Wildfires Project Information
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“These images engage the mind, heart, and senses at once – bringing us into the cataclysm of runaway fire through unexpected pathways that avoid sensationalism.”
- Miranda Massie, Director, Climate Museum
Since 2011 I have been working daily on a long-term project, an anecdotal archive, functioning as memory, recording, encoding, and storing milestones of incremental changes in the global climate system. Nestled within this greater series, the photographs of Wildfire began appearing unexpectedly, again revealing accumulations emerging over time, now through the smoke from fires both local and global.
Victoria, in British Columbia, Canada, where I live, has had intense periods of smoke envelope the city since 2017.
2020 experienced a record-breaking wildfire season stretching through California, Oregon and Washington states. In Vancouver BC (58 miles from Victoria) air currents pushed the smoke north from the USA, and September 12 through 14 saw the air quality reach the worst levels of any major city on the globe. The smoke reached across North America and could eventually be seen as far away as Northern Europe - over 8,000 kilometres (5,000 miles) away.
The summer of 2018 also saw unprecedented wildfire events around the globe: fires broke out north of the Arctic Circle, California had both the first and second largest fires in their history, Greece had the second deadliest wildfires this century, and smoke from fires burning in Siberia crossed to North America affecting both the US and Canada. Here in the province of British Columbia it was the worst fire season to date, surpassing record-setting 2017 with a greater number of fires overall and a larger total area burned. A state of emergency was called on August 15th lasting through September 7th. Wildfire smoke left some areas in the province with the worst air quality in the world and air quality alerts were issued as far away as Prince Edward Island on Canada's east coast, over 4000km away.
As the forests continue to dry with ever-increasing temperatures I expect this work will continue. Welcome to the Pyrocene...
"Accomplished, effective, highly coherent as a body of work. And very ambitious."
- Jury, Prefix Prize 2022
“The dichotomy of something beautiful walking hand in hand with the ugly truth is a reality with which I am yet again invited to halt, think, re-think, and change.”
- Jury member Joseph Calleja for Points of Return