Through a selection of her stunning photographs, Alexandra Morton portrays life on the central British Columbia coast.
She arrived in the area in 1984 as a whale researcher, and at first, she was absorbed in studying the orca and admiring the magnificent scenery. It is a coast with a long history: dolphins have pulsed in and out for 10,000 years; First Nations people have lived here for almost as long; European settlers arrived a scant century ago. As time passed, Morton began to observe the lives of other creatures that share the sea and land—humpback whales, bears, salmon, eagles, deer, and humans—and understand how they are all interconnected. As one example, “Bears drag salmon beneath the trees of the forest, feeding the giant plants that shade the river nursery, protect its banks and allow it to make more fish.”
In Beyond the Whales, Alexandra explains what is going on beyond the beauty of the images: “One of the joys of watching a place for 20 years is being able to read the signs upon the sea—bubbles on the surface mean tons of herring below; three birds over an orca mean the whale has brought fish to the surface; shearwaters in Blackfish Sound mean autumn is here. The ocean feeds the rivers and the rivers feed the ocean.”