In climates where the winters stretch on and piling snow is not the exception, but the rule of the day, embracing the cold is the only way of coping. For his latest short film “PULL,” Toronto-based director and photographer Goh Iromoto captures one unique personality in the wilds of Northern Ontario—Burton Penner, a dogsledding guide who lives and breathes winter. Highlighting Penner’s unique relationship with the roughhewn yet pristine landscape and his trusty 43 dogs (yes, he remembers all of their names), “PULL” is a quietly beautiful portrayal of a rich, close-to-nature lifestyle.
“I met Burton on a commissioned photoshoot for Ontario Tourism the previous winter,” Iromoto says. “You get a sense of him from the film, but he’s a very talented artist (painter) as well, and there was something about his way of life that seemed to fit the romantic ideal of living in the wild north.” Born and raised around the remote lakes of Northern Ontario, Penner wandered long worn hunting trails as a youngster and now shares these places he holds sacred with visitors from around the world.
Where many nature photographers and filmmakers focus purely on the wilderness, for Iromoto it’s the personalities that thrive in the bush that draw his creative interest. “Despite the beauty, the landscape, the peace… I really must say I’m quite drawn by the people who interact with nature,” Iromoto says. “It’s their stories and their drive that really inspires me in many ways. It often teaches something about myself. It gives me another perspective in life. It allows me to see the world in a different light and shifts my paradigm—sometimes a little, sometimes a lot.”
Keep an eye on Iromoto’s Vimeo page for future releases, including more work from the wilds of Canada.
Images courtesy of Goh Iromoto