Al Perkin looks like a photographer. He has the hat, the clothes, and the camera.
The hat was a gift from his wife Teresa, who passed away a year and a half ago from brain cancer after they had been married for two months short of 60 years.
"It's my trademark," the 82-year-old reflected about the Indiana Jones-style, broad-rimmed fedora.
When he was 10, his dad gave him his first black-and-white photography developing kit. He was hooked instantly.
"That was the start of it. I would develop anything and everything," he said.
When he was 16, Perkin became interested in the movies. He shot a few and was invited to work for the National Film Board.
"But my dad wouldn't let me go to Ottawa," he said.
He returned to stills again and went to work for Vancouver photographer Reuben Marlow.
"It was in the Birks building on the first floor... He did all the society weddings and I worked in his darkroom for him," recalled Perkin.
"In those days photography was seasonal. So after Christmas time you are more or less laid off. I found other work with another commercial photographer called Vincent Studios. I worked for him for about a year and a half, but it was the same old thing."
Perkin gave up professional photography and went into plumbing, like his dad before him. He worked in the trade until he retired in the 1980s after two open-heart surgeries.
Soon after, Perkin picked up the camera again and got back to his early passion.
He also volunteered teaching black-and-white darkroom photography at Enver Creek Secondary in Surrey for 10 years up until his wife died, after which he moved to Maple Ridge.
"I really enjoy [photography], really I do. It is just like when I volunteered teaching school. I look at it this way: One day I'm going to pass away, and when I pass away I'm going to take all my knowledge with me. So why not impart it to those who want to know. If you want to know, fine, I will teach you everything I know. And if you don't, well, that's your tough luck."
Perkin scanned the 16 framed photos on the wall of the library, stopping to admire a floral.
"I am always fascinated by close-ups and over the period of my lifetime flowers have been my love. I couldn't tell you the name of one from another but, if the colour strikes me, I photograph it," he stated.
The photos will be on display at the Maple Ridge Library until the end of January.