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.
This is the Kamloops Daily News building on Seymour Street in Kamloops, British Columbia. The News ceased publication on January 11, 2014, another victim of the declining fortunes of the newspaper industry. The man in the suit pictured on the wall is long time editor and former Mayor Mel Rothenburger. The News survived when the Daily Sentinel newspaper folded and is itself survived by Kamloops This Week but it does leave the city as a one newspaper town. I worked at the News twice, once as a photographer when it was a tri-weekly and then again later when they went daily as the chief photographer. At those points in time the paper was located on Tranquille Avenue (tri-weekly) and then in the old Woodwards building, now BC Lotteries during the switch to daily publication). I’m guessing that the next time I’m in the interior visiting Kamloops the building will be in use for someone else or torn down/rebuilt. For now though it stands a reminder of local history and change.
This photograph, showing a worker descending a scaffolding staircase from the Granville Street Bridge to Granville Island in Vancouver, was taken in the fall of 2013. As a photographer you always hope that your images have an immediate visual impact for viewers but for photographers who work in a documentary mode you also hope that your photographs have a historical value. I enjoy looking at the photos of Curt Lang or Fred Herzog and observing the differences in the locations they photographed in the 1950′s or 60′s and seeing how they’ve changed. I wonder if a viewer looks at this Granville Island view 30 years from now and compares it with this photograph what will be the differences. Likely the bridge will look the same but I’m sure that at the very least the background skyline will be more crowded. Will the same roofline be there r will another building block this view.
We’re lucky to have images held in a variety of archives (the BC Archives in Victoria, the Vancouver Public Library’s holdings etc.) although they are general archives holding documents, objects as well as photographs. It is too bad there is no one British Columbia Photographic Archive or BC Photography Archive, whatever you’d call it, where one could view all the images held in collections.
A surfer walks past a van and board at Jordan River, British Columbia on Vancouver Island.
Even the Canadian flag hanging from the building seemed dejected by its current status