EDWARDS, Gregory

Author Tags: Architecture

Gregory Edwards photographed and researched the architectural details and animal motifs that grace Victoria and Vancouver's older buildings for Hidden Cities: Art & Design in Architectural Details of Vancouver & Victoria (Talonbooks, 1991), which features more than 350 photos. His photography book The International Film Poster was published by Salem House in 1985.

[BCBW 2003] "Architecture"

Hidden Cities (Talon $22.95)

LIONS. DRAGONS. GODS. GARGOYLES. Gregory Edwards has shot them all. Armed with a 200 mm lens, he stalked downtown Victoria and Vancouver for the obscure but fascinating clay, steel, stone and other ornaments that grace older buildings. "Certain architectural details get half an hour of sunlight only a few times a year," he says, "so day after day I'd go back and wait for just the right moment of sun. Discovering the ornamentation was the fun part. Waiting for the light was the hard part." Edwards began compiling images casually, walking slowly along downtown streets, looking at buildings for the Romanesque, Classical, Art Nouveau and Art Deco images most pedestrians miss. Gradually he took photographs, and then discovered he had to be aggressive to get the right image. "The only place, to get a good photograph of the Romanesque front on the Royal Bank tower at Granville and Hastings in Vancouver is in the middle of the street.”I had to run back and forth in rush hour traffic. It was really crazy," he says. Edwards' prowess with a camera has now produced Hidden Cities (Talon $22.95), a collection of over 350 photographs and text about these architectural motifs. He says the three years he spent researching and producing the book have turned him into something of a campaigner for preserving older buildings. "I like to inspire people to look, to realize the heritage they have and why it is there. Our best architecture shouldn't be "dropped and forgotten about." Edwards says most of our major downtown buildings were built during the last real era of decoration. The difference between the two cities is that Victoria has done a lot more to preserve its heritage. "The Georgia Medical Building would still be standing if it had been built in Victoria," he says. Buildings erected after 1940 have very little artistic presence, but Edwards sees a new attitude emerging. "An example is Cathedral Place, a beautiful new Vancouver building. By spending a little extra money on decoration they have created something stunning." Edwards, an artist and computer operator, has also provided a text that traces the mythological and historical backgrounds that inform the images. Meanwhile, paved-over front yards encroaching on old style neighbourhoods have heritage expert Michael Kluckner incensed. His new book Paving Paradise (Whitecap $22.95) predicts a loss of older neighbourhoods and buildings, and warns that overcrowded cities and urban development threaten our cultural heritage and natural environment. Edwards ISBN: 0-88922-287-8 Kluckner ISBN: 1-895099-90-0

[BCBW 1991] “History”