Al Bersch & Leslie Grant, 2005-ongoing
The Forestry Project explores logging and forestry practices in British Columbia. In 2006, Bersch and I lived in Fernie, BC and photographed employees and contract workers of Tembec, a forest products company, at active logging sites, the sawmill, and at their homes. In addition, workers donated their own photographs to be integrated with ours, historical images, and research materials into a curated collection about logging in Fernie. This year, Bersch and I continued our exploration on Vancouver Island during a residency at Wildwood, a sustainable logging research forest near Nanaimo, BC. We set up a darkroom there, and made our photographs using a 4x5 camera and direct positive paper so that the process could be completed on site. Our research also included archival materials from the Harmac Pulp Mill that operates nearby. We layered with our images, snapshots of Wildwood donated by the caretaker of the property and an ecologist who works there, and archival materials from Harmac in an installation at the Nanaimo Art Gallery in November 2015. These collages will be documented after the exhibit is finished Ė we didnít have the opportunity to do so beforehand because of the timing involved in borrowing materials from the archives.
With thanks to: Jesse Birch, Jennie Cane, Walt Fanning, Bruce Hepburn, Warren Hill, Don Jakubec, Vic and Linda LaLonde, Aaron Phillips, Jay Rastogi, Shauna and Kevin Roberts, Wes Staven, Janet Mostad, Joe Tress, Jodie & Scott Whitbeck, Richard Zurim, Ecoforestry Institute, Fernie Historical Society, and Nanaimo Community Archives.