Poet Robert Service on Vancouver Island

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



Old Car, Nanaimo, BC 2013

March 14, 2015 | Filed Under BC Photography Archive, British Columbia, British Columbia Photographic Archive, Canada, Canadian, 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 



Vancouver Island Documentary Photographers

March 8, 2015 | Filed Under BC Photography Archive, British Columbia, British Columbia Photographic Archive, Canada, Canadian, 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, 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.



British Columbia Photography Archives

February 20, 2015 | Filed Under BC Photography Archive, British Columbia, British Columbia Photographic Archive, Canada, Canadian, Documentary Photography, From The Archive, Landscape, Pacific Northwest, Photographers, Photography, Urban, Vancouver Island | Leave a Comment 

Totem Poles and train caboose, Duncan, BC 2014

Totem Poles and train caboose, Duncan, BC 2014

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.



Dominion Market, Victoria, BC 2015

February 19, 2015 | Filed Under Architecture, BC Photography Archive, British Columbia, British Columbia Photographic Archive, Canada, Canadian, Corner store, Documentary Photography, Landscape, Pacific Northwest, Photography, Urban, Vancouver Island, Victoria | Leave a Comment 

Dominion Market, Victoria, BC 2015

A classic, corner grocery store, still open and serving the local neighbourhood.



Canucks Jerseys, Coombs, BC 2011

October 22, 2013 | Filed Under British Columbia Photographic Archive, Landscape, Personal Project, Photography, Road Trip | Leave a Comment 

Canucks Jerseys, Coombs, BC 2011

Canucks Jerseys, Coombs, BC 2011

Canucks jerseys, protected from the rain in plastic, hang outside a shop in Coombs on Vancouver Island. An image from the ongoing Salt Water & Rain series and the British Columbia photographic archive.



Unicyclist and Legion Branch #28, Cumberland, BC 2011

October 19, 2013 | Filed Under Art, BC Photography Archive, British Columbia, British Columbia Photographic Archive, Canada, Canadian, Documentary Photography, Landscape, Pacific Northwest, Personal Project, Photography, Road Trip, Street photography, Vancouver Island | Leave a Comment 

Unicyclist and Legion Branch #28, Cumberland, BC 2011

Unicyclist and Legion Branch #28, Cumberland, BC 2011

An image from one of my ongoing projects, Salt Water & Rain, which looks at west coast life, in particular the small town urban landscape. This photograph was taken on the main street in Cumberland on Vancouver Island. The photograph is also part of the British Columbia photographic archive.



Bucking The Trend, Printing Photographs Small

August 1, 2012 | Filed Under BC Photography Archive, British Columbia, British Columbia Photographic Archive, Documentary Photography, Exhibition, Landscape, Photography | Leave a Comment 

A couple of weeks off which has been good for some travel, Kamloops, Maple Ridge, Vancouver and Portland, and now I’ve been doing some printing. I know everyone seems to be going for big photographs but I’m enjoying making small prints.

 



Photo Group Talks

June 19, 2012 | Filed Under Workshop | Leave a Comment 

BC Ferries, Swartz Bay, BC 2012

I’ve spoken to a number of photo groups lately, showing some of my images and talking about the projects.

The audiences have been great, very appreciative and always lots of questions and discussion afterwards.

It’s a two way street though. I get lots of feedback on my images which is so helpful and it’s often a surprise which photographs resonate with an audience and why.

The other thing I find is that talking about my projects, both during the presentation and during the discussions after allows me to fine tune my own thinking about what I’m photographing and different directions I might take it.

In my main Pacific Northwest related project Salt Water & Rain I’ve been discussing as a way to find that within the local (landscapes, natural, manmade and cultural) that defines us, as opposed to the generic (chain stores and products) that makes us the same.However due to the presentations I’ve been thinking about more complex issues within that and trying to figure out how to present those. Issues like why certain cultural influences such as writing seem to be stopped by the United States/Canada border, especially since it is regional writing. Yes, the US and Canada are separate regions but the commonalities of the Pacific Northwest really do transcend the imaginary line that is the border.

So, thanks again to all those groups that have had me as a speaker.



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