Keith Powell is looking ahead, into the past.
The Cranbrook author and publisher, who has written a number of books about historical aspects of the Cranbrook area, has plans to produce a book — “Forgotten Cranbrook” — which will tell Cranbrook’s story through historical photographs.
Powell is looking to the public for contributions.
“I’d like to tell this story through photographs,” Powell said. “People have the photographs laying around, and it would be great to showcase some of them.”
The book will be published through Powell’s own company, Wild Horse Creek Press.
Powell said he’s had the opportunity to work with the Columbia Basin Institute of Regional History, which has a collection of thousands of historical images from the area. And he will be working with the Institute on producing the book.
“I’m going to work with them, publish the book, and give them a percentage of the profits. So it will be a fundraiser for them too. They do important work — they do a tremendous job of preserving the images of yesteryear.”
Powell envisions “Forgotten Cranbrook” will have in the neighborhood of 100 pictures. Each page of the book will showcase a single great photograph.
“I’m looking primarily for photos that feature people and tell a story,” he said. “Not just group images of families, but also activities, events, etc. If you’d like to contribute to the book, ask yourself, does the photo tell a good story? Is it a good quality photograph?”
All the photographs to be used will be scanned for publication, then returned to the owner, Powell said.
He added that he’s been thinking about the project for a while, even before the recent publication of a regional book of historical photographs — “Lost Kootenays” — that came out last year.
“Cranbrook has a rich history, like any community. I thought there was a niche, or an opportunity to publish something like this, that’s Cranbrook specific. We have the history and the population to achieve it.”
Powell has already been looking at and considering photographs, and is looking for people to contribute more.
“Photos that might tell the story of a family history, or an historical event in Cranbrook. People would value the opportunity to showcase them.
“And the Columbia Basin Institute of Regional History might be interested in archiving these photos.”
Powell figures “Forgotten Cranbrook” would cover the community’s history from the late 1800s to the 1950s. In the meantime, he’s getting the word out to the public, looking and curating photos for the project, and looking for more.
“It’s early days yet,” he said of the project. He’s looking to gather all the photos by the end of May, work on the design and production through the summer, and have the book ready to go by early fall.