A Victoria woman has put her passion for James Bay into a calendar representing some of her favourite elements of her childhood home.
Writer, photographer and artist, Doreen Marion Gee grew up in James Bay in the 1950s and ’60s. Struck by its natural beauty to this day, she was inspired to share those reflections through the collection of photos and artistic illustrations.
Describing the work as “a beautiful homage to the place that I love and where I spent 20 magical years of my life,” it contains Gee’s favourite photos taken during numerous neighbourhood walk-abouts over 18 months. Gee then spent another six months designing and publishing the photo book.
“I wanted to write a book about James Bay, which I’m still working on, but I thought what better way to show my love for this area than with photographs,” Gee says. “I’ve been pretty fortunate to live in Victoria, and James Bay especially.”
The photos reflect memories of a childhood spent watching the seasons change at Beacon Hill Park, exploring the Ogden Point Breakwater, and even skating on Harrison Pond.
“All these places have wonderful memories for me,” Gee says.
People, too, are at the forefront of her memories. “The history of James Bay is just amazing; there’s lots of characters … and lots of character!”
Her favourite character in the calendar is a young female eagle. “It’s actually my favourite photo I’ve ever taken. I love what the eagle represents, the power of that bird. I like to feel empowered in my life.”
“It’s more than a calendar; to me it’s more of a photo book,” Gee says. “I wanted to get my love of James Bay out in photos – the wonder of all the beautiful places. I like to zero in on those little details that nobody else notices.”
Thrilled about the truly local nature of the project, Gee credits the support of community members in making the calendar possible. Women In Need Society provided a grant through its self-sufficiency program that helped with self-publishing costs, and the local Island Blue offered a beautiful print results for an affordable price, Gee says. With calendar in-hand, a meeting with Tourism Victoria CEO Paul Nursey also generated marketing ideas to help get the calendar into the hands of both locals and visitors.
Gee’s calendar sells for $30 and is available downtown at Munro’s Books and through Gee directly at publicitypromotionexpert.wordpress.com.