Okanagan Strong, an 80-page photo-book by photographer Mike Biden, showcases the bravery of many. (Submitted)

Okanagan Strong, an 80-page photo-book by photographer Mike Biden, showcases the bravery of many. (Submitted)

Penticton photographer publishes book showcasing resilience of Okanagan people

Okanagan Strong showcases the bravery of many during crisis; from COVID-19, to floods, and fires

A newly-released photo book by a Penticton-based photographer aims to showcase the resilience of Okanagan people through times of crisis.

Throughout recent crisis, Mike Biden has seen many rally to help one other and overcome obstacles together, and this is what inspired him to publish the book.

“The Okanagan valley has been hit pretty hard in the past with floods, wildfires, and now with COVID-19 epidemic hitting the valley as well, it’s hurt a lot of people. But I am very impressed with how resilient Okanaganites are, in overcoming these massive obstacles,” said author Mike Biden.

Okanagan Strong, an 80-page photo book, showcases the bravery of many.

“I just wanted people to see all the different avenues, how COVID-19 has affected everyone and how we’ve overcome those obstacles.”

From first responders saluting frontline medical workers, to grocery store workers stocking shelves with masks and gloves on, dentists and veterinarians working in modified environments, medical and rescue personal training, and wildland firefighters battling a blaze, Okanagan Strong is a tribute to many.

A newly-released photo book by a Penticton-based photographer, Okanagan Strong, aims to showcase the resilience of Okanagan people through times of crisis. (Phil McLachlan – Western News)

The front third of the book is dedicated to the documentation of COVID-19. The middle is dedicated to documenting the impact of flooding, and the final section to wildfires. The book is also a tribute to those on the front lines.

“People that don’t think so much of themselves, but get out there and do stuff for others, that’s what impresses me. They go beyond the call of duty, and people like that I think should be recognized.

“Like the truck drivers that are bringing our groceries, like the healthcare workers, the nurses, the doctors, but there’s many other people that are the unsung heroes during this pandemic, that don’t get the recognition, but really should get some recognition.”

That, Biden explained, is what he wants people to think about; how these people have adapted, and are risking their lives trying to make the pandemic ‘dissolve’ itself.

A copy of this book has even been sent to Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia’s public health officer.

“I thought she would enjoy seeing the COVID-19 section of the book, with the doctors, the veterinarians, the fireman, the first responders, the parade in front of the hospital waving to the heathcare workers,” said Biden.

Okanagan Strong is Biden’s seventh photo book. His first was published in 1994, following the Garnet Fire. His photos of the Ironman races, from the perspective of the lake bottom, was also published. He published three books featuring photos of the South Okanagan, from air as a rescue pilot.

“We’ve been very blessed with the public purchasing the books and sending them all around the world as gifts,” said Biden, adding that his wife is the wind under his wings.

His multifaceted life has given him access to many groups of people.

Starting as a gym teacher, Biden then worked as a plumber, rescue pilot, technician, and scuba diver.

His work as a photographer has taken him to many places; to burning buildings, high angle rescues on the side of a cliff, thousands of feet off the ground in a military jets, to watery depths as a scuba diver.

In addition to being the frontline photographer for the Penticton Fire Department, Biden also flies with Canadian Helicopters as a rescue pilot, assists with search and rescue operations, and assisted with the Ironman races as a scuba diver.

“I really have learned a lot from the service of the fire department,” said Biden, adding he’s grateful to Fire Chief Larry Watkinson for allowing him to accompany their team.

Biden says his work as a photographer is far from over. He aims to continue pushing the envelope and trying new things.

He says the town of Penticton, and the people in it, inspire him on a daily basis.

“The city has been so gracious to so many people, and it’s like an outreach that I’m trying return back to the city for all the goodness that they’ve done for me,” he said.

In Penticton, Biden’s latest book is available at Rexall Pharmacy off Skaha Lake Rd., at Prestige Tailoring in the Cherry Lane Mall, and on Main Street at Penticton Lock and Key. The books are also available online at Iflyphoto.com. The books are $20, taxes included.

READ MORE: South Okanagan RCMP member speaks out against criticism

READ MORE: Conservation officers relocate Spirit Bear known to roam northwestern B.C.

@PentictonNews
editor@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

authorCoronavirus

Just Posted

COVID-19 virus. (Black Press Media file)
COVID-19 outbreak declared over at Kelowna retirement home

The outbreak at Sandalwood Retirement Resort was initially announced by Interior Health on April 23

City of West Kelowna. (Phil McLachlan - West K News)
City of West Kelowna approves funding application for outreach program

The program would support the community’s most vulnerable and those experiencing homelessness

The wildfire season in the Okanagan Valley region has been approached with greater apprehension and concern from area residents since the historic Okanagan Mountain Park fire in 2003. That fire burned 25,600 hectares, forced evacuations in Kelowna and Naramata impacting more than 33,000 people, destroyed 238 homes, and claimed 12 wooden trestles and damaged two other steel trestles in Myra Canyon. (File photo)
Ominous wildfire outlook if June rains don’t return to Okanagan

Dry spring is fueling potential for busy wildfire season in July and August

Joe Rich residents want logging operations in the area to stop for now until they get more clarity on slope stability and risks to the Mission Creek watershed. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Joe Rich logging poses watershed risk: residents

Area residents want the logging to stop in the area for the time being

Kelowna Law Courts. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News)
Former Vernon teacher found guilty of historic sex crimes against minors

Anoop Singh Klair was found guilty of all eight charges against him in a Kelowna courtroom on Friday

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

KCR Migrant Support Worker, Javier, had an exciting day escorting his son Ian with him during ‘Take your Child to Work Day’!
KCR: Volunteering is being part of a whole

KCR Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

Doctor Jessica Luksts is being recognized on BC Family Doctor Day for her part in the early days of the pandemic. (Submitted)
Celebrate BC Family Doctor Day on May 19

The South Okanagan Similkameen has over 80 family doctors serving the community

Dr. Steve Beerman, of Nanaimo, shows off his Dr. David Bishop Gold Medal, awarded for distinguished medical service. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Tim Miller is selling his 76-foot steel bridge from his property in Burton, B.C. The bridge originates from the railway in Revelstoke. (Contributed)
For sale: a 100-ton 19th century bridge from Revelstoke

Bridge is now in Burton, B.C. and advertised for $40,000

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Former UFV Cascades wrestling coach Arjan Singh Bhullar is now the ONE heavyweight champion after defeating Brandon Vera via TKO in round two on Saturday in Singapore. (ONE Championship)
Former UFV wrestling coach wins MMA championship

Arjan Singh Bhullar captures ONE heavyweight title, first Indian origin fighter to achieve honour

Astra Zeneca vaccine waits for injection in a Feb. 3, 2021 file photo. A Langley man has become the second B.C. resident to suffer a blood clot following an injection. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
B.C. man required emergency surgery after AstraZeneca vaccination

Shaun Mulldoon suffered ‘massive blood clot’ after jab

Most Read