Not Far From Home

Wendy Kwan

Recently it seems, Russ and I have been fielding inquiries as to why we don’t photograph much in British Columbia, our own backyard playground. The answer is we do photograph in BC, particularly in the south west corner including the lower mainland and Metro Vancouver. The queries motivated us to review our print and negative archives, and led to the discovery we have indeed been amassing a significantly large body of work involving BC subjects.

In part, this review has led to the formalization of works involving local subjects that are quite specific in nature, such as Hard of Housing, Afternoons with Andy, Salt Spring Island, and Mountain View Cemetery.

Indeed a few BC created photographs also made the cut for Chasing Light Stranger, our internationally recognized book released in 2006.

The photographs selected for “Not Far From Home” provide an intimate view of British Columbia, presented through local eyes. From small coastal islands to the significance of the Fraser River, the spirit of the land and influence of its settlement is demonstrated by quiet reference to natural landscapes, artifacts of human presence, and bodies of water that dictate life in every corner of the province.

I foresee this body of work may well become a life long evolutionary project for both Russ and I.  In the tradition of photography, there are many approaches to developing bodies of work - some time limited and short term project oriented - while others evolve slowly and over the life of the photographer. My personal roots for Not Far From Home can be traced to the 1970’s, exploring and photographing with my Dad in the back country around the Fletcher family ranch near Smithers BC, at that time still owned by my Uncle Al and Aunt June. Russ and I also have an archive of colour slide photographs, taken in many locations around BC during the 80’s and 90’s. Though these early photographs will never form part of this body of work, they serve as inspiration points for the photographic study of our home province.

I expect we will add to this body of work as our travels continue and further photographs come to light.


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