Pyres is a study of refuse wood piles at the end of Iona Island, in Richmond, BC. Iona Island sits at the western end of the Fraser River Delta. A salvage and recycling company is situated there to collect the wood debris and flotsam flowing down river into Georgia Strait.
I have been going out to this location every 4 to 6 months to photograph the piles of wood and other junk – old wharf pieces, tires, boat bumpers. A regular returning to this spot affords a new view every time, as the piles of wood and debris are in a constant slow morphing and shifting, with the wood being eventually ground into mulch and loaded into barges for use in other wood products.
These large wood piles resemble pyres set for spiritual of religious purposes, or the crumbled and dilapidated remains of the company towns that were erected to house the mining and forestry workers of the early 20th century. Epic in stature, these wooden hills mimic the mountains they once grew upon. (awaiting the corpse of a once great king).
There is another aspect to these images; that of the role of the heavy machinery workers who move and organize the pyres and piles with their excavators and bulldozers. In a way I feel as though they are the artists themselves – creating sculpture out of the refuse of the formidable forest industry of British Columbia, capturing the detritus flowing from it’s main transport system – the Fraser River – and assembling the pieces, forcing us to consider where this wood came from and the effects of our constant encroachment into the forest.