The first half of the body of work (“Intrusion”) has its genesis in 1991 while exploring central B.C. I was originally motivated to photograph the landscape as an exploration of formal concerns. I began by documenting natural landforms, evidence of human intrusions and alterations imposed on the landscape. Work shot on and around the Chilcotin Plateau proved to be the most informing. The area appears to be a vast and empty land with a few pockets of development and habitation hugging a lonely highway. This lack of development highlights what development there is, and transforms it to the level of symbol. These symbols became the threshold into the body of work and the resulting images became the impetus for continued investigation. Though these symbols appear almost futile in that part of B.C., they speak of an imposition of foreign values. As in the rest of the hemisphere, the land was taken; the natives were alienated and are marginalized. The first six images and text consider this process.
The second set of six images “Occupation” considers questions of our use, ownership and occupation of the land. What will be the state of the “Landscape” if we continue down the road our culture has chosen regarding land use and resource exploitation? Whose “Landscape” is it in the light of the fact that ownership of over 80% of B.C. was never relinquished by the first nations and, though it was arrogated by the Crown, (contrary to British laws of the day) proper compensation was never tendered, treaties never negotiated?
Seen as a whole, “Intrusion/Occupation” is a series of meditations on a collision of cultures. By considering the deep differences between the two cultures’ perceptions of their relationship to the land and their place in the natural world, the work functions as a critique of the illusion of the superiority of our religious and cultural values.