As Mayor of the Town of Perth I travel a great deal. I meet people from all over the world. Inevitably someone asks me to describe the place where I live. When I am asked this question, I hesitate.Understand, I know Perth, its citizens and the surrounding rural country sidewell. I have a deep love for Perth. Still, how do you describe to someone that has never been here, the complex, multilayered, beautiful place it is. It seems impossible to do. Then John McQuarrie came along. In his book, PERTH, SPIRIT OFPLACE John has skillfully captured the exact essence of what Perth and the surrounding area is.
John’s magnificent pictures expertly capture the spring, summer, autumn and winter seasons of Perth. The rhythm and feel of each season jumps out from the vivid pages. His images capture the geography of the area. Pictures of forests and fields, parks and rivers are rich in their depth and feel. My favourites are the images of Perth’s 1870s heritage landscape. From the one room schoolhouse, to the log cabin, to the reverent churches and majestic Scottish built limestone and sandstone buildings that line the streets of downtown Perth, John leaves nothing out.
The stories the various writers contributed to the book are amazing.Like a rich tapestry, local authors tell us the tales of what makes this place so special. You find yourself transported back in time when you read about the first people that walked this land, the Omamiwinini. Riveting stories of what it was like being a nearly Irish or Scottish settler, the hardships they faced. Stories of the unsinkable determination of those who farmed, or milled, or mined the land are inspiring.
On Christmas morning in 1957 John McQuarrie unwrapped his first camera,a Kodak Brownie Star Flash and started taking pictures. Over sixty year laterhe continues to follow his passion, creating images and bringing together stories that transcend time. PERTH, SPIRIT OF PLACE is magnificent in its beauty and scope. It is a book that everyone should have on their coffee table or bookshelf.
Mayor of Perth
He really is able to create an image of these very familiar scenes and it’s as though he’s turned a dial and made the subject come to life, as though it were powered by an inner source of illumination. Wow! What a gift!
I was excited to see the beautiful, artful photos of our former home, frozen in time for future generations to enjoy. The landscapes around the house are captured with such blazing accuracy, as though he’d lived there himself. There is some- thing about his photography that would lead the viewer to believe he possessed an understanding of a local subject that only a native would appreciate. Well done!
Our buildings in Perth, so familiar, places we’ve walked past thousands of times, now presented with his vision in such a glowing fashion, as though the historic limestone beauties had come to life after a long winter’s hibernation.
Apart from the ones of our home that naturally are my true favourites, there were two photos that struck me as almost ethereal, almost heavenly—the one of the subtle multiple shades and tints of green at Purdon’s Conservation Area, and the magnificent proud flock of our local geese. These two struck a chord with me, bringing me to tears. They are so representative of our little corner of the world, and brought to life so perfectly with John’s skill and artistry.