David Ellingsen

Empty City: Projections

February 2021 - April 2021


Victoria, B.C

David Ellingsen is a Canadian photographer who creates images that speak to the relationship between humans and the natural world. He focuses on themes of climate, deforestation, and biodiversity loss while drawing upon relationship to place.

Intersections form the foundation of Ellingsen’s practice – intersections of observer and participant, documentary photography and contemporary art, archivist and surrealist. He utilizes a wide range of technical means across the projects, motivated by the evolution of the tools of this restless medium. Ellingsen’s photographs are exhibited internationally and are part of the permanent collections of the Chinese Museum of Photography, South Korea's Datz Museum of Art and Canada's Beaty Biodiversity Museum, and Royal British Columbia Museum. They have been shortlisted for Photolucida's Critical Mass Book Award, appeared with National Geographic, and awarded First Place at the Prix de la Photographie Paris and the International Photography Awards.

With a practice formed by the landscape he grew up in, Ellingsen lives and works in the Pacific Northwest, moving between his home in Victoria and the island of Cortes, where he was raised, 150 miles to the north. Since arriving as that island’s first immigrant settlers in 1887, his family has continued residence on these traditional, unceded territories of the Klahoose, Tla’amin and Homalco First Nations.

Portrait of 2021 Victoria Artist in Residence, David Ellingsen. 2021 Victoria Artist in Resident, David Ellingsen's piece "Moth". 2021 Victoria Artist in Resident, David Ellingsen's piece "Barn Owl".
Artist Statement

This interpretation of Empty City revolves around native plants and animals found in and around Greater Victoria.

The South Island’s human population is projected to increase by 22% or nearly 90,000 inhabitants by 2038, according to the latest projections by BC Statistics. With recent articles proclaiming British Columbia’s “looming extinction crisis” (over 1,300 species in BC are currently at risk of extinction), my intention is to make work highlighting this issue by pairing photographic and text-based work with evening light projections at various locations around the city.

Aside from the awareness-raising projections themselves, and their associated media reach, the final result will be 4 prints of the installations for the hcma Victoria office.

Previous artists in residence