“Five generations of my family have been a part of the forest industry in British Columbia, from falling old growth trees and clear cutting to contributing to local sustainable harvest initiatives and environmental responsibility. My great-grandfather and great-uncle, in providing for their families and future, fell many of the actual trees whose remnants you now see in these photographs. It was in this familial context, filtered through the contemporary environmental crisis, that the seeds of this series were sown.
These iconic remains of the old forest serve as both a meditation on the human-altered landscape and as metaphor for the natural world that supports me, the contemporary globalized culture I am an active part of and the essential incompatibility of the two.
This incompatibility is evident in our forests through the historical lens of conflicting cultural and social attitudes. British Columbia’s First Nation people harvested trees as needed by their local communities over the millennia—a truly sustainable approach reflected in the majestic forests found by the arriving Europeans. Colonists added an overriding attitude of “commodification,” extracting timber for sale into the expanding global market and contributing to serious concerns about the long-term sustainability of our forest ecosystems.
The cognitive dissonance arising from the dilemma of participation in, and yet responsibility for, the fouling of one’s own nest was a dominant theme guiding this project.
Although the pattern of progress and disaster has been repeated throughout human history, the urgency I now feel in our globalized world is one of scale . . . a scale said to be so vast, perhaps nearing a point of no return. No doubt evolution is progressing as it should, which brings some measure of comfort, yet I cannot help but feel apprehension for the life my family will lead in the not-too-distant future.”