LinkAge Photo - About John Barber
In 2002, before this life as a photographer, I was working on a commercial construction site in the Okanagan Valley. A workplace accident resulted in the tragic death of a friend and co-worker, an experience that had a profound affect on my perspective of life. A year or so prior to that, I took a nasty fall on another construction project and ended up with a broken ankle. Combined, the two incidents allowed me to take a hard look at my situation. Our daughter was nearing school age and her toddler years had gone by in a flash. I was away from home 12-16 hours per day and often weekends too. I realized I had to make a change or I'd be sorry and regretful later in life. I took a leap of faith and it was one of the best decisions I've ever made.
I had an introduction to film photography in my youth, and learned a lot from my Dad who was a keen shutterbug in his spare time. We even built a darkroom together in the basement of our home and between what we could find in books, classes and good 'ole trial and error, we learned a great deal. We made a lot of mistakes of course but it was enjoyable, creative to some degree, and occasionally, even rewarding when something was worthy of a frame and a nail in the wall.
Fast forward to the start of the digital photography age, the timing of which coincided with my new life-perspective, and I've never really looked back. There have been struggles for sure. The convenience of digital also meant that "anyone and everyone" was suddenly a photographer too. Many traditional professionals were finding themselves out of work and looking for alternatives. The trauma of my personal experience at the time, maybe even more than that, allowed me to perservere however, find some niches, and grow. I've been fortunate too.
I couldn't, and likely wouldn't be where I am now if it weren't for the tremendous support of my wife and daughter. They believed in me from the start and never lost faith. They liked my work, patted me on the back at all the right moments, gave me the time and space to learn (oh, those many all-nighters in front of the screen trying to figure this all out), and last but not least, showed me what love is all about. And the bonus of all this, the icing on the cake, the added reward that I didn't foresee, is all the magical moments that I might never have seen. The moments I might have been too tired, grouchy or simply absent to have experienced. This career has afforded me the flexibility to be there for my family. I have been able to be an active and involved parent to a beautiful, immensely intelligent and highly motivated daughter. My wife and I are very proud of who she is but proud too, of the work we did to stick together as a family and support one another through thick and thin.
I'm also immensely grateful to my Mom and Dad for their contributions, not just in my early years but throughout my life. My achievements are built on a foundation of love and kindness that, through thick and thin, they nurtured. I mentioned my Dad previously for the photography start but he also had an amazing knack for learning new things. He'd set his mind to it and that'd that. Whether it was plumbing, "How to build your own colour TV set" (which we really did together back in the seventies), or learning a new language, Dad's attitude was, anything could be done by anyone if they tried. I have to work on my confidence at times but I also know that his fearlessness was contagious.
My Mom, well, she's simply amazing and a candidate for sainthood. Seven kids and each was loved and supported as if he or she were the only. I wish I could say she passed along her gifts of painting or drawing, the works of which still adorn many walls in many towns, but I'm certain that my "eye" and the appreciation of arts in general, comes from her. The many years she spent as a teacher of Grade School to University level, while at the same time continuing to be a professional student and earning a Masters degree at age 60, all the while dabbling in variations of painting, drawing, clay-moulding, knitting, needle-point, music, contributed to the wide world view I have today. I believe we are all students and I believe we are all teachers. There is always more to learn. There is always more to share.