PHOTOS Graeme Owsianski
What sparked your interest in photography?
When I was a kid, it was shooting black and white film photos of my friends skateboarding and wanting to shoot photos like the ones I saw in the mags. I chased that for awhile and photography eventually evolved for me into a way to explore my surroundings or things I was interested more in-depth.
What do you love most about British Columbia?
Honestly, the ocean and forest. B.C has a lot to offer and has so many spectacular regions and areas, but for me itâ€™s the coast. I canâ€™t be away from the sea.
Is there a specific adventure or place that sticks with you?
There are a couple. The most recent adventure that has stuck with me was from last summer. For three years I had been fascinated by this lake that was formed by a landslide and the trees that remained stuck out of the water as silver snags. No one really goes there and itâ€™s super hard to access. I thought it would be cool to canoe along this lake full of dead trees. I hiked there twice, flew over it, and spent a good amount of time on google maps trying to figure out how to access the lake and get a canoe there. I finally just went for it and carried a canoe for 6+ hrs through dense brush and over a landslide of boulders, left the canoe there, hiked back a week later with some friends when I knew the weather would be right for the photos I wanted, and spent the day canoeing around what seemed like a sunken ghost forest.
Do you find it difficult to maintain authenticity when creating content and posting your work on Instagram?
It can be. Instagram these days is a fickle beast and itâ€™s easy to get sucked into trends or what works, but at the end of the day the images youâ€™re creating and sharing should genuinely mean something to you. You should be passionate about the work youâ€™re doing. It should be something youâ€™d want to share or show your friends or people even if it wasnâ€™t on a social media platform.
I spent 5 month putting cedar shingles on a house awhile back and thought it would be interesting to meet the people that make them. So often common products and the people that make them get overlooked, when thereâ€™s a whole backstory to the process.
How can photography on social media play a meaningful role in conserving wilderness?
Iâ€™ve heard a number of times before that â€śby showing beautiful places youâ€™ll inspire people to protect those places,â€ť which can be true, but I donâ€™t think itâ€™s that straight forward. I think itâ€™s important to show the stress that certain places have on them and why. Nobody wants to see pictures of the ocean filled with garbage and plastic, but itâ€™s a reality. People just need to get involved and be the voice we need in conserving wilderness. Having 400k followers and posting nothing but banger nature photos isnâ€™t giving anything back to nature, if youâ€™re not using your voice to tell your audience thereâ€™s some grim truths facing the places in those photos.
Are you involved in any cause or social initiative that you would like to tell us more about?
I love the beach, ocean, and fishing, so I try to give back and be active in my community. I volunteer with @clayoquotcleanup doing beach cleans focused on removing marine debris from our shorelines. And I volunteer and donate to @cwfsrestoration, which does a tremendous amount of work restoring salmon habitats in our streams and rivers that have been damaged by past industries. Itâ€™s incredible to see how much hard work goes into these projects and the importance of them for the future of salmon. Please, if you have a moment, take a look and get involved.
Early morning prawn haul in Clayoquot Sound, Tofino.
Name 3 Instagram accounts that inspire you.
Jeremy lives in the town next to mine and Iâ€™m constantly blown away by his work. He spends a lot of time on and in the water and it shows, with images I canâ€™t even image capturing.
I first saw his work when he shot for Filson and it had such an edge to it. Itâ€™s raw and has grit to it. It has a real-people-doing-real-work type vibe.
This guy has been on some trips. The raw adventure of his travels is in every one of his photos.
Where to find Graeme Owsianski:
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