Gord is Nlakap’amux and a member of the Lytton First Nation. He’s also a writer whose strong love of photography was instilled in him by his paternal grandfather Art – Arthur A. Grisenthwaite.
But wait just a second: if Gord’s a writer, who cares how he learned to love photography? Let me explain.
Gord knew from an early age that people made photographs and his grandfather gave him his first camera when he was five. However, it wasn’t until part way through Grade Four that Gord realised everyday people also made stories and books. We’ll come back to that.
Some of Gord’s earliest memories include poring through Life magazine, captivated by its pictures, especially those of Henri Cartier-Bresson. Cartier-Bresson’s images left an indelible mark, as have those of Edward and Brett Weston and Ansel Adams.
Gord dabbled in photography until he entered his early 20s and then stopped. He didn't begin shooting in ernest until he got his first digital camera 22 years later. It was a 4.3 megapixel Sony Cyber-shot, a sign-up bonus from his Internet service provider. Gord loved it..
In 2012 Gord decided to become a fine art landscape photographer. He’s still figuring out what that means. Although defining fine art photography may be tricky and somewhat nebulous, mastering craft is tangible and quantifiable. Rather than wrestle with aesthetics, Gord’s chosen to shoot. A lot. He doesn’t believe every scene is a photo, but there may be a photo in every scene. Gord wants to find it. Have a look at his photos and see whether he’s on task
Gord’s body of published work includes a number of short stories, essays and graphic design tutorials. It’s taken him a long time to get to this point. He’d spent years running from Story.
Stories and books were always magical things to Gord. Animals who spoke and little boys who ran with pirates only lived in stories, so they had to come from a magical place. For whatever reasons, he accepted books as mystical objects and never questioned where they came from – until Grade Four.
His fourth grade reader contained Ethel Wilson’s “The Fog,” a short story set in Vancouver, a place Gord had lived, and a fog he’d seen. It was at this point Gord realised people made stories – special people; not ordinary ones like him.
A few significant people – most notably, Capilano College’s Jean Clifford and Pierre Coupey – saw something in Gord’s work and encouraged him to write more. (He would never have considered taking a creative writing workshop, until Jean suggested it.) It took several hundred years for their words to sink in, but now that Gord’s a writer, he knows stories are magical. Gord’s strongest stories whisper themselves to him and then nag at him until he transcribes them. Of course, if this was all here was to writing a story, Gord would be as prolific as Stephen King.
Writing taxes the heart and mind: It’s hard work, but a job he enjoys.
Gord’s always loved stories and still does, even when they roust him from sleep, demanding attention. It’s taken quite some time, but he enjoys writing them as much as reading them. Have a look.