Laurel Terlesky sees a single black glove along the trail at Nexen Beach. Instead of passing it by as other walkers do, Terlesky takes out her camera and snaps a photo, it is for her Narratives of the Lost project.
Terlesky takes pictures of left items she finds in her travels and poet Bren Simmers puts words to the images.
Terlesky explains the project: “To be able to develop a narrative about our community and try to get a lens back to the owners who might have had these objects, and also objects have been left in certain places, so really finding a sense of identity through the land and the people that are here…
“I feel like our community is transitioning a lot, there’s a lot of new people moving here and even with Nexen and the Oceanfront starting to get developed too.”
“That was a pretty good one,” she said of the trophy, which didn’t have a nameplate.
A collared dress shirt left on a bench out in the rain was another curious item Terlesky found – a “deflated shirt, like someone had just walked out of it.”
The items point to a unique character of Squamish, Terlesky said.
“It is not that they were just left on the side of the path or something. They are carefully hung up on a tree or put somewhere,” she said.
Rather than just images, Terlesky wanted a narrative added to enhance the project, so she contacted the poet Simmers to develop it more, and along with the photos, “start to create the conversation.”
Simmers, who has lived in Squamish for about two years, says penning poems for each item is an entry point for her into the stories and history of the district.
“I look through the different pictures she puts up and inevitably there will be one that will grab my attention,” Simmers said, adding the discarded trophy was definitely one that got her thinking. “How did it get there? And why didn’t the person put it in the garbage can? They couldn’t actually let go of it and just the whole scene suggested this sort of identity in transition, so I sort of went with it as a larger portrait of Squamish and it changing in terms of its identity in the world.”
The women want to make the project interactive, according to Simmers.
They are asking Squamish residents to send in images of lost objects they have seen, along with the location. Eventually, the plan is to print postcards with an image on one side and a poem on the back, Simmers said. The cards would be distributed around Squamish.
The Squamish Arts Council recently granted the project $2,000 from its 2016 Arts and Culture Enhancement Grant. The funds will help build toward a public show planned for the fall.
To send images or for more information, email Terlesky at firstname.lastname@example.org.