‘The Bulkley Valley Is Beautiful And We’ve Never Really Looked Back’

Meet Mark, a photographer who moved to the Skeena 12 years ago.

Mark West has visited reclusive tribes in the remote jungles of Indonesia, hung out with shamans in Guatemala and spent months with the Kurdish resistance movement in the Middle East. But the freelance photographer’s favorite place in the world is still the Skeena.

“I’m kind of a new resident to the Bulkley Valley,” he says in a new video about his work created by the Smithers Art Gallery. By new, West actually means he’s lived here for the past dozen years. 

“I emigrated here with my family, the main reason was to find a place where our children could grow and excel and I have to say it’s the best decision we ever made,” he says. “The Bulkley Valley is beautiful and we’ve never really looked back.”

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The gallery is currently showing an exhibition of West’s photography known as the Remarkable Project, which he describes as a celebration of “people who live and work in Northern British Columbia,” photographed after “happily driving along dirt tracks and back roads to distant hamlets traversing the Skeena, Bulkley, Kispiox and Nass valleys with my trusty camera bag beside me.” 

West has been all over the world but he finds all the inspiration he needs right here. His newest exhibit, he explains, is “proof that compelling photography doesn’t require exotic travels, for the remarkable people who make the world such a wonderful place to live are right here on our doorstep.”

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Written by Skeena Strong

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