, a prolific British writer. I’m currently ploughing through his non-fiction, he’s also written novels, after discovering his selected essays and reviews ‘Otherwise Known As The Human Condition’. For me when I discover a writer whose work I like but also find that he/she has some interests that dovetail with mine then I tend to grab everything they’ve written
The essays cover a couple of lesser known photographers who I’m interested in, William Gedney and Michael Ackerman, as well as writers such as the Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski among other topics. That book led me to his book on photography, ‘The Ongoing Moment”, his latest ‘Another Great Day at Sea, two weeks on a US aircraft carrier and am currently ploughing through ‘Yoga For People Who Can’t Be Bothered To Do It’, a sort of travel book. He’s eclectic if nothing else although themes carry through. His interest in photography and lack of personal ability at it pop up though out his various pieces.
An odd observation from the aircraft carrier book. He is paired on the two week trip with British photographer Chris Steele-Perkins, a member of Magnum Photos, the famous photographer collective/agency. He refers to Steele-Perkins simply as The Snapper ( a British bit of newspaper reporter slang for a photographer), never mentioning him by name and only momentarily mentioning the photographer’s work on the boat. It seems an odd act of omission given his interest in photography.
When I finish the Yoga book I have his work on D.H. Lawrence ‘Out Of Sheer Rage’ and then will probably re-read some of the essays before leaving Dyer for a bit. His essays will be a keeper for the shelves.
This family corner grocery store closed right at the end of December 2014. It sits across from a small garage and hair stylist, a small pocket of neighbourhood commercial enterprises. When this photo was taken there was someone inside the premises cleaning and packing up.
The details in the window already attest to a time in history especially the sign referring to the DVD sale as the store rented videos and we all know that is a business that still barely exists at this time.
Last week the Calgary Herald ran an article and photographs on the last occupied house in downtown Calgary being demolished. A nice look at changing demographics, times and urban life. It also shows the value of documenting existing landscapes and lifestyles while they exist.
The current bus depot, located behind the Fairmont Empress Hotel, is soon to be torn down and replaced with high end condo units. No replacement location has yet been announced for the depot. The current location is ideal for visitors as it is right downtown and a very short distance from most attractions and the Inner Harbour.
The MV Uchuck III was built in Oregon in 1942 originally for use as a minesweeper. It now carries both passengers and freight along the west coast of Vancouver Island. Website at http://www.getwest.ca/the-uchuck
Artist Rachel Berman died in Victoria on May 28. I can’t claim to have known her very well but I had really liked her work and two years ago she agreed to let me photograph her. After that, we’d often run into each other on the street and have a chat. She would encourage me to photograph other artists, making suggestions about possibilities, and chiding me (gently) for not doing so. She eventually moved back to Toronto for awhile and then I’d heard she had come back to Victoria. I kept expecting to once again come across her walking through downtown, but it never happened. A lovely memoir/obituary from Robert Amos in the Times-Colonist.