LinkAge Photo - About John Barber
Some 15 years ago, 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. A year or so prior to that, I had taken 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 had to make a change or I knew 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 studied film photography a little as a 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 in Saskatchewan where we learned a ton. 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 nicely with my need for a new direction and really, I've never 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, find some niches, and grow. I've been fortunate too.
I couldn't, and 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, 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, now in her second year of a four-year academic scholarship in Victoria. 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 must also say some words of gratitude to my Mom and Dad for their contributions, not just in my early years but throughout my life, for the success I have been so fortunate to experience. 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 be that, whether it was plumbing, 'how to build your own colour TV set' (which he really did back in the seventies), or learning a new language. That fearlessness was contagious. And my Mom, well, she's a saint if ever there are saints. Seven kids and each one was loved and appreciated as if they were 'the only'. Her creativity in anything, as well as artistic talents specifically as a gifted painter, were generously shared. I hope, and always aspire to use the keen eyes she taught me to see with, and love with the heart she nurtured.