2021-2022 Journey

Episode 9: Canary in the Mine


Miners once carried caged canaries into unventilated shafts to warn of the build-up of lethal poisonous gases: the birds were especially susceptible to hazardous gases like methane and carbon monoxide, so when they stopped singing and died it served as a warning for immediate evacuation.

I have witnessed the post-apocalyptic remains of fire in Northern California, two years after the fact. I resisted for the longest time to be in these area, even if the atmospheric conditions called for photography.

I had to evacuate my studio in 2020 (Santa Cruz Fire) as flames were raging less than 3 miles away. I had plenty of time to prepare for it and moved the obvious items first. When the “red warning” was announced it was too late to do anything, but get in my car and drive away. The remorse of not being more pro-active started to sink in. Should I have saved precious art (some irreplaceable), carry the many hundreds of art books I have collected over the years, .. a relentless mindgame. It was a happy ending, as I was able to return unscathed.

A few month later, I was exploring Northern California, driving on roads that had barely re-opened up after the Paradise Fire. These people never got the warning call from the canaries, and a one-minute decision was their only way to save passage. I did not photograph the man-made structures or objects left as it couldn’t do justice how on people must have felt. On the other hand, nature had started to recover.


All images are for sale either as Open Editions or Limited Editions: 13x20" (25), 20x30" (7), 
34x50" (3).

The Limited Editions are printed with a special process (I mix my own ink) and come with a certificate of authenticity. Check this link for pricing and description.

Open Editions start at $150 for a 8x10", and can be custom sized (as large as 42 inches in heigh).

Oliver Klink for pricing & availability, type of edition, and additional information. Refer the title of the image in your email.

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