By D Niko Holmes
I was born in Steveston, a small fishing village located in the Gulf of Georgia where the Fraser River meets the Pacific Ocean. My mother’s family is rooted here, having settled with other Japanese Canadians in the early 1900s, cultivating the fertile Pacific with fishing trawlers and a booming cannery industry.
My father was a Montrealer who had hitchhiked out west, hopping islands across continents. My childhood was filled with idyllic sunsets, sprawling farmlands and the sounds of grasshoppers and frog song. At night, the constellations were prodigious; the big dipper poised overhead as if drawing from the Milky Way could quench the wonder of a wanton stargazer.
After my father’s unexpected death in early 2015, I returned to Steveston, performing the same journey he had made several decades ago. Another hop landed me on Salt Spring Island, a tiny member of the innumerable Gulf archipelago.
These photographs were taken on Salt Spring. They are an attempt to describe the unimaginable divide between the living and the beyond. The great and terrible beauty of loss looms over the water, a colourful and gentle permeation; forgiving, yet cold in its eternity. These photos serve as remembrance and as a reminder that those who are gone are not lost.
As for me, I am a butcher by trade, working with small, local Quebec farms to provide respectfully raised meat in homage to olden style butcher shops. I run a theatre company with my partner, making what is hopefully thought-provoking albeit very strange and oddly funny indie productions.
Photography has been a long-time passion and method of expression, and I have been published in Diet Cola Zine (2013 and 2018), Montreal’s literary magazine Carte Blanche Issue 23 (2015) as well as exhibited at Cafe Kafein (2016) and Psychic City (2018).