Well-known B.C. photographer Chris Harris brings his images to a presentation for the Allan Brooks Nature Centre next month.
Flyover: British Columbia’s Cariboo Chilcotin Coast, An Aviation Legacy is Harris’ latest book, written with B.C. writer Sage Birchwater.
The aviation history of the Cariboo Chilcotin is rich and colourful, with float planes coming first, followed by wheeled planes and helicopters.
Harris and Birchwater take readers on an aerial journey, told visually through Harris’ lens and with Birchwater’s story-telling prowess to draw on the memories and experiences of both bush-pilot pioneers and new generation industry, search and rescue and recreational flyers.
Published by Country Light Publishing, Flyover is a snapshot of a unique time and place, defined by the people who live it.
The spirit of independence, adventure, generosity, and confidence that drive the aviators in these stories to live the lives they have done and still do, is the same spirit that they showed in opening up their world for Harris and Birchwater to photograph and write about.
For Harris, his beloved and familiar Cariboo Chilcotin Plateau came to life to reveal a form of beauty that he had never imagined possible. As with astronauts seeing the planet from space, perspective wrought its magic and a new visual world captured his artistic passion.
These are the images he is most excited to bring to an audience; a beauty undiscovered and seen only by this handful of privileged pilots.
As early as 2008, while touring with his book, Spirit in the Grass and already shooting for Motherstone, Harris was approached by several pilots, both working and retired, who extended the offer of flights, should Harris ever wish to shoot from the air.
Never having photographed extensively from the air, and never willing to miss an opportunity, he started to seriously entertain the possibility.
Coincidentally, he and his wife, Rita, had just struck up a closer acquaintance with local author, journalist, historian and raconteur, Sage Birchwater.
So from an inspiration, an idea was born and a collaboration struck; the project was underway.
To tell their stories, Birchwater drew on his own sojourn in this high remote country, traveling familiar pathways and drawing out anecdotes he had never heard before, or had a chance to record.
“We have opened the door a crack,” he said. “Through these pages you can gain a sense of the wonder.”
Harris’ presentation takes place Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. at the Schubert Centre, with admission by donation and all proceeds to the Allan Brooks Nature Centre. Signed copies of his book will be available for purchase. For more information, call the centre at 250-260-4227.