The Uncommon Jake Kerr & Gathy FalkWednesday, April 11, 2007
For photographers in Vancouver the 80s were very good if you worked for the many business magazines that were around as I did. I made very good money. I don't feel too guilty as I really had to earn my money. For Weyerhaeuser I made several trips to Kamloops and walked miles looking for the "perfect" forest to photograph. For Wellwood Forest Products I braved minus 20 degree temperatures in Alberta to photograph mills at 2 a.m. Things got marginally better when I photographed the two
MacMillan Bloedel executives every year for many years. They were urbane, interesting and their office was here in Vancouver. I photographed many other forest product industry honchos and most of them were boring, very straight and the reading material in their reception offices (where I spent long hours waiting for them to give me the time of day) consisted of tractor brochures and infinitely boring forest industry trade magazines.
There was one exception and that was Lignum's Jake Kerr. His reception room at his office on West Georgia Street was decorated with Christopher Pratts. There were no forestry trade manuals but many interesting arts magazines and books. I could have easily waited for hours with such reading material.
In his office, the two times I visited Kerr, he had a pile of very red Gathy Falk (at right) apples sitting on a tall white plinth. I recall also seeing a Joe Fafard sculpture.
This does not mean that Kerr was completely the atypical BC forest product executive. I remember seeing him dressed in work boots and work clothes at the private jet terminal Esso Avitat in Vancouver. I was off to San Miguel de Allende for a magazine and Kerr was there surrounded by several men. When he said, "Let's go!" they all got up in unison and followed him out to the waiting jet. My guess is that Jake Kerr and all those others I photographed represent a end of an era.
Today I read in the Vancouver Sun an announcement that Jake Kerr has been appointed Chair of the Vancouver Foundation. If there is anybody who can promote and help the arts in Vancouver he has to be the man.