Updated Feb, 19th 2013
As a Canadian, I might possibly be forgiven for being somewhat of a hockey fanatic. Like most other Canadians who admit to a similar preoccupation, we have our favourite teams and mine and my family's is the Vancouver Canucks. For 40 plus years I have been cheering on the myriad of players that have filled their ranks. Some years were easier to cheer - others, not so much. And for the last 20 years, my son has been right there at my side, but with greater gusto - call it the enthusiasm of youth.
In the summer of 2011, anticipating it to be a year of celebration, we planned a family vacation - to strike out and see the country that is Canada, and to make it truly special, we mapped every home town of every Canadian who had been a Canuck player over those 40 years, and visit those locales, recording our journey in pictures, to be taken by my son, Carson. A bit of extra information would probably be in order, Carson has been experimenting with photography for the last 11 of his 24 years, recently taking this personal interest to a professional level. Photography is more than likely in his genes. Thirty years ago I spent a number of years working as a freelance photographer. Now the pendulum has swung full circle, with both of us visualizing this new vocational effort for Carson.
Carson was born with Down syndrome, yet this has not been a hindrance to this, or any other creative effort he has tried. If anything, there is the very real possibility that this one small aspect of his individuality enhances his perspective on the entire process. The photographs were taken under the following pretext: we’d arrive at a town or city where one of the Vancouver Canucks, playing during the years 1970 – 2011, were born – that was the 379 Canucks odyssey. We looked for photo opportunities – knowing well in advance the likelihood of meeting one of these players was pretty remote. We just watched for something that spoke of the place or the people from the different communities visited. What would trigger the emerging photographer in Carson?
Many times on this trip, our expectations were far exceeded by the reality that is Canada. During the drive, it became evident that we wanted to share our experiences, especially Carson’s photography, with the world. Partly in tribute to the land that is Canada and the people that make it special, but as well, to show the world what Carson – and people like him – are truly capable of accomplishing.
That was when the idea of a book was formed – containing not only photographs of these far flung Canadian communities, but as well special stories of the NHL players that called them home and a journal of the trip itself. But how to complete the journey - although we spent 40 days on the road, travelled 16,000 kilometers, visited 84 citites and took over 1,200 photos, we came up short. So now we have a very unique and interesting way to complete this project and fill the book. In the last couple of years I have had the opportunity of meeting, through volunteering with Special Olympics, a number of other young adults with intellectual challenges, that share not only Carson's interest in photography, but also hope to make it their career.
To complete the catalogue of photographs, we are reaching out to all these towns, asking the local communities and Special Olympics athletes who live there, to submit photos to complete the book. These photos will be part of a contest, prizes will be awarded, and the photos used in the book will result in fair compensation for the photographers, and our hope is that the book itself will be a fund raising vehicle for their home community Special Olympics chapters.
The book will consist of the journal of our adventure, and what an adventure it was. Each city visited or contributed by our far flung amateur photographers, we will list the names of all the NHL players that call that their birth place and make special note of one or more players of distinction from that town. The bulk of the book will be photographs from the community - planned on being one per location adding up to 179 cities. And lastly we will include a short note about the contributing photographer and their involvment in photography and their respective community.
Rewards offered will include a print version of the book - we've already contacted a publisher that has successfully brought a Kickstarter book project to market, a downloadable e-version of the book, canvas enlargements of some of the photographs - Carson has had several well received exhibits of his work, and we expect similar quality from our other contributors. More rewards will be offered the closer we get to launch. A few examples of the artwork are inlcuded below.
Thanks for considering this project - we truly believe that Carson and other young people like him, have significant talents, skills and passions to share with the world, and this project is just the beginning.
Chateau Frontenac - Quebec City
Niagara Falls, Ontario