How would you feel if someone suggested visiting a squatters commune to your touring itinerary? Probably not that enthralled, at least that would have been my reaction.
But when a fellow photographer suggests a detour to make the most of the gorgeous evening light, I’m unpacking the camera bag right away. As we pulled into Finn Slough (pronounced Finn Slew) close to where my friend Sabrina lives near Vancouver I was slightly baffled by what we had come to see.
Depending on who you speak to, Finn Slough is either a squatters commune , historical fishing village, artistic or alternative living community. Truth lies somewhere among all of those definitions thrown in with a touch of enchanting magic, or maybe that was just the light.
Nestling into the landscape of the Fraser River, the residents of Finn Slew have built on the legacies of the first Finnish settlers in 1880s. They live in houses on stilts or in former net lofts above the river in tune with nature of this coastal environment. They are also fighting to gain their rights to a Crown lease who owns the land to make their residency bona-fide and beat away property developers hungry to turn Finn Slough into a modernised version of this riverside idyll complete with condos and other conveniences of modern life.
Finn Slough is one of the most photographic landscapes I’ve visited in a while. It’s tumble-down style belies a thoughtful ironic sense of humour that playfully makes fun of mainstream living. See this house and doorway below, it’s not what it seems.
The evening light waits for no-one so we made the most of seeing as much as we can in the golden hour. It’s not hard to see how this would be a haven for local photographers to visit often. It felt good to have a camera in my hands again so here’s a few of the photographs I made. It was the perfect spot to end a perfect day in the company of a wonderful friend.