AT THE END of July, we moved to Vancouver’s North Shore in the Pacific North West coast of Canada. That’s me, husband, two daughters and two cats. It was a bit of a scramble to get everything together. Our life was deeply embedded in the UK and it wasn’t easy cutting our ties from everything that we knew and found comfortable. And yet the idea of living somewhere new was appealing. An adventure. An opportunity for our girls to experience a different place and learn something else about the world we live in. Of course, we weren’t moving to, for example, Africa or South East Asia or Japan where language would be a barrier and our cultural way of life would be so very different. I admire people who take themselves completely out of their comfort zone and embark on life experiences that most of us wouldn’t even consider. Yet people do, they survive and make the most of things. We told ourselves and others, ‘if it doesn’t work out we can always come back’. After a while, though I’m thinking what does that even mean? When talking about where we used to live I try to say ‘in the UK’ rather than ‘home’. If I keep calling the UK ‘home’ then where do we live now?
The North Shore
Now we live in a leafy suburb of North Vancouver, at the foot of where the mountains rest, away from the city, a quiet spectacular gateway to the interior. From the verandah of our house, we can look out over the tops of trees, our neighbours’ houses and even further out across the bay to downtown. It’s a breathtaking view. Over the summer the smoke from the many wildfires, drifted across and over the city, shrouding the buildings in a dusty haze. For two weeks it settled in the air. I read that the particulate matter in the air causes the blue light to scatter, allowing the longer wavelength red light to shine through. It gave wherever we looked an apocalyptic vision.
What does this have to do with photography?
Everything. And nothing. And something. For a time I carried on posting photos up on Instagram, trying to continue the routine I had had in the UK. After a time though I stopped. And it’s been maybe three weeks since my last upload. It was hard seeing the lovely photos from my friends’ feeds ‘back home’. It’s hard to explain. Or maybe it isn’t. I guess I just miss them all terribly.
And because I’ve had quite a bit of time to think, I thought that what I really wanted to do was pay more attention to this blog. To write a visual journal of what I see and photograph whilst out and about in the place where I live now. I usually have my phone with me and sometimes one of my vintage cameras. It’s a rare day when nothing is photographed.
So I’m starting here; going back a bit, then forward and sometimes around which all seems a bit topsy-turvy (and reminds me of a carousel). But then I’ve felt a little like that recently. Topsy-turvy. Everything being unfamiliar. It takes me hours to shop in the supermarket. I travel up and down the aisles, scanning the shelves, searching for items on my list and then stopping to marvel at tubs of ice-cream that resemble a small bucket. I miss Marmite, Walker’s crisps and sausages. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve googled ‘What is All-purpose flour?’. My tennis assessment at the tennis centre was 15 minutes of humiliation. The ball I returned failed either to get over the net or sailed up, up, up into the air. At the end, I was told I was ‘a bit rusty’. No shit. The upside was I had scored enough points to merit a place in the 2.5 clinic. I’m not exactly sure what that means but my new tennis group seem very nice and I think I’m playing better.
So, here are a few pictures from recent days and some weeks ago. I will try to be more organised in future with my posts of From the North Shore. But in the meantime, I just want to get started and show willing. To reveal something of where I am in the world should you want to know.
2. The red sun
3. Lynn Creek
4. The salmon hatchery at Cleveland Dam
5. Cleveland Dam
6. In the creek behind our house
All photographs © Tanya Clarke 2017