Capturing Whistler since the '70s: a spotlight on photographer Greg Griffith

In 2009, the Whistler Museum acquired a large group of photographs and ephemera by and from local photographer Greg Griffith.

Perhaps "large" doesn't accurately describe this collection, as it consists of approximately 100,000 photographic objects - let's go with "enormous!"

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Greg Griffith moved from Sydney, Australia to Whistler in 1973 to ski. Although Greg didn't plan on making Whistler his home, he began his successful career photographing action sports, events and scenery here, and this quickly settled him into the Whistler lifestyle. By 1980, Greg and his wife Pat opened Whistler's first art gallery, Mountain Moments. The Griffiths' truly settled into Whistler, building a life here for the whole family who continue to call Whistler home.

The Griffith Collection consists of photographic material, including 35 mm slides, 120 mm negatives, contact prints, posters, flyers and magazine clippings. The collection spans from the early '70s to just a few years ago - a great timeframe in Whistler history.

Over the last few months, I've had the privilege of sifting through this massive collection in my task to re-house and catalogue each object. I'm fairly new to Whistler, having just arrived in September; however, after familiarizing myself with the Griffith Collection, I feel like I've been here for the past 40 years!

Through Greg's work, I've experienced some prominent events in Whistler's history, from the beginning days of the Dave Murray ski camps to Rob Boyd's World Cup Downhill win in 1989. I've been heli-skiing more times than I can count (and that's saying a lot considering I'm not much of a skier) and I've been present at a plethora of events and competitions throughout the years. Greg seems to have been there for just about every major (and minor) event in Whistler throughout the '70s, '80s and '90s.

Apart from action sports, community events and more commercial-based photography, Greg has photographed Whistler's beautiful landscape. He is known for his scenic mountain views and aerial photography. With such diverse subject matter, Greg is a photographer to truly capture Whistler's essence over the last four decades.

It has been quite the adventure organizing the Griffith collection here at the museum. It is an ongoing project with plenty more work to go. Within the coming months we will be looking for volunteers to help identify some of the people, places and events in the photographs. We will be looking for volunteers who were here during all or some of the '70s, '80s and '90s. If you are interested in volunteering, contact me at collectionassistant@whistlermuseum.org.

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