The idyllic hamlet of Jordan River clings tenaciously to the south west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. A popular destination for recreational pursuits from surfing to skeet-shooting, it is situated in the Cascadia Subduction zone, the geographical region of Western Canada that has experienced the greatest tectonic activity. This is profound considering that the settlement is located 12 kilometers downstream from a hydroelectric power station and two aging concrete diversion dams constructed over a century ago. In December 2014, BC Hydro released scientific findings that a large-scale earthquake would result in the collapse of the dam and the complete inundation of the town site and adjacent campground within minutes. They claimed a rebuild was too costly and decommissioning the structures was unfeasible as they provide 35% of Vancouver Island’s overall generating capacity. As of May 2016, all but one resident of the remaining eleven waterfront homes had negotiated a buyout with BC Hydro and agreed to relocate elsewhere. In March 2017, save for the single holdout and his cabin beside the ocean, what remains of the town will be razed.
In early 2015, I began frequent trips to the area to learn more about the history of Jordan River and make photographs documenting its transformation. Using traditional film techniques sensitive to the near-infrared section of the light spectrum, I have compiled a visual record. The reasoning behind this choice of material is threefold. First, much of it is no longer commercially produced and as such is on the verge of disappearance. Second, its development was encouraged by scientific, forensic and medical desires to see beyond the capabilities of human vision, and to reveal hidden details and sub-surface faults. Finally, it has an aesthetic quality that lends itself to the recording of a familiar scene in an unfamiliar way. In addition to these images produced from lens-based means, I am also collecting artefacts of human intervention that are contact-printed directly onto photographic paper and water samples from the mouth of the river itself to be utilized in the process of “erasing” the emulsion from the surface of aerochrome film stock over time. This project is ongoing and will be updated in this gallery as it further evolves.