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After a twelve year stay in Golden, Penny retired from teaching and Bill closed his 2000 sq. ft. studio - and they moved lock, stock, and barrel to Victoria, where Bill promptly had a heart attack. That, combined with other health issues, forced his retirement too. Both continue to do what they love best - walking, shovelling snow, driving slippery mountain roads in 30 below temperatures, dressing in five layers of clothing just to go get a litre of milk, and of course, acting and photography.

 



About Penny

Born and raised in Montreal on Howdy Doody, Father Knows Best, and Leave it to Beaver, I graduated from Bishop’s University in 1967 with a First Class Honors BA, major in English. 

Thus, sadly lacking in marketable skills, I headed for England, where I lived for seven years, got married, had two children, and renovated a 17th Century house. Then back to Canada and Dawson Creek, BC, where I grew my hair, wore long dresses, and went back to the land.

Couldn’t quite make it living off the land, so variously worked as a Radio Continuity Writer, a Librarian’s Assistant, and a Newspaper Reporter---Photographer.  Although I had owned a film camera from the age of 12, now I could run around shooting pictures with reckless abandon. 

Then, older and wiser, I went back to University for a teaching degree and headed off to Burns Lake to teach High School English and French.  From there it was back to Vancouver Island for a few years to work as a Teacher on Call. 

Next stop, Vancouver, where I met Bill, a professional photographer all his life.  We then spent several years in Williams Lake before making the move to Golden in 2000 so that I could teach Grade 1 French Immersion.

The beauty of my surroundings (coupled with standing around with Bill as he “waited for the light”) prompted me to dust off my camera.  I discovered a whole new world of wildflowers and playing with them outside the constraints of photography, I made them pirouette and twirl, thus giving birth to Springtime Swirls. 

Upon my retirement in 2012, we moved to Victoria.  Here I enjoy photography, writing for the local newspaper, acting in community theatre, walking for miles along the sea and through the park, sampling the craft beers, and enjoying all that this beautiful Island has to offer.

 


About Bill

Although also born in Montreal, I grew up in Toronto and that city had a strong influence on my photography. A published photographer, I consider myself more of a photographic illustrator and a story-teller than a conventional photographer. And while it's probably true that I've spent too much of my life either behind the lens, or in front of a computer working with PhotoShop, I wouldn't change a thing.

My large scale tableaux depicting contemporary issues through mythology and metaphor have been exhibited in public galleries around the country and have also found their way into private collections around the world - as have many of my other works.

And while it's impossible to narrow down a lifelong career to a handful of favourite projects, three do come to mind.

Photographing the building of Kicking Horse Canyon bridge for its builder, Bilfinger-Berger, and the launching of its massive road deck, has to be at the top of the list. Hydraulics were used to push the deck from solid ground to one free-standing tower after another - 400 feet above the canyon floor and the old trans-Canada highway. The photography required several helicopter flights, and on one occasion, the door was removed so that I could be harnessed in and sit on the edge of the seat with my feet on the helicopter rails as I photographed straight down.

A close second would be documenting the construction of the André Rieu stage in Skydome, Toronto, for TUV-Rhineland. Shipped from Europe, a full-size reproduction of the Empress Sisi's castle, the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, was rebuilt inside the Dome from the ground up. Three Guiness world records were set during the process.

And third, the project that gave me the most personal pleasure, was "The Adventurers and Settlers Project" in partnership with the Golden & District Museum and the Art Gallery of Golden. A travelling exhibit was created and a book published.

 
 

 

 
© Penny & Bill Pitcher