'Victoria in the '80s was a different place': Photographer documents city's history in massive archive
VICTORIA -- There’s a series of pictures of Colin as a kid wearing a beret, looking here and there, keenly observing the world around him.
“When I was about four years old, my father gave me my first camera,” Colin says.
His dad was a photographer while serving with Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in Korea and taught his son the potential power of pictures.
"'You know you’ll forget things over time,'" Colin recalls his dad saying. "'But if you take pictures, you’ll never forget.'"
A couple years later, Colin’s mom offered him a different perspective.
“‘Taking pictures is great,’” his mom said. “‘But you really should write everything down.’”
So Colin decided to do both.
His daily journals — which he continued for decades — began in 1973, chronicling the mundane ("I talked on the phone to D. for 20 minutes") to the momentous ("John Lennon is dead").
Colin’s collection of more than 10,000 photographs documents the people, places, and paraphernalia that create a community.
“The theme that runs through my photo collection is change and development,” Colin says.
He has observed how fashions have evolved, buildings were demolished and rebuilt, and the cost of gas has risen from 39 cents.
“Victoria in the '80s was a different place,” Colin says. “We were like a small town and now we’re a wonderful big city.”
Colin says the Victoria Archives has agreed to take his entire collection so future generations can take a deep look at the world around them, as Colin’s parents inspired him to do.
“That’s what’s stuck with me my entire life,” Colin says. “When you take a picture or make an observation, look at it from a variety of different perspectives, get the whole picture.”
That picture — Colin wrote in a recent post to the Old Victoria Facebook group — just might show you that Victoria “despite its flaws features inexhaustible beauty that permeates time and place, tireless beauty that will astound you, if you let it.”