GVPL Central News Visual

“Flora and Landscapes of Vancouver Island” by Stephen Ruttan @ GVPL Central Branch

2 May – 24 July 2023
GVPL Central Branch
735 Broughton St, Victoria, BC

Artist Statement:

A driving force behind my work has been a growing involvement with the environmental movement. It became increasingly important to show people the beauty of the Island, as clearcutting and other actions were destroying it. At the same time I was learning what that beauty was composed of. Very visible, of course, were the giant conifers of places like Carmanah. But our ecosystems had much more than that. Southeast Vancouver Island has a very different ecosystem to the lower Mainland. We have a range of wildflowers that are not found around Vancouver. It became a goal of mine to capture that beauty.  

The photographs you see in this show are my efforts to capture that beauty. Our wildflowers blooming in the spring are one of our great visual glories. Capturing them on film is often not easy. Because some flowers are very small, I often had to photograph while lying flat on the ground, operating a camera and tripod a few inches off the ground. But the results were frequently worth it.  

As for our landscapes, gloomy, rainy weather can often yield some of the best pictures. One of my favourites, San Josef Bay, was taken in the pouring rain, with me holding an umbrella over my tripod. Wet weather often produces some of the richest colour. Look, for example, at moss in the rainy season. It often glows an incredibly rich green.  

I hope people enjoy these pictures, as much as I enjoyed taking them. And more than that, I hope it will be a learning experience. The natural world of this Island really is worth saving.      

About the Artist:

I was born in Victoria in 1947, and spent my childhood here. After graduating from Library School at UBC in 1975, I got a job at the Greater Victoria Public Library. And there I was employed for the next forty years.   When I was thirty I started to photograph seriously and I was becoming active in the environmental movement. I was active with the Sierra Club in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, when the anti-logging protests were at their height. I have been involved for many years in the Friends of Ecological Reserves. Currently I am president of the Victoria Natural History Society.