Newsletter #144-B: July, 2017
© Chris Harris. All rights reserved.
EVACUATION NEWSLETTER – Part II
“Turning a Crisis into Art”
This is a milestone newsletter. Not only is it the 144th monthly photographic newsletter without missing a single month (that’s twelve years), it’s a 3-part “Evacuation Special” newsletter. Share it with your friends. ‘Like’ and ‘share’ it on Facebook. Enjoy!
On Saturday, July 8th, I said goodbye to our home for a second time. This time the evacuation took me north. We begin this visual story where I left off in Newsletter #144 – Part I.
This story tells how I turned my evacuation time into an artist’s retreat. Although constantly aware of the crisis at hand, I remained calm by entering another world; the world of imagination and creativity.
Our goal at the Chris Harris Gallery is to share photographic adventures and inspire others in the creative process. Please share this Newsletter with friends. We appreciate your interest and continued support for my work.
- Evacuation: Leaving our home for a second time
- Turning a Crisis into Art
- Using Art to Develop a Sense of Place
- Subscribe to my Monthly Newsletter
Evacuation: Leaving our home for a second time
This time I travel north…to somewhere
After saying goodbye to our home for a second time, I found Hwy 97 blocked southbound. Not being able to return to the Horn ranch and my rescued possessions, I was forced to head north. I had no idea where I would go this time. I drove slowly and made the above image as I passed the 108 Heritage Site (I know; I am not supposed to photograph while driving!!!). It was deserted.
I pull in at Fir Crest Resort
I arrived at a road block at Lac La Hache and the officer asked me where I was going. I said. “I have no idea”. He smiled and said, “good luck”!
I drove on. I had the highway to myself. It was surreal. Then my cell rang. Because there was no traffic, I answered while driving (I know!) and it was Rita from up north in the Peace Country. She told me that Fir Crest Resort had just posted an invitation on Facebook to anyone who needed a place to stay; FREE! Can you believe it; I was driving right by the entrance to their resort!! I made an immediate left turn.
This became my home. Unbelievable!
I sheepishly knocked on the office door and introduced myself as an evacuee. I was welcomed in my Nancy and Adam Ragan who gave me a lakeside cabin and then proceeded to feed me three meals a day! What a place to be stuck; people come here from around the world on vacation! I was in heaven.
Holy smokes! The view from my cabin
Forest fire sunset
Smoke drifted over Lac La Hache from either the 150 Mile fire to the north or the 100 Mile House fire in the south. The wind changed constantly. We were all glued to social media for the latest news, always wondering if our homes were in danger or if we had to evacuate again.
Turning a Crisis into Art: Day one
A new day. A new adventure
Duggan and I were now extremely close buddies. He sensed the change and was always by my side. I told him we were going on a photographic adventure. I suddenly had time to be creative without a single office distraction. So I decided to do something completely new. I put a fisheye lens on a single camera body, and with no tripod, Duggan and I left our cabin and entered a small forest on the property. Duggan was excited because he was going on a walk. I too was excited, but I didn’t know why yet.
Wow! This was a magical forest
The gift of life is imagination and creativity. By using a new perspective, I was about to turn a small forest into a world of endless artistic possibilities. I was on cloud 9. I temporarily forgot my real world predicament.
‘Wow’, a second time! The forest was enchanted
It was also eerie, mysterious, and haunted
Creatively exhausted, Duggan and I head back to the cabin
I made dozens and dozens of exciting imagery that day. By looking at my surroundings through a different lens and a new perspective I had turned an ordinary forest into an enchanted one. I had also turned a day with nothing to do, into a day of stimulating visual adventures.
Back at the lake shore
Nancy and Adam were even so kind as to take Duggan and I for a boat ride around part of Lac La Hache. I photographed bald eagles and, of course, smoke!
Using Art to Develop a Sense of Place: Day two
Art is a process of discovery, and discovery requires experimentation, taking chances, being free, and looking up as well as looking down.
Making a picture of one’s own reflection in a window is part of that process!
I am primarily a landscape photographer, but that opportunity was limited where I was, so I decided to push myself in a new direction. I challenged myself to look at the row of cabins and all the other buildings on the property. I was about to develop a sense of place at Fir Crest Resort through the craft of photography and the art of seeing and discovery.
Fir Crest Resort: abstract I
I could have made documentary or representational images of the buildings, recording them in the exact same way as anyone who was with me would have seen them. How interesting is that?
Fir Crest Resort: abstract II
To hold my interest and excitement for the day, I decided to interpret my surroundings, not record them. So I eliminated all context and made images that were completely abstract. The elements of line, shape, colour and contrast became the centre of interest in and of themselves. These images hold no reality. They became inscapes of my imagination.
Fir Crest Resort: abstract III
I had a blast. I was engrossed in the world of artistic expression; complete abstraction.
Duggan, on the other hand, said it was rather boring! Not enough action he said!
A Message to New Visitors
Smoky sunset through the forest
For those of you who have been referred to this Newsletter as a result of the forest fires, my partner Rita Giesbrecht and I welcome you and we invite you to subscribe. They are photographic newsletters designed to teach photography, inspire others in the creative process, and share photographic adventures in the Cariboo Chilcotin region of British Columbia.
If you are visiting the Cariboo, come by to visit the Chris Harris Gallery to see slide-sound shows on the region, photographic art, and many of Chris’ books on the region. Chris also teaches photographic workshops and is a public presenter.
By subscribing, you will be notified by email once a month when they are posted.
“Evacuation – Part III” will follow in Newsletter #144-C. Stay tuned!