Erlendson captures Canada through camera lens
By Logan Clow, Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune
Wednesday, May 2, 2018 6:08:50 MDT PM
Rick Erlendson is showcasing Canada through his camera lens.
The former Daily Herald-Tribune photographer and GPRC instructor has released his book “Oh, Canada: A Visual Celebration of Canada’s 150th Anniversary”.
The 416 page book features 1,070 pictures he captured through his five-month coast-to-coast journey across the country.
Erlendson, who now calls Calgary home, launched the project in April 2017. He left from his home in Calgary and began in Haida Gwaii, British Columbia. Using a camper van as a home and office, Erlendson logged 28,000 kilometres – from Haida Gwaii to Newfoundland and back – and snapped 90,000 photos along the way.
“It’s a different kind of book because I’m a photojournalist at heart, so it’s not a collection of landscape images the way a lot of coffee table books would be. I photographed people whenever I came upon people doing things,” said Erlendson, on Tuesday, ahead of his evening book launch at the Coca-Cola Centre.
“This book is breadth and depth. It has all kinds of images. It has everything from A-Z; everything from news photography to beautiful scenics. To make the book, I really wanted it to be iconic photography.”
One of his memorable moments during his trip happened near Vanderhoof. After being woken up at 3:30 a.m., the minutes to follow led to a “standout moment that led to some standout photography”.
“The sun was coming up because it’s in the north. I thought ‘I’m wide awake, I might as well get going’. About 20 minutes later, I came across this little pond that had all of this bizarre ground fog sort of steaming off it and the sun was just coming up. It was just a bizarre lighting situation. Some of the images I got at that pond are really magical... it was really profound and beautiful.”
The cross-Canada project was something he wanted to do for quite some, he said. Because of his photography schedule he wasn’t able to commit to it until last year. The timing worked out as it coincided with Canada’s 150th.
“What an incredible country. The size is overwhelming, the variety of landscapes and cultures… it’s a country of many countries and cultures,” said Erlendson.
“I just followed my nose. If I saw a sign for waterfalls or a lake I went in to check it out… just complete serendipity. It really worked out well. I landed on lots of small town parades, or ball games or 4-H achievement days and I could have spent years sniffing this kind of stuff out but I thought I would just encounter Canada as I travelled across and photographed what was in front of me.
“I loved exploring Canada, photographically. I was awed by the landscape every single day. And I was awed by the kindness of people I met in every community.”
Selecting 1,070 photos for the book, from a selection of 90,000, was no easy feat. He noted it took several months and was a massive undertaking.
Since its release, the book has garnered positive reviews, noted Erlendson, including one from Grant Black, the longtime chief photographer at the Calgary Herald.
“Put this book on your coffee table and leave it there. Pick it up often to remind yourself that Canada is an incredible place to live,” said Black.
Erlendson began his career at the Daily-Herald Tribune in 1980 – a position he held through the 1980s. He also taught at GPRC for nearly 20 years. He moved to Calgary a decade ago.
He is an active, independent photojournalist and currently teaches in the School of Communication Studies at Mount Royal University.
“Oh, Canada: A Visual Celebration of Canada’s 150th Anniversary” is Erlendson’s tenth book.
To purchase it, or for more information, visit www.oh-canada-book.com