Portraits of British Columbia writers

April 29, 2015 | Filed Under Arts, BC Photography Archive, British Columbia, British Columbia Photographic Archive, Canada, Canadian, Cascadia, Documentary Photography, Literary Photographer, Pacific Northwest, Personal Project, Photography, Portrait, Vancouver, Victoria, Writer, Writing | Leave a Comment 

I spent over a decade photographing Canadian writers, a project that resulted in a few exhibitions and two books published by the Banff Centre Press (the second one here). That project petered out after the second book, pushed to the side by the usual  reasons, making a living etc.

Two years ago I thought I might start creating portraits of writers again but while I did make a brief start at the end of 2012 that attempt was short circuited by a couple of events and I just haven’t tuned my focus back to portraits.

I did take a look at the images the other day and thought I should post them.

My feeling is that writers, even those that have some success, are still less-known than the average music or tv/film star. Maybe you know the writers below, all from British Columbia, or maybe not but they are all worth checking out.

Esi Edugyan

Esi Edugyan has had enjoyed a considerable amount of attention for her book Half blood Blues which won several major awards and was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize. Her site is located here.

Steven Price

 

Steven Price originally published as a poet but is now producing novels. His latest By Gaslight is set in London in 1885 and made the news for the substantial contract he signed for the book. Price is married to Edugyan. Some info on him here.

 

D. W. Wilson 1

D.W. (Dave) Wilson has recently returned to British Columbia after getting an advanced degree in England. He writes both short stories and novels. His first collection had the great title Once You Break A Knuckle. His site, although under construction right now, is here.

Brad Cran

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brad Cran is a Vancouver based poet, non-fiction writer, photographer and , as well, an accountant. I’ve photographed him before, he is featured in the Banff Centre Books. He was the Poet Laureate for the City of Vancouver His website is here.

Brian Fawcett

Finally we have  Brian Fawcett, a former Vancouver city planner, has lived in Toronto for quite a while but continues to write often and well about British Columbia. he has had many books published but you can get a sense of his work here at the Dooney’s Cafe site. This photograph was taken at the Vancouver Writers festival and was my first chance to meet Brian whose work I’ve enjoyed for a long time.

 

 



Coaltown Auto Wreckers, Nanaimo, BC 2012

April 19, 2015 | Filed Under Architecture, BC Photography Archive, British Columbia, British Columbia Photographic Archive, Canada, Canadian, Cascadia, Documentary Photography, Nanaimo, Pacific Northwest, Photography, Road Trip, Street photography, Vancouver Island | Leave a Comment 

Coaltown Auto Wrecking, Nanaimo, BC 2012

Old school garages and auto wreckers are almost as appealing a subject as neighbourhood corner stores. They are disappearing just as fast too. Coaltown is a reference to Nanaimo’s past as a coal mining town.



Entertainment Posters Victoria, BC 2015

April 8, 2015 | Filed Under Arts, BC Photography Archive, British Columbia, British Columbia Photographic Archive, Canada, Canadian, Cascadia, Documentary Photography, Entertainment, Fine Art, Pacific Northwest, Photographers, Photography, Street photography, Urban, Vancouver Island, Victoria | Leave a Comment 

Entertainment Posters, Victoria, BC 2015

I like seeing texts in photographs, signs, billboards, posters, they all add  information about a scene or time.

Street signs can locate a photograph. Grocery store signs and cafe menus can show us familiar or unusual food and/or how much prices have changed since the image was created.

This photograph of entertainment posters in the window of a guitar shop on Blanshard Street in Victoria was taken this week.

It gives us an overview of upcoming shows. If you’re here you can take in punk,country, jazz, psychedelic or hip hop music. You can read books or take in a poetry reading at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.

Two weeks from now these events will all be history. Two years from now it’s likely some of these performers will be history as well.

The photo however will keep these entertainers and events alive (and hopefully still entertaining) for future viewers.

 

 



Store Street at Johnson, Victoria, BC 2015

March 29, 2015 | Filed Under Architecture, BC Photography Archive, British Columbia, British Columbia Photographic Archive, Canada, Canadian, Cascadia, Documentary Photography, Fine Art, Pacific Northwest, Photography, Street photography, Urban, Vancouver Island, Victoria | 1 Comment 

Store Street at Johnson, Victoria, BC 2015

Pedestrians use an protective covered walkway to walk in front of the historic Janion building (not seen) on Store Street in downtown Victoria, British Columbia on Vancouver Island. The Janion, a long empty and decrepit former hotel, is being converted into micro-loft condominiums. To the left is Swans Hotels and Brewpub and across Johnson Street on the left is Market Square.



Poet Robert Service on Vancouver Island

March 25, 2015 | Filed Under Architecture, BC Photography Archive, British Columbia, British Columbia Photographic Archive, Canada, Cascadia, Documentary Photography, Landscape, Pacific Northwest, Photography, Road Trip, Street photography, Vancouver Island, Victoria, Writer, Writing | 1 Comment 

The Bard and Banker Pub on Government Street in Victoria.

The Bard and Banker Pub on Government Street in Victoria.

Almost everyone living in Victoria knows that Robert Service, the writer who became known as the Bard of the Yukon for his poems such as The Cremation of Sam McGee and  The Shooting of Dan McGrew after moving to Whitehorse, worked as a bank clerk for the Bank of British Columbia on Government Street before that move.

The bank building opened in 1862 and operated as a banking facility until the late 1980′s. Totally renovated a few years ago the building now operates as a pub and restaurant called, in honour of Service, The Bard and Banker.

Service didn’t move to Whitehorse until 1904 but he was writing poems well before that, even before moving to Canada. The Daily Colonist, now the Times-Colonist, published several of his poems between 1900 and 1902.

A small plaque marking another of the author’s publication sits alongside the road to Cowichan Bay just outside Duncan. the plaque commemorates that he published ” poem local press 1903″. The plague is inset into a stone chair next to a major local history marker.

Close up of Robert Service memorial plaque.

Close up of Robert Service memorial plaque.

It was a surprise to come across this plaque commemorating this celebrated writer on a quiet country road seemingly miles from anywhere. That said, a historical search reveals that Service worked as a store clerk in Cowichan Bay in 1899 so maybe he felt a connection to the local paper.

Historical markers on road to Cowichan Bay

Historical markers on road to Cowichan Bay

So Service is memorialized in both the name of a pub on the site of his former workplace and on a small plaque on a back road in rural Vancouver Island.

You can check out the Bard and Banker and their fine selection of beer on tap here and for more info on Robert Service here.



Athlone Apartments, Victoria, BC 2015

March 17, 2015 | Filed Under Architecture, BC Photography Archive, British Columbia, British Columbia Photographic Archive, Canada, Canadian, Documentary Photography, Landscape, Photography, Urban, Vancouver Island, Victoria | Leave a Comment 

Front view of the Athlone Apartments showing the three stair towers.

Front view of the Athlone Apartments showing the three stair towers.

This amazing apartment building always catches my eye driving down Quadra just before Beacon Hill Park. The Athlone Apartments feature three stairwell towers on the front that open to outside curved stairs. The back side of the building faces out over large  treed lawn to the park. The building apartments are now owned and the building is run as a co-op. It was designed by architect S. Patrick Burley and built in 1947.

Rear view of the Athlone Apartments.

Rear view of the Athlone Apartments.



Old Car, Nanaimo, BC 2013

March 14, 2015 | Filed Under BC Photography Archive, British Columbia, British Columbia Photographic Archive, Canada, Canadian, Cascadia, Documentary Photography, Nanaimo, Pacific Northwest, Personal Project, Photography, Road Trip, Vancouver Island | Leave a Comment 

Old Car Nanaimo, BC 2013

The wreckage of an old car lies along along a creek bed in the Richard’s Marsh Park area in Nanaimo, British Columbia.

You can see enough of the vehicle still to tell it is 1920/30′s range of vehicle so has been there quite a while.

It’s impossible to tell if it was just dumped there or whether it was placed there in a haphazard manner to stop erosion from the creek, which looks like it probably overflows it’s banks and floods in the wet months.

 

 

 

 

 

 



Surf Motel, Victoria, BC 2015

March 12, 2015 | Filed Under Architecture, BC Photography Archive, British Columbia, British Columbia Photographic Archive, Canada, Canadian, Cascadia, Documentary Photography, Landscape, Personal Project, Photography, Road Trip, Street photography, Urban, Vancouver Island, Victoria | 1 Comment 

Main entrance to the Surf Motel on Dallas Road.

Main entrance to the Surf Motel on Dallas Road.

The Surf Hotel is an architectural fixture on Victoria’s Dallas Road waterfront. A visually appealing anomaly among the residential units lining the road.

The motel was built in 1960 by a Saskatchewan farmer Peter Mangelson who had been spending his winters in Victoria. He spent $3500.00 for the lot.

The building was designed by architect Bob Siddall, who designed other local projects including  UVIC’s McPherson Library.

The Surf Motel and all 14 units.

The Surf Motel and all 14 units.

There are only 14 units  in the building and they were built with kitchenettes and mailboxes in case the motel didn’t work as a business and needed to be converted to apartments..

Mangelson ran the motel with his wife Alice and family  until the mid-70′s when one of  their sons took over the business.

The classic old Surf Motel signage.

The classic old Surf Motel signage.

Rooms rented for $8.00 a night when the motel opened in 1960, this year high season rates are $155.00 a night.

You can check out the hotel here.

A view from the side looking across dallas Road to the water and the Ogden Point breakwater

A view from the side looking across dallas Road to the water and the Ogden Point breakwater

 



Vancouver Island Documentary Photographers

March 8, 2015 | Filed Under BC Photography Archive, British Columbia, British Columbia Photographic Archive, Canada, Canadian, Cascadia, Documentary Photography, Landscape, Pacific Northwest, Personal Project, Photographers, Photography, Street photography, Urban, Vancouver Island, Victoria | Leave a Comment 

A classic old school road side restaurant, the Royal Roads Cafe, in Colwood, British Columbia.

A classic old school road side restaurant, the Royal Roads Cafe, in Colwood, British Columbia.

I find it interesting to look at other photographers who are working on similar projects, if only to see how they look at the world differently. Locally a number of us are photographing our immediate world, shooting land/street/environmental scapes of Vancouver Island. One surprising discovery was that all these photographers are men, the women I know shooting documentary tend to shoot people, not exclusively, of course, but as their primary subject whereas the men seem to focus on the land, natural and built around them.

Here are a few links to other photographers doing documentary work on Vancouver Island. T.J. Watt’s work has an environmental and outdoors angle. David Pollock looks at the local landscape with a wry eye at times. Quinton Gordon uses avoids digital technology as he explores the area, he’s been creating interesting diptychs recently. Duane Prentice incorporates old industrial remnants into his landscapes. Tristan Shouldice is more of an urban wanderer looking for classic street photography. The husband and wife team of Scott Laurie Johnson combine some great writing with visual exploration of heritage sites from their Duncan base.



British Columbia Ghost Towns

February 28, 2015 | Filed Under BC Photography Archive, British Columbia, British Columbia Photographic Archive, Canada, Canadian, Cascadia, Documentary Photography, Landscape, Pacific Northwest, Personal Project, Photographers, Photography, Photojournalism, Street photography, Urban, Vancouver Island, Victoria | 1 Comment 

Not a ghost town but a sign from a ghost car lot. Victoria, BC 2015

Not a ghost town but a sign from a ghost car lot. Victoria, BC 2015

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.



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