Special to The Morning Star
Little did Okanagan Life senior editor Laurie Carter suspect when she met Toronto writer/photographer Bruce Kemp while on assignment in Malaysia that 10 years later, Kemp would join her in the Okanagan, they would be married and collaborating on a book Gifts of the Okanagan.
“This is our first book together,” said Kemp, who will join Carter in Vernon Saturday to sign copies of the book at Bookland from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. “When you have two people with a lot of publishing experience, you can’t let egos get in the way, so I basically took on the role of photographer and followed Laurie’s direction as the editor and publisher. That’s the only way it would work.”
“We did a weekly newspaper travel column together for several years so we know how to divide up the work and get the job done,” says Carter.
Inspiration for the book began at signing events for the popular Grandma Wears Hiking Boots, released by Carter in the fall of 2010.
“People were constantly telling me they loved the photos in the book – they just wished they were bigger,” said Carter, who wrote the text to accompany the photos.
“About 70 per cent of the photos were taken by me. I’ve been living and working in the Okanagan many years longer than Bruce, and also the style of the book called more for the type of shooting I do. The action shots and some of the wildlife shots are Bruce’s.”
However, the stunning cover shot by Kemp is her favourite.
“Driving home from a shoot in Summerland, Bruce saw a massive storm developing with amazing light. He was on that section of Highway 97 between Summerland and Peachland where there’s nowhere to pull over, so he just kept praying the light would hold. He made it to the pull-out at Antler’s Beach, jumped out of the car and managed to get off just eight frames before the moment was gone. Bruce knows how to seize those truly special gifts – and we had our cover.”
Kemp’s favourites? The cover, of course, but he also loves last summer’s action shots of the swimmer and triathlon cyclist.
Some of the photos span a 20-year shooting schedule.
“The image of St. Anne’s church at O’Keefe Ranch was taken in the late ‘90s,” says Carter. “It’s not my most recent, but it is my favourite. But most of the photos were taken in the last couple of years.”
The geographic coverage in the book is from Armstrong (IPE) in the north to Osoyoos in the south and from Silver Star on the east to the backcountry just west of Keremeos (Cathedral Provincial Park).
Originally from Toronto, Carter is passionate about her adopted home.
“Selecting the photos was very difficult. I was concerned with presenting images that represent the special things – the gifts – of the Okanagan, so there had to be the bounty of the earth, culture, outdoor activities, and images that convey the beauty of the valley and the backcountry,” she said. “After that it was a question of choosing images that worked well together on facing pages in terms of subject and colour.”
Together the duo has formed Little White Publishing Company and have, to date, published five books. For a sneak preview of Gifts of the Okanagan, visit www.littlewhitepublishing.com/books.html.