Robert Postma knocks on our door, comes in, and asks me if I have any butter.
I say, “Careful with it, it’s like gold to me.”
Postma replies, “Don’t worry, I‘ll replace it when I go to the store later.”
I’m fine with that—if he doesn’t go I’ll get my butter rations back in other ways, like an awesome photo of myself, or some free babysitting. I fully endorse the barter system, especially since I live in Old Crow.
Many of you know Robert Postma, or have at least seen his photography. Perhaps you’ve spotted him selling prints at craft sales, or have one of his calendars on your wall, or have had him give you your flu shot.
Postma has left his mark in the territory, and after 15 years of living in the Yukon, he shows no signs of slowing down.
He’s currently in Old Crow for a month-long nursing job, and he’s living beside us at the health centre. With his random visits for tea, TV, and general company, Postma has become our Kramer (Seinfeld).
Postma grew up in Strathroy, Ont. His early ambition in life was to play professional baseball, but in his early 20s a hip injury cut the dream short. Postma followed in his mother’s footsteps, and in 1994 he went to nursing school. He graduated in ‘96 and soon left Ontario for work in the N.W.T.
For two years Postma worked in remote places like Fort Smith, Fort Simpson, and Rae Edzo. Around this time he went on vacation to the Yukon with his brothers and fell in love with the grandeur and beauty of the territory.
“I was blown away by the expansiveness of the land,” recalls Postma.
In ‘99 he applied for work in the Yukon with Community Nursing and was hired almost immediately. Since then Rob has worked in almost every Yukon community. I asked him if he ever tired of bouncing around from place to place and he didn’t seem to mind it.
“I enjoy the solitude, and you get to meet a good core group of friends that act as each other’s support system,” said Postma.
The mobility is a great conduit for him to practice his love of photography, which he developed throughout his years of work.
“I liked photography and always had a camera,” he says. “My friend Peter was a teacher in Old Crow, and gave a slide show one night. It inspired me to improve my skills in photography.”
Postma began to photograph nature, the aurora borealis, and anything else that caught his interest. He learned as he went, and in 2003 he sold his first photo. Since then his work has been published internationally in magazines, including Canadian Geographic, Explore,and Outdoor Photography Canada.
Postma works as a photo guide for Cabin Fever Adventures and Churchill Wild, and he makes yearly pilgrimages to Vancouver Island, Saskatchewan, Churchill, Manitoba, and Iceland in search of the perfect shot.
With 14 years and thousands of photos under his belt, Postma thinks his photography has evolved to the point where he’s created his own style and brand; Robert Postma photographs are recognizable.
He continues to search for the perfect shot in Old Crow, and has aspirations to learn about videography.
In the meantime, hopefully one day he’ll go to the store and replace my butter! You can see Postma’s work on his website at www.distanthorizons.ca.