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Derek von Essen

Derek von Essen - Topographic Flux

The only three things that matter in real estate are "location, location, location!". I'm not sure who said it first but the phrase has been repeated countless times. A location, in particular an urban space, temporarily plays host to its natural setting only to eventually transform into a constructed environment. Often the location is documented, commemorated and/or immortalized with before and after photographs.

I am interested in what we do with our living spaces, the environment we choose to nurture, and the changes which occur over time. Time and place are recurring themes in my work. Combined, they capture a transitional period of the location. There is always a before and after, but the moment of transformation is often disregarded. Changes may occur slowly such as barnacles sprouting on beach rocks or as rapid as skyscrapers springing from the earth to rival a mountain's peak. This series conveys that period of flux — the journey of a forgotten time replaced by the anticipation of a [temporary] end result.


Derek von Essen is a photographer, painter, graphic designer, video and mixed-media artist. He is a self-starting, DIY-type specializing in fine arts, dance, theatre, music, film and publishing projects while recycling everything from objects to conversations in his work. He's had numerous gallery exhibitions, his work published in books and magazines, honoured by the BC Business and Arts Awards, profiled on CBC television and facilitated artist workshops and presentations. Derek's recent book, A Verse Map of Vancouver (Anvil Press, 2009. ed: George McWhirter, Poet Laureate), is a 200-page anthology including hundreds of his photographs of Vancouver.