New Star Blogs

SEIZE THE TIME! :: Sixties Vancouver caught in Vladimir Keremidschieff’s viewfinder


Seize_launch_CSC_posterIn 2010, while work­ing on his book City of Love and Rev­o­lu­tion: Van­cou­ver in the Six­ties, his­to­ri­an Lawrence Aron­sen was giv­en access to the Geor­gia Straight archives held by the Rare Books and Spe­cial Col­lec­tions divi­sion of UBC Library. “Archives”: two banker’s box­es filled with an assort­ment of loose 8x10 pho­tographs, which UBC’s archivists had dili­gent­ly tried to bring some order to.

Among the more strik­ing images to be found in the box­es were some prints linked to the pho­tog­ra­ph­er only by a lacon­ic inscrip­tion in grease pen­cil on the back: “Vlad.” Pub­lished copies of the Geor­gia Straight weren’t much help, as their pho­to cred­its read sim­ply, “Pho­to by Vlad.” Inter­net research led to Rick McGrath’s web­site about the his­to­ry of the Geor­gia Straight. McGrath’s site — since pay­walled — pro­vid­ed a last name: Keremid­schi­eff. That lead to a dis­cus­sion forum, where some­one in Aus­tralia by the name of Vladimir Keremid­schi­eff post­ed from time to time.

Yes, was the reply we received to our e-mail; he was indeed that Vladimir Keremid­schi­eff, and he’d be delight­ed to see his old pho­tos repro­duced in City of Love and Rev­o­lu­tion. The old prints we had, how­ev­er, prob­a­bly weren’t that great. “Believe it or not, I still have the negs of those days,” Vlad respond­ed. “I’ve scanned a num­ber of negs so that you can get much bet­ter repro­duc­tion.”  He’d been car­ry­ing those neg­a­tives, hun­dreds of images, around with him ever since he left Van­cou­ver with his part­ner Lind­say in 1975, before even­tu­al­ly set­ting in Syd­ney, Aus­tralia.

9781554200689-voyage-3DThat for­tu­itous encounter led to a longer con­ver­sa­tion that now bears fruit in the form of Vlad’s own book, select­ed from his archives of that peri­od, Seize the Time: Van­cou­ver Pho­tographed, 1967–1974. One hun­dred pho­tographs tak­en in and around Van­cou­ver (a few from as far away as Seat­tle), of ordi­nary street scenes and rau­cous demon­stra­tions, be-ins, rock fes­ti­vals and con­certs, per­son­al­i­ties, habi­tats, and qui­et moments, many orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished in the Straight, the Van­cou­ver Sun and The Province, along with many nev­er before seen, con­sti­tute a vital archive of Six­ties Van­cou­ver. Jamie Reid, author of Prez: Homage to Lester Young, con­tributes an after­ward that pro­vides some of the social and cul­tur­al con­text for Vlad’s work.

The pub­li­ca­tion of Seize the Time is accom­pa­nied by an exhi­bi­tion at the Com­mer­cial Street Cafe, 3599 Com­mer­cial Steet at 20th Avenue, of prints of select­ed pho­tos in Vladimir’s book. A joint book launch / exhi­bi­tion open­ing is tak­ing place at 7 pm, Fri­day, Novem­ber 1, at the Com­mer­cial Street Cafe. Admis­sion is free.

Seize the Time goes on sale in Novem­ber at Black Bond Books, Bolen Books, Hager Books, Laugh­ing Oys­ter Book­shop, Mosa­ic Books, Munro’s, People’s Co-op Book­store, Roy­al BC Muse­um Shop, Spar­ta­cus Books, UBC Book­store, Chap­ters, Indi­go,,, and our very own web­site.