Farming may not be the first thing people think of when they think of Vancouver Island, but there is actually a rich heritage of farming here. Some of the oldest farms date back to the early 1800's. Some are still in regular production, and some are under utilized, but they are still important to the people that were raised on the land.
I recently had an opportunity to make some wet plate images for a client whose property has been in the family since 1885. While not the oldest farm on the island, and currently just producing hay, some tree fruit crops, and Christmas trees, the connection my client has to the land is clearly visible.
We made several plates during my five hours on the farm, starting with the barn, which is original to the farm. The barn was quite far from the darkroom, and the heat was climbing so I needed to work fast to ensure the plates didn't dry out.
Next we moved on to the houses. There are two houses on the farm, neither date back to the beginning of the farm, but they are both quite old. The first house we photographed was built around 1920 or so. This was actually the second house built on the property, but as things go, a larger house was needed so this one was built. In the background, through the trees an out building is visible.
There was another house built on the property in the late 1930's for the next generation. As was often the case with farms, property gets subdivided and the children get the option to build on the property. This is the home my client grew up in, his bedroom window is visible.
Finally, we moved across the road the Christmas tree lot. This is only a small part of this large lot. The client wanted to ensure we could see the lake in the distance, as well as a few of his prized trees. While I was making the plate for this shot my client was ever so gently pruning the tree, just as a master with a bonsai.
By this point in the day the heat in the van had climbed to nearly 40 celsius. At that temperature my chemicals begin to act up, so we cut the session there. We ended up with five great plates that will hopefully help tell the story of the family farm well into the future.