These pictures were shot while driving on country roads in the summer of 1981, stopping whenever something caught my eye. I had just graduated from Ryerson (now University, then Polytechnic) in Toronto with a degree in photography. Growing up in Alberta the lines, the forms of the prairies landscape, the light imprinted on my heart and mind my basic visual vocabulary
When I saw this old Gas pump in a small town I was passing through of course I had to take a picture, or several. I saw a man in overalls come to the doorway where he stood watching me. His face was in shadow and I didn’t know his attitude. Only when I was scanning the negative did I realize he had a big smile on his face that warmed my heart looking at. I couldn’t remember the name of the town where this was so I posted it on a Facebook group of Alberta photographers.
The town was Orion and I discovered that this building burned down on Christmas Day 2016. All the years of saving everything burned to the ground. The owner, the man in the doorway is Boyd Steven third generation owner. I wondered to what had happened to him so I wrote a letter to the editor of the Medicine Hat newspaper. I got 6 replies. He still lives in Orion so I sent him a copy of the print he’s in
He sent a thank you letter handwritten in pen and the canceled stamp from Orion he probably stamped himself.