While I began my photographic career in Vancouver as a
magazine photographer in 1977, I also became a writer in the 90s and I
contributed lots to the then Vancouver Sun and particularly on their Saturday
newsprint magazine, the Saturday Review and later to Mix.
In January 1993 I was assigned by Vancouver Magazine to photograph the not quite so infamous Jack Harmon’s The Family statue that was in front of the Vancouver Sun building on Granville. By July 2022 it had been re-installed in a hidden section of Granville Island.
Now at age 80 I look at all that as my rosy past. I miss being able to go to Vancouver Magazine’s Malcolm Parry or David Beers’s Mix (a much better re-incarnation of the Saturday Review) to pitch story ideas. Free-lance writers did a lot of that.
One of my pitching a story idea joke is about my friend Kerry McPhedran, who for a while was an associate editor at Vancouver Magazine and after that became a travel and architectural writer. Because she is a well-behaved woman, when she eventuallydies and goes to the portals of heaven she meets up with St. Peter. She immediately asks him, “Sir has anyone recently written about you ? I want to pitch the story to…”
But of course we know that there are no magazines or healthy newspapers where one can do this.
My solution is to write, art direct, edit (not too well) take the photographs for my own personal magazine as I am the “publisher” of a blog that is now at the 5772 count. I don’t care if anybody reads it or goes beyond the emojis. I take my cue from Joan Didion who told the NYTimes, “I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.”
The forthcoming story I have pitched to myself is about four over-80 men in Vancouver and one from North Bend BC. They have lots of knowledge in their head and all are extremely articulate and all possess a fabulous sense of humour.
Why am I doing this? Some people I know are working on a documentary on Arthur Erickson. There is a problem and that is that most of the people who knew him well are now dead.
We have to bring to light the excellence of such people as George Bowering (87) who was our first Parliamentary Poet Laureate (202-2004). We must pick their brain before they are no longer with us.
Try pitching that idea to our Vancouver Sun or to CBC Radio.