Tayu Hayward finds adventure in We Don’t Live Here Anymore

 A nice article that I found in the Georgia Straight by Robin Lawrence.  Sounds like an exibition worth seeing.



Tayu Hayward: We Don’t Live Here Anymore
At the Teck Gallery, SFU Vancouver, until November 23

Tayu Hayward’s colour photographs form an unusual exhibition for an academic setting. Handsomely composed, richly hued, and often dramatic shots of wilderness settings in Canada, Japan, and the United States, his work could easily find a home in a glossy geographic or adventure-travel magazine. Instead, Hayward’s small show of landscape images, subtitled We Don’t Live Here Anymore, is on view at the Teck Gallery at Simon Fraser University’s Vancouver campus.

Although Hayward describes what he does as environmental photojournalism, his position is more celebratory than critical, as gallery director Bill Jeffries points out in the show’s introductory panel. Jeffries notes that Hayward is not going the Ed Burtynsky route, using his camera to demonstrate the massive impact human beings have had on the natural world. Instead, this young photographer, who recently graduated from McGill University with a degree in geography and environmental studies, hikes or bikes into remote areas, far removed from the malignancy of development.

Snowy mountain tops, glacier-fed lakes, redwood forests, rock formations in the high desert, and starry skies above unpopulated coastlines are shot on film using either a 35-mm or a medium-format camera. As with Burtynsky’s photos, Hayward’s images bear a wealth of detail. In Bryce Canyon Ampitheatre, Utah, for instance, equal visual consequence is given to the red dirt and gravel in the foreground as to the spiky evergreens on the ridges and mesas in the background. Oneonta Gorge, Oregon articulates everything from the mosaic of smooth brown stones in the shallow river that runs through the gorge to the bright green vines, ferns, and moss that cover its towering, perpendicular walls.

Hayward’s work is “inspiring”, Jeffries notes, in the way thousands of such landscape photographs are. More interesting about this show, however, is the dialogue it stimulates around a “hierarchy of place”—what places on Earth, natural or manmade, we value, and for what reasons. It also provokes thinking about our evolving relationship with the idea of wilderness. Through these photos, we might be moved to consider an array of North American attitudes, from the misguided colonial belief that aboriginal lands were unoccupied, through the late-19th- and early-20th-century advocacy for and creation of national parks, to enduring arguments between conservationists and preservationists about whether there should be controlled human use of or no human access whatsoever to land designated as wilderness.

Many of Hayward’s images were taken in national and state parks, where recreational access is a given. In one image, Angel’s Landing, Zion National Park, Utah, a road with a couple of cars on it winds through the valley below. In another, Asulkan Pass, Glacier National Park, B.C., Hayward includes the colourful tents of winter campers on a snow-covered mountain. Since these photos express the pleasure and freedom experienced by their hiking, biking, stargazing maker, they fall on the conservationist side of the argument.

The location of the Teck Gallery, on either side of a window overlooking the busy port of Vancouver and the densely developed North Shore mountains, lends a poignant air to Hayward’s show. On that very North Shore, a number of black bears have been shot this season, mostly because they’ve confused their habitat with ours. However we define it, their wilderness is gone.


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