Here I am, sat at my kitchen table. I check the clock, nine-hour time difference: they will be open about now. I take a deep breath and dial the number on my laptop screen. "Good morning, Holberg Post Office. Beth speaking, how may I help you?" It's a strange sensation, talking in the evening with the morning on the other end of the line. Beth's voice is soft and warm. I imagine her view: the inlet, the logging yard. Bluish with the first morning light. She takes a sip, must be her morning coffee. I can almost smell it. In stuttered English I tell her about my quest for Doug, who I met two years ago, and who has been lingering in my thoughts ever since. He had given me a small card with his address, but I seem to have lost it somewhere along my journey. I've been trying to track him down, I tell her. Your office is on the route to his campground. You are my last chance. "I'm sorry," she says. "I don't know anybody by that name. But maybe someone else here knows him. Why don't you send your letter here and I'll try to figure it out for ya?"
Doug's Cabin is a photographic mosaic story about Doug, a man who has been living in the forest of Vancouver Island for 47 years. Doug runs a primitive campground in the remote rain forest, where an extended group of nineteenth-century pioneers tried to build their lives and failed. The place is charged with history: most of the buildings on Doug's campground belong to an old military radar base, originally built to protect Canada and the U.S. from a potential Russian attack during Cold War. As shown in the photographs, Doug saved whatever he could from the fire that burnt the military village down: wooden shacks, bowling pins, books and toys.
Doug's Cabin is about contemporary man's duality towards wilderness; about the timeless, persistent belief in the feasibility of life and our futile fight against its transitory nature. The project contains over a hundred photographs, drawings (by Medy Oberendorff), objects and found footage. The texts, most of them self-written, add a playfull historic context as well as a very personal, philosophical perspective to the story. Doug's Cabin is published in March 2019 by The Eriskay Connection.