One the many vistas of Oak Bay that Gloria Back photographed for use in the official community plan document that goes to public hearing in September.

Shooter adds life to community plan

Hobby photographer shoots ‘slices of life’ to immortalize Oak Bay

There’s little doubt great photos tell a story and make reading that can be complex and daunting, far more interesting. If you approach any official community plan as a fantastic tome of information and photographs, it could be more palatable for the average reader.

It’s an approach those developing the draft OCP for Oak Bay knew would work, and they needed photos to make it happen. The advisory committee and consultants led by Catherine Berris sent the word out.

As a member of the OCP advisory committee, Gloria Back knew the components covered in the plan and what kind of images might be required. Images aside from the stunning scenery found on Willows Beach, Oak Bay Avenue or Beach Drive.

“I knew there was education, businesses. We discussed things like ‘corner commercial’; how people like the little shops. Everything from garbage collection to sewer line were part of the discussion,” she said. “People think of the beauty of Oak Bay, what people don’t think about is the overhead power lines and tractors and what the inside of a bakery looks like, and the book store. Everyday beauty that people don’t notice.”

She shot slices of life. As it turns out, the bulk of the images used to depict the community in its plan for the future, are hers.

“I see her contribution and the contribution of others as pretty important,” said Coun. Pam Copley, who chaired the advisory committee. “In order to capture people’s attention I think you do need to have something like that in what we know is a very important document. It’s important for us to make it as compelling and as readable as possible.”

It provides an attractive and compelling document that, while not intended as bedtime reading, should be used by residents.

“We want people to engage with it, we want them to read it and use it as a reference. We want them to be part of it,” Copley said. “It’s just another way of communicating and I think it strengthens the information.”

Other photographers with images included in the Oak Bay draft official community plan are: Berris, Coun. Kevin Murdock, Mike Lloyd, Hope Burns, Jacques Sirois, Marylou, those from the Oak Bay village directory and Oak Bay Archives.

“I was trying to make sure the photos we did have weren’t just the backs and the village, that they were playgrounds and the university … everyday things that try to broadly represent the Oak Bay that all of us know and love,” Back said. “And to try and capture the vibrancy of the community.”

The hobbyist photographer, with a Camosun photography course under her belt, spent a Sunday seeking those slices of life. She’s pleased with the results.

“I think (artwork) enriches the text and it also is a statement as to what Oak Bay is, the essence of Oak Bay in 2014,” Back said. “It captures a moment in time, that’s really important.”

Visit oakbay.ca to download and read a copy of the draft OCP set to go to public hearing Sept. 9 at Monterey recreation centre, 1442 Monterey Ave. at 6 p.m.

 

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