The weary-eyed logger stares stoically, a cigarette hanging from his lips. The lines on his face mark years of toil in the sun and rain. His photo is part of the upcoming exhibit...
The weary-eyed logger stares stoically, a cigarette hanging from his lips.
The lines on his face mark years of toil in the sun and rain.
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His photo is part of the upcoming exhibit, “The Vanishing Logger: An American Profession in Transition,” which opens next month at the Sultan Community Center.
The multimedia display of photographs, text panels, videos and music examines the lives of today’s loggers.
The exhibit, the first in a series of events to commemorate Sultan’s 100th birthday, will celebrate the city’s enduring connection with the timber industry. “The Vanishing Logger” runs through January. Admission will be free.
Two sisters — writer-producer Char Easter and photographer Cheryle Easter — collaborated to create portraits of individuals whose livelihoods still depend on a centuries-old industry. The sisters returned to the woods near Amboy, a small logging town in Cowlitz County, where they had lived for a few years, to document the stories of those they found there.
Although the sisters also visited Aberdeen, where Char Easter was born, most of the stories come from the Amboy area, she said.
“The underlying idea was to give the logger a voice. We wanted to give people a sense of what loggers are like because they seem to be more of a caricature than a real person [in the media].”
The Easters’ father is a tree farmer in Amboy.
“There was a certain part of my teenage years where we lived out in the sticks, and all I could do was ride my horse by myself in the woods,” Char Easter said.
Having been part of the community, the sisters could relate to the loggers, she added.
It is this knowledge that Sandy Delvecchio, the chairwoman of the Sultan Centennial Committee, hopes to bring back.
“I think that everybody should come up here and remember what used to drive this valley up here,” said Delvecchio, whose great-grandfather, father and brother were loggers.
Incorporated in 1905, Sultan has risen and fallen with the Northwest logging industry. Signs of the city’s ties to the forest — from Barmon Lumber to Sultan Post & Pole and the Sultan Saw Shop — still stand along Highway 2.
Residents are invited to a Jan. 8 breakfast of scrambled eggs, pancakes, bacon and sausage served family style to celebrate the exhibit’s opening, Delvecchio said.
A lifelong resident of the valley, Delvecchio remembers when loggers “used to be the elite in society,” she said.
Delvecchio had been trying to bring the exhibit to Sultan for some time. To fund this and similar events, she led the centennial committee in community fund-raisers, including a garage sale in September that raised $2,400.
“The logger is somebody that should finally have their day,” she said of the show’s arrival to Sultan.
Since 2003, the traveling exhibit has been shown at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma and on the Seattle and Tacoma campuses of the University of Washington.
Judy Chia Hui Hsu: 425-745-7809 or firstname.lastname@example.org