John Hatch: Montreal and Japan

1995 - 1998, silver gelatin prints

John Hatch had become a Whitehorse institution when he passed away suddenly in December 2000 at the age of 63. A proud member of, and a regular contributor to, Jim Robb's Colourful 5% books one never saw John around town without his camera at hand. John didn't really work a regular job for the couple of years I knew him. His role in the community was to take a lot of photos of people, community events and our built environment. When he died he left a collection of tens of thousands of mostly uncatalogued images. On these walls are images that he had intended to exhibit or publish as a collection. These images were in a small box of 8 x 10 images John had given to a mutual friend before his passing.

John went to Japan in the mid-90s with only $20 in his pocket and a handful of contacts for friends who had stayed with him at his cabin in Moccasin Flats in what is now called Shipyards Park. His cabin is still there though it looks nothing like it did inside when he lived there. Beginning in the 1970s, John played host to hundreds of visitors in that cabin. The images from Montreal were taken sometime around 1997 and 1998 when John was visiting his mother. John was there to explore the possibility of going back to art school at the same time he was pounding the Montreal pavement with his portfolio in search of galleries and curators who might exhibit his photos.

These photographs were printed in a tiny darkroom upstairs in the Quonset building at 3rd and Hanson St (211 Hanson St) that John shared with Whitehorse Star photographer Vince Federoff. John's work in the darkroom was one of his great strengths as an artist.

- Andrew Connors, Curator